If you have ever designed a website, you know about the need to track the statistics of your visitors. There are many paid and open source web analytical software packages to choose from that will suit your needs. You have Google, Statcounter, Yahoo, and PiWiki just to name a few. I currently use Statcounter, Google, and an open source, freeware application you can install right on your site (unlike Statcounter and Google) call Open Web Analytics. Keep in mind, this is not a paid advertisement, just a review of a great product.
Benefits to Open Web Analytics
The benefits of having the data hosted on your site, at least for me, is the fact that I control the data. I can show the data however I see fit using my own custom graphs and charts. You cannot do that with Google and Statcounter. Trust me, I m not knocking Statcounter or Google….they are great, but I love Open Web Analytics because it does a few things that the others cannot do for me. For example, you can record your visitor’s sessions to see what they did while they were on your page. So, basically, they are not just a number anymore….they are a real live visitor. The data remains on your server so you never have to worry about your data being sold to advertisers, the site going down for reason outside your control (Gmail??).
The features of OWA are almost the same as it’s counterparts in the fact that they help you keep track of everything about your visitors to maximize click potential. You can use OWA with larger open source software like MediaWiki and WordPress. It is easy to implement, easy to use and lightweight so it leaves a small footprint. Take a look at the home screen and compare it to your current analytical program.
Where Can I Get It?
You can go to their website and download the software for free. As far as I know, there is not and will not be any charges for this software. Just in case that changes in the future, you should probably download the most recent version now. Installation is a breeze and if you know how to edit PHP files then you can customize it to meet your requirements or the requirements of your clients.
- Conversion Goal Tracking – define and track up to 15 conversion goals per web site.
- Goal Funnels – visualize the set of steps (or funnel) that users experience before hitting your goals.
- Campaign Tracking – add campaign tracking parameters to your inbound links and see how effective your traffic driving efforts are.
- E-commerce Tracking – track and report on revenue and products purchased.
- First Party Cookies – track and report on an unlimited number of web sites from a single OWA instance.
- 60+ new metrics – all accessible via the data export API.
- 20+ new dimensions – all accessible via the data export API.
- 10+ new standard reports.
- Clustered Deployment – deploy OWA across a cluster or tier of servers for better redundancy and scalability.
Just in case you are wondering, this is not a paid advertisement for OWA. This is me showing my appreciation for a product that I use on a daily basis and a product that has proven to me to be solid and very useful. If anyone from OWA sees this post, I want to personally thank you for creating a great product that rivals the main competition.
If you use OWA and would like to point out flaws or to express your mind about this product in any way, by all means add a comment below. I would love to hear from you and I am sure they would love to hear it as well.
About the Author
Director of Website Development
With over a decade of experience designing and developing websites, Eric has worked in every position of the agency ladder. He is fluent in multiple backend and front end programming languages and has written multiple international best selling plugins for WordPress. He has been part of or is still part of many startups. He is the Director of Website Development for Future Design Group and one of it's founding partners.