KISS

Keep It Simple Stupid

Analytics on this blog

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This small blog post is about the “analytics” on this blog, or rather lack thereof.

Goog Analytics

At first, I used Goog Analytics because it was very easy to setup: Octopress supported it out-of-the-box, you only needed to put a tracking id in the config. I looked at the results sometimes, but I could barely understand what it showed. The basic stuff was pretty straightforward: the number of users per month, which pages are most visited, stuff like that; but there were also a lot more options and categories, and that was very confusing.

So I removed that tracking from the site for the following reasons:

  • I didn’t really need that much information;
  • it was way too complicated;
  • goog analytics is way too popular and installed on a lot of sites, I didn’t want to add one more point of tracking users (although no one cares about my small blog);
  • “I” was collecting all that analytics data and then found out there was no way of exporting raw data — I think you can download processed views of the data, but only for small periods, so it’s a big vendor-lock;
  • I also remember Marco Arment mentioning in an ATP episode (about 2 years ago) that he had removed analytics from his blog.

The only real number I remember from all that charade is that I had about 2.5k visitors and 3.5k page views per month on average, and those averages were pretty stable for months. So far so good.

CloudFront

This is a static site located on AWS S3 and hosted through CloudFront to support TLS. CF has an option to log all requests, which I tried for a year instead. Of course, that’s a very different level of analytics. I’m still to make sense of that data, I didn’t have the desire to do that so far, so I turned off that logging a year ago and removed the logs from the S3 bucket.

Therefore I don’t have any server logs for this blog: neither any web analytics (goog analytics), nor any AWS logs (S3/CloudFront). I’m totally fine with that because I prefer not to give all that data away to a big company over knowing some stats. This blog is primarily to get myself organized to write articles regularly, i.e. weekly, or at least monthly. I like to share my discoveries/solutions because someone else (or myself in the future) might benefit from them as occasional comments indicate.

There are no ads here and no monetary profit from the blog.

Comments

However there is one tracking system left: the third-party comments by disqus, which seem to be goog analytics-like and collect a lot of data as well. I don’t have any of that data, except the comments themselves.

I’m thinking where to go. One good privacy-focused option is Remark42 by Umputun, which means I’ll have to self-host it somewhere and possibly configure it with an email.

As always, there are many improvements left on the blog.

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