Google Analytics, if you’re not using it you should be

I’ve been using Google Analytics for about a month to track 4 of my sites (and more recently this one as well) and I am impressed! The key (in my mind) to Google Analytics and other high end commerical solutions like Fireclick and Omniture is that they use client side Javascript based tracking which is far less prone to crawler inflation and provides more information (e.g. flash version, screen resolution, color depth, etc..) than log based solutions.

Sure, you lose the 1-2% of users that have Javascript disabled but that’s a lot more accurate than the 15-30% overcounts I’ve seen in many log based solutions. If you’ve ever used AWStats on a high traffic site you’ve likely observed the gross overcounting that occurs from crawlers when AWStats doesn’t know about, spam bots,
etc…

In summary Google Analytics offers a lot of the features of the high end commerical solutions such as site overlay (temporarily disabled), funnel analysis, conversion or goal tracking, cookie based returning and unique visitor stats, detailed client stats, etc… and best of all it’s free. If you’ve got a personal website or are a small to medium sized company you’d be crazy not to at least try it!

That said, there are a few features I would like to see in Google Analytics:
1. Google Analytics desktop dashboard that gives me a quick overview of each of my sites at a glance so I wouldn’t have to login each time.

2. Live traffic data. I haven’t found a way to get up to the minute page view counts which is critical for identifying massive traffic spikes when they happen instead of the next day.

3. Similar to 1 but an aggregate report on the web version that gives me an overview of each of my sites next to each other. As it is I have to drill down into each site to get even basic overview info.

4. The one big feature I would like to see would be on the fly drag and drop pathway analysis like Fireclick and Omniture both offer.

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