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4 simpler alternatives to Google Analytics

Christopher Null | Oct. 3, 2013
Google doesn't have a monopoly on monitoring website traffic. Here are four other analytics tools worth checking out.

Clicky is free for up to 3,000 page views/day for an unlimited amount of time. If you go over that traffic level then you have to upgrade to a premium account for $10 to $20 per month, depending on your total page views.

Overall I found Clicky to be a worthy alternative to Google with plenty of bells and whistles to dig into, but its difficulties in playing nice with Wordpress's built-in tracking tools—which I didn't want to give up—made it tough for me to swallow.

Like Clicky, GoSquared gives you an at-a-glance look at everything important happening on your website, including by-the-hour traffic patterns, historical comparisons, referrers, busiest pages, and more. You can look at this information from a trend perspective or analyze it in real-time as it arrives. The real-time view shows how many visitors are currently on the site and what they're looking at, and even offers a sidebar displaying recent tweets about your brand. Information can be organized to your liking using the site's widget-based design.

Setup is easy, with plugins available for WordPress, Joomla, Magento, and Drupal, and accuracy appears spot on—I got virtually identical statistics to Google Analytics' numbers. But one thing I really enjoyed about GoSquared is the daily email it sends you by default. If you find yourself too busy (or forgetful) to regularly check your Web analytics, this handy digest report keeps everything top of mind, including not just information about your daily traffic but also where it's coming from and what your top search terms are.

GoSquared is free for 14 days, then requires upgrade. Plans range from $9 per month for 150,000 page views (monthly) over three sites, to $99 a month for 2.5 million views over 20 sites. The number of additional users you can add rises with each plan tier (at the $9 level, the service is available for only one user).

I really enjoyed using GoSquared and recommend it, but higher-traffic sites will want to be wary about the price ratcheting up.

Woopra is focused foremost on real-time analytics. Its dashboard looks like something out of the Pentagon, featuring a world map with hotspots indicating your visitors' locations, top pages visited, and a nicely designed traffic sources infographic. Click over to the Visitors panel and you can see exactly what each visitor's clickthrough pattern has been throughout their visit—and you can see what they're reading at that very moment. The tool provides a lot of power with minimal effort on your part.

Digging into Woopra beyond the preconfigured basics can get a little daunting, but users who want to set up sales funnel analysis or detailed "retention analysis" reports will find them here. If you run an ecommerce site, this probably provides a load of additional value that a mere content site doesn't need, such as the ability to see what products individual users have considered, how much they've bought from you, and even whether they have returned merchandise. You may need professional help configuring this, as evidenced by the "Send instructions to my engineer" button that's displayed during setup. For more simple needs, a WordPress plug-in to support Woopra exists, but it isn't promoted on the Woopra website.


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