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BlogBeat Rocking The Blog Stat Beats!

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Google recently indicated that they are taking blogs and measuring blog statistics very seriously with their acquisition of Measure Map. Measure Map had not yet made it into the hands of most bloggers and had been in a private beta at the time of acquisition. A new blog analytics tool that is similar in functionality to Measure Map is BlogBeat. The different with BlogBeat is that it is available to everyone now.

A few days ago I installed BlogBeat on my own blog – the installation procedure involved copying a snippet of HTML into the footer template of my WordPress install (it will work with any blogging application where you can edit and access the template). The process of signing up and installing took no longer than a minute, and I was able to instantly see who was accessing my site along with all the other statistics the service provides. BlogBeat will read information about your blog, as well as derive post statistics, from the RSS feed URL that you need to specify.

The front page of BlogBeat displays to the user an overview of their traffic stats and highlites trends. You will need to have the code running for a few days to get meaningful data from this front page – for example the monthly summary does not mean much unless you have been running the package for a month (perhaps something that should be hidden until then). The interface to BlogBeat is very simple and clean, not as attractive as the interface for MeasureMap but at the same time very practical.

BlogBeat being blog-specific can tell you statistics such as which posts are the most popular, which categories are popular and also tracks comments to tell you which posts are most commented and what the most recent comments are. With post statistics it also displays trends, though with most statistic packages shows you that the fastest growing posts or pages are the most recent (since they didn’t exist yesterday the ‘growth’ is always 600%+) – something else that should be accounted for if the intention is to make clear older posts that may have become popular again for whatever reason (something that is common on my own blog).

Further there are areas that describe where your visitors are coming in from, how they have found your blog or a specific post and what keywords have been used to find your site via search engines. The last section describes which outbound links are the most popular and from which points users are leaving your page. One simple feature that BlogBeat doesn’t show me that others do is what browsers my visitors are using, though this isn’t the most useful stat it is good to know. I am sure that we will see this feature shortly. They are also working hard on FeedBurner integration (its there already, see my update at the end of this post) and have cool features like being able to subscribe to your stats (BlogBeat will also have an API).

I found overall that BlogBeat is a much better way of tracking my sites visitors (though I am not surprisingly a stats-obsessed blogger, I know a lot who are) over Google Analytics (overkill). The concerns I have with the javascript include method of tracking stats is that first it can slow down page loading if the tracking app is experiencing heavy load (something that visitors to blogs which are being tracked by Measure Map have probably experiences) and second that using Javascript may not be a true representation of all visitors since some browsers wont execute it and others may not be able to (the developers still need to make sure the tracking code works on all browsers such as Safari etc.) . The alternative is to use a statistics package that can access server logs directly, but with that you sacrifice ease of installation and not all bloggers have such access to their servers.

BlogBeat is free for the first 30 days and thereafter it is $6 per month (limit to 500,000 page views per month, not sure what happens if you exceed). They currently have around 400 users and the performance is good, only time will tell if that will hold up. It is good to see more competition in this space and some good offerings. I will stick with BlogBeat for now and decide before the trial expires if I am getting $6 a month worth of value out of it.

Update: John from BlogBeat emailed me to say that they do have demographic and browser stats (I just didn’t see it because it was at the bottom), and Feedburner integration is there now. This is a great solution already with a lot more to come

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