Follow your site in real time with Chartbeat

Friday, April 3, 2009 5:45
Posted in category Web Site Statistics/Traffic

If you run a website, chances are you care at least a tiny bit about web traffic and who is coming look at and read what you spend countless hours per day producing. Of course there is the free and tried and true Google Analystics. However GA has one slight problem.  It operates on a delay, (though a quick pass through the settings panel can remedy this situation). But does fiddling with settings all of the time just to get a current picture of your site traffic annoy you or slow you down?  If that be ye, Chartbeat has a solution.

Chartbeat, created by John Borthwick,  is a branch off of Betaworks, a real time data service tracker.  Continuing with this idea, Chartbeat offers a set up much like Google Analytics in regards to a dashboard for someone to quickly and easily monitor website traffic.  What’s more important is that the monitoring is right down to the second.

What does it track?  Everything from current visitors on site (down to the second), most viewed pages, where visitors are coming from, and conversations and other types of links from Twitter.  But that is not all!  For the real number crunching nerd it will also give you information pertaining to load times for your site, the percentage of visitors that return, active users (browsing/writing comments etc), and idle users (left the browser window open and went on vacation).

Great!  This sounds like an awesome service that I want to use.  But how much coding or configuring will I have to do in order to get it to work?  All it takes is one simple line of Javascript inserted into your site code.  One!  At which point it will automatically ping Chartbeat’s servers every 10 seconds.

Now I’m going to bring up Statpress, a Wordpress traffic monitor plugin that does many of the same things as Google Analytics and Chartbeat.  While it is different in the sense that it is more of a “lighter” weight statistic tracker, it does do a lot of the same basic functionality of  Chartbeat.  While Statpress allows you to adjust length of time tracked and displayed as well as various other little bits and pieces, Chartbeat has an advantage over Statpress as it has the ability to also view certain time frames/periods and review the specs for that day, week, or month.  Chartbeat is great at reviewing older data giving you the ability to view history, review peak periods and specs attributed to those peak periods.  As you can see, Chartbeat is much more versatile and allows greater levels of inspection than Statpress, and I’m sure pretty more than just about any “plugin” type statistics analyizer. (continued below)

This greater versatility does come with a price.  While Statpress is a free plugin, Chartbeat will set you back $10 per month for the service.  Don’t worry however as there is a 30-day free trial option to let you check it out and make sure it is exactly what you’re looking for.  If you are interested in other professional or premium statistics trackers, check out “Get Clicky” (which also has an iPhone app ala Google Analyitcs), and “Woopra“.  As a spec nerd myself, I can truly appreciate knowing everything that goes on my site.  And honestly, it can become quite addictive…checking every half hour to an hour guess as to what the traffic reports will say an hour from now etc.  Maybe I’m more of the exception.

Are you a website owner or admin?  Do numbers and statistics excite you?  If so I highly suggest (if you aren’t using one of the services mentioned above already) to try them out.  A monster will be born.  I promise.

Source: Tech Crunch

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