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What Blog Metrics Packages Do You Use?

Reader QuestionsEdward asks – ‘How can I know where the readers of my blog mostly come from? Search Engines? MyBlogLog? Other Blog’s Links?’

Finding where the readers to your blog mainly come from is something that is well worth doing as it can help you grow and improve your blog.

There are many statistics (or metrics) programs out there available for you to use to get this information. They range from the free and very easy to us to paid packages.

Let me outline four that I use on most of my blogs (note – there are many others and I’m sure readers will suggest their favorites in comments below):

Sitemeter – this is one that a lot of bloggers use because it’s very simple to install and gives you some good, basic, useful information – it’s also free (as long as you don’t mind everyone else being able to see your stats too). I use Sitemeter on many of my blogs and find it very useful for checking how a blog is doing from day to day (or hour to hour). While it’s not quite as accurate as some of the other stats packages below (I find that it under estimates actual figures) but many bloggers find it a useful tool to get a feel for what’s happening on a blog quickly.

Google Analytics – Google’s stats packages is quite a bit more advanced than a package like Sitemeter. While it does give you all the same information it also allows you to track a whole lot more and even to set goals and track them. I don’t use Analytics on a daily basis – but find it a very useful to check into every week or two to see how the blog’s performing on a higher level.

Server Side Stats (AW Stats) – If you host your blog on your own server (or a shared one) you’ll almost always be offered some sort of statistics package. For example many servers will offer AW Stats. Again, these stats are very comprehensive. While Sitemeter will only really show you statistics for the last 100 visitors on your site – packages like AW Stats will give you stats for all your visitors over different time periods. Again – I don’t use AWS on a daily basis – but if I’m wanting to do more detailed analysis of how my blog is going this is where I’ll head.

103bees – in addition to the above packages I do also use one more that has more of a niche focus – search engine traffic. 103bees looks at those arriving at your blog after doing a search on a search engine and gives you an array of useful information about them including the words that they use, the questions that they ask etc. While you can get a lot of this information from the above packages too, 103bees put it in really useful form.

But the above four stats packages are just the ones I’m using. What do you use and why?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I just dumped Sitemeter because they have started serving third party cookies.

    I have blogged about some alternatives here:


    For this bank holiday weekend *only* I have put Gostats, Statcounter, Extreme Counter on my blog with public stats for comparison.



  2. Im Comfortable with Analytics , Every single data can be measured and presented accordingly and the best thing its free.

  3. Hi, Darren, thanks for this great post! I have a Typepad blog which I have been using Sitemeter with no problem. The best feature for me is the referral stats page. I can see where my readers are coming from and also which keywords they used to find me. With this information, I can write more on popular topics and also go to the referring blog and either comment or link back to them.

    One important question: Does anyone know if/how I can find the referring information on GA? I have looked everywhere, but can’t seem to find them. I like GA, but I find it is not as simple and intuitive as other programs.


    Jessica from It’s Not About Your Stuff

  4. I have a free stats package with my service at 1&1, but my primary stats package is the BAStats WP plugin. I used to use TraceWatch on my old server, and I’m thinking about installing it again so I can drill through a user’s visit, something I miss in what I use now. I have GA, but I don’t use it much because it can be such a pain to use.

  5. I have tried tons of different metrics packages (Google, Performancing, Sitemeter, etc.) and I am currently enjoying Feedburner’s stat package. It does a great job of showing top line stats (Last 10 referrers, Top 10 pages, etc.) but it isn’t great when you’d like more detailed stats. I use my server’s builtin AWStats package for that…

  6. Performancing metrics is back with a new service, and it’s rather good. The coolest part is the “Spy” function, which gives you a near real-time view of what is happening on your site. It’s all very zoomy and Ajax-ified. If it proves stable, this will become my favorite stat service. It’s fun.

    Beyond that, Google Analytics is the gold standard. For a quick snapshot, Feedburner’s site metrics (I look at the RSS stuff, anyway).

    But y’all ought to check out the new Performancing stuff.

  7. Google Analytics is free and easy to use. It got my vote!

  8. I am also a big believer in Google Analytics – I have it running on all my websites and am amazed at what it has taught me.

  9. […] After running into one of Darren Rowse’s post at ProBlogger, What Blog Metrics Packages Do You Use? on how he tracks his stats, I decided to try some of his suggestions. It also led to other options too. […]

  10. Thanks for the inspiration, Darren! I’ve been reading blogs for years, and finally decided to get started with my own last week. After reading this post, I decided it was time to try some of the services you and your comment posters suggested. Checkout my post, Adding More Statistic Tracking describing my choices and plans.

  11. Don’t forget about Mapstats!


  12. 103bees worth of try

  13. I have been using stat counter and I’m very pleased with it.

  14. Sitemeter for quick stats info, kept in my Firefox bookmark toolbar, AWStats for just about everything else.

  15. I’ve been using StatCounter, and I just now signed up for 103Bees-thanks! Off to check out Google Analytics and AWStats. Very informative and helpful post.

  16. I’ve been really happy with Sitemeter however, lately I’ve noticed some very slow loading times, default server generated pages stating the site’s bandwidth has been exceeded and some unusually flat visitor rate graphs. Perhaps they are being loved to death!

    Thanks Darren for a useful post and to other commenters for their insights also.

  17. I use Mint, and Feedburner integrated into Mint. I did use MeasureMap (is that still around?) and liked it a lot but didn’t want to use two packages ans Mint did more. I also like that Mint is in one page and I’m a sucker for things that look nice (!) which is why it wins over AWStats. I couldn’t get on with GAnalytics at all.

  18. I’m using a mix of awstats for the basic baseline stuff and an as-yet-unreleased stats package that I wrote myself (I’m a statistics graduate) which can do more detailed analysis of blogs and OSCommerce sites, among other plugins. If you want to know when it’s released, head over to my site and subscribe to either the Hacks or All feeds (RSS-1).

  19. I really liked that 103bees questions and keywords and search results it was providing me – for the first 10 weeks – then it got kind of old seeing the same things over and over again. I don’t trust it anymore.

    I have all the server side statistics I can get, but I seem to rely on sitemeter and my “refer” script for all the curiousity-seeking information I need. But it’s the “Reader-Digest-Version” only, as its either summarized or stats are held for a short time only. It’s only when I’m contemplating over the results of the past year .. like, to see the most popular posts overall or searches etc

    As for all my wordpress plugins – I do use “WordPress Reports” plugin, which ties into my feedburner and google analytics right through my dashboard in my blog .. which is cool .. and also that “FireStats” plugin which covers the popularity and incoming/outgoing posts and browsers and stuff like that. I look at firestats more than I do at analytics or feedburner stats.. but not as much as just clicking that green Sitemeter button at the bottom of each of my pages.

  20. We use GA on all of our blogs

  21. I use:

    – StatCounter (much better than SiteMeter)
    – Google Analytics
    – FeedBurner (new email feature is great!)
    – CrazyEgg (I love the provided heatmaps)

    Will try 103bees – sounds interesting.

  22. I didn’t know about 103bees and am using google analytics. Why? Because ….(you ‘ve mentioned the reason)…”Everything in one place”

  23. I use Sitemeter and Google Analytics both。

  24. I’ve been using Google Analytics for a long time. Before that it was Awstats. I’ve kept awstats on as sometimes it gives a slightly different perspective than GA.

    I like the look of http://www.hittail.com and both 103bees and P Metrics look pretty interesting as well.

  25. since statcounter is really expensive if you want more than basic stats, i recommend idlogger – http://www.idlogger.com which is very easy to install and powerful (and free of-course)

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