Well, it’s been one month since I started working seriously on developing this site, so it’s time for a little recap of the numbers.
First, since I’m running my site at Media Temple, the account includes Urchin for web analytics. (Note, Google purchased Urchin some time ago, and at last report was planning on releasing an upgrade of the product. But, I find that the interface of Google Analytics and Urchin are extremely similar. You can draw your own conclusions.) However, I don’t look at it much as it is limited to being account-wide. I host three different domain names under the same account, and it does not give an easy way to separate out the data. So, these numbers are inclusive of the other domains–which are minimal traffic really, but they do influence the numbers.
|Urchin Data from MT
|Date Range: 04/01/2007 – 04/30/2007
|Total Bytes Transferred
|Average Sessions Per Day
|Average Pageviews Per Day
|Average Hits Per Day
|Average Bytes Transferred Per Day
|Average Pageviews Per Session
|Average Hits Per Session
|Average Bytes Per Session
|Average Length of Session
Next up is the overall statistics from Analog, which is based on downloaded logs from Media Temple. Analog is the original Open Source product of Dr. Steven Turner, now a principle with ClickTracks, another log analysis product. The logs there are not kept forever, as I like to do so I can do long-term analysis, but only for 10days. I thought I had missed downloading some of the logs since I was missing April 6-10, however, in looking at the Urchin stats, I see the same days show zero hits also. So, something must have been going on with the logging on the site.
I’ve used analog for years on other sites, and it is very configurable to get the numbers you want, however you have to develop the right ‘question’ to ask first. I’ve developed custom configuration files to run for different time periods: daily, weekly, and monthly. I went back and ran the daily reports for every day in April, so I can review the details, but for this report I’m just going to quote from the overall summary of the monthly analysis. I’ve configured Analog to exclude the other domains in my logs, as well as hits from my own browser, so it is explicitly for external access to Chasing A Dream.
|April 1 – 30
|Last 7 days
|Average successful requests per day
|Successful requests for pages
|Average successful requests for pages per day
|Distinct files requested
|Distinct hosts served
|Corrupt logfile lines
|Unwanted logfile entries
|Data transferred (megabytes)
|Average data transferred per day (megabytes)
Making a big assumption here, which is not good to do–we are going to equate the terms from these two reports as follows:
- Urchin’s “Total Pageviews” = Analog’s “Successful requests for pages”
- Urchin’s “Total Hits” = Analog’s “Successful requests”
- Urchin’s “Total Bytes Transferred” = Analog’s “Data transferred”
So the head-to-head comparison is as follows:
As you can see, it’s hard to analyze these head-to-head when the basic numbers are so out-of-line with each other. In my general review of the details of both reports, I felt that the other sites were not contributing significantly to the difference, but was basing it on the variation in the way the programs did their counting. This may not be true. So, I’m going to pause a moment and run the same Analog report, without making any exclusions, so it should be based on the same data as Urchin. BRB…
Here is the comparison with the revised numbers for Analog:
That’s much better. But, note there are still differences! I’ve added the percentage difference based on the Analog numbers so you can see how much variability there is, particularly in the Pageview analysis. While the definition of ‘hits’ and ‘bytes’ are fairly clear cut–though not necessarily the same to everyone as we see–the definition of what exactly constitutes a ‘pageview’ is still up for debate. At least between Urchin and Analog. Analog at least gives us clear definitions of what it’s terms mean, and Dr. Turner explains exactly what you can & cannot get out of web analytics.
I’ve got more details coming on the other products I’ve been comparing, but if you are itching for more, now, I sugget you check out Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics Tools Comparison: A Recommendation.