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Blog Stats Software Reviews – Mint

For today’s stats package review we have a bit of an oddity but one you are sure to have heard of. Mint is a client-side tracking package like the others in these reviews but unlike the others you need to download and install it. Let’s take a look at what all the fuss is about ..

I have heard lots of good things about Shaun Inman’s Mint. There is definitely a lot of positive PR around this product. It’s not easy to tell how many of these are genuine but I am willing to believe they are and besides I am not going to jump into that hornets nest :O)

For a while there wasn’t a demo

The demo has been temporarily disabled. While Mint can easily handle recording hundreds—if not thousands—of hits a minute, it is not optimized to display data at that rate. Please check back once some of the initial interest has died down.

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As you can see below, that seems to have been rectified by pointing to one off-site which is good news.

Signup

There is no free option with Mint. The only way of knowing if it is something you would like to try is by browsing the website, viewing the quite large demo movie or taking a look at a public installation. There is also a compatibility download to check to see if your system can run mint. Mine couldn’t (IIS is not supported, boo!) so for this review I had to set up Apache. Bad mint – bad! :O)

Creating an account and paying up your money is easy enough (uses Paypal as the merchant service). Installation is ok, you need to set up a MySQL database and set the username/password/database details in a config file. Perhaps this could be made easier but it’s not super hard.

Once you have the mint web working you need to add the line of javascript to your template and you are away. There is no support for non JS browsers (no “noscript” option) which is a disappointment but it’s a minority of people with JS switched off anyway. It does mean though we can not collect bot information.

Appearance

The website and the reports interface look lovely. No doubt about that. Well, one doubt – the mint interface doesn’t like IE. Firefox seems fine. I can’t be the only explorer user .. can I? The report crashes IE if I resize, the preferences doesn’t work at all and the login box is broken.

Oh, I see

Internet Explorer PC support is planned but not an immediate priority.

… Great.

So anyway, in Firefox it is all dandy. The screen is JAMMED with information but if your eyesight is ok it is quite readable. Would probably scare some folk off but they are not going to be the type to have gotten this far I expect.

Much has been made of the DHTML interface but you know what? I would much prefer IE support and no Javascript / “AJAX” gymnastics.

Fees and Service Levels

There is a one fee, $30 per domain.

Reports

The default install provides info on page views, unique visitors, referrers, top pages, search terms etc.

There are also “Peppers”to download and install. These are extensions to the basic mint system that are built by the community using the mint api. There are quite a few out there, some of them useful including one for recording link clicks. This is a very nice feature and an excellent way to create something much bigger than a one-man effort could be. Well done Shaun you clever man you!

As said above there is no support for bot visits or visitors with JS switched off, not really that bad considering the rest of the package is pretty good but you might miss it if you are serious about SEO and want to know when Googlebot has dropped by for example. You will have to collect that info from your server logs.

Summary

So far Mint is definitely the best looking but the lack of apparent Internet Explorer support is frustrating. The UI could be made a little friendlier, some pretty pictures, bigger text and some usability testing.

Another tricky aspect is the need to install. On the one hand your data is private, on the other hand many many bloggers will simply not be able to use it. At Performancing we recommend you have your own host and domain so for a professional this shouldn’t be a huge problem, you just need to get your friendly Apache Jedi on the case.

I’m a bit disappointed to be honest, I saw all these glowing reviews and my expectations were raised. Below the surface this is not better that Statcounter. The big bonus Mint has over the others is Pepper. This is the killer feature and the element that just gives it the edge. I do expect the others to have taken note..

Author: Chris Garrett

Chris Garrett is a content marketing and blogging coach and co-author of the Problogger Book with Darren Rowse.

2 thoughts on “Blog Stats Software Reviews – Mint

  1. There is no “free trial” for Mint, but I was interested in Mint because of the utterly free ShortStat by the same developer.

  2. and I’m impressed already. I waited to install simply because of the price. I didn’t necessarily need it myself so I waited until I had clients who might find it useful. Then I installed it on my own server as a test. Personally, I found the installation a breeze, and I’m no guru. Perhaps it’s not for the man-on-the-street, but I can’t see how anyone who manages to set up their own blog couldn’t manage a Mint installation.
    As far as lack of IE support… where is the Performancing extension for IE? Doesn’t exist? *Can’t* exist on IE? Huh. Is that an argument for not making it for Firefox anyway? Of course not. And when you consider the target audience for Mint, IE isn’t the factor it is to the general public. I daresay IE is the exception (for a change) in terms of the target audience.
    As you mentioned, not having bot stats muddying your actual visitors is rather nice.

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