In my last post for The Startup Gardener I wrote about Ghostery, a great tool for protecting the privacy of web surfers from the all knowing, all seeing Google. That’s all very well for web surfers, but many of my readers are website publishers. If people start using tools like Ghostery to block Google Analytics, how can you get meaningful visitor data then?
Well, it turns out that Ghostery is really designed for blocking third party web bugs. This means that you can glean the information you need from your visitors by hosting your own analytics software on your own server.
Hosting your own tools is not as hard as it sounds and it will give you a nice feeling that you are not violating your visitors privacy by sharing information with others without them really knowing about it. And even if you think that sharing information with Google is a price you are willing to pay, hosting your own tools can give you access to a useful “second opinion” when used in conjunction with an third party offering.
It Sounds Kinda Expensive!
I know what your thinking, hosting my own tools sounds nice in theory, but Google is “free”. These other tools are going to be expensive to licence and host! Well not necessarily. With the rise of Free open-source software, there are some solutions out there that are just as affordable as Google Analytics. In fact in some ways it will cost you less as you won’t be paying Google with your visitor’s goodwill. And you can host them off a sub-domain of one of your websites, which is free with all good web hosts.
One offering that seems to hold a lot of promise is Piwik which I intend to experiment with over the coming months. It has a lot of pretty graphs, but does it have all the information I need? Check back here is a couple of months and I’ll let you know. Here’s hoping it’s as good as it looks.
Well, till next time my fine feathered friends.
Used any good “host it yourself” analytics software? Let us know by commenting below.