Technology

Blog Stats Software Reviews – Statcounter

StatCounter is nearly as old as SiteMeter. At first glance it appears pretty similar, if a little nicer looking. Let’s see in the second of our stats package reviews if the improvements are more than skin deep.


Writing this review has been tricky. Not because the system is particularly complicated, or because there are so many features. It is just so .. bland. There is very little innovation, nothing remarkable. The best I can say is like “Damning With Faint Praise”. It is nice. Anyway, on with the review..

Signup

Signing up is pretty similar to SiteMeter, a multi-page wizard, instructions for web editors (though none of the popular blogs listed) plus copy and paste code for your template.

Added choices are to have HTML Only Counter, make the code W3C or XHTML Compliant and the choice to disable the link back to StatCounter. It’s all quite smooth and easy enough and unlike SiteMeter doesn’t ask you to sign up to any email newsletters or third party affiliate services.

Appearance

The site looks a lot better than SiteMeter. Not exactly the cutting edge of design but at least it looks like it has been designed rather than just put together by a HTML competent programmer. A nice touch is the simple illustrations on the homepage that explain the service, a nice way of doing it.


Usability wise it is all pretty straightforward and easy. Some reports look a little cluttered but all the information is there if a little cramped. Providing your eyesight is up to it there isn’t much to falt it but I wonder if the layout could be simplified while retaining the information?

Fees and Service Levels

An improvement over sitemeter is the service levels are based on your page views so your reports are not restricted. Log files are again restricted but an unlimited option is apparently coming soon. Service is tiered from free to $29/month for 15,000,000 page views.

– Free Service 250,000 page views
– $9/month 1,500,000page views
– $19/month 7,500,000 page views
– $29/month 15,000,000 page views

Reports

The range of reports is pretty similar to SiteMeter. StatCounter though does have unique visitors and returning visitors which gives it the edge in my opinion. Exit link tracking, and ecommerce stats coming soon.

You can have reports daily, weekly, monthly, etc, or set a date range (but not with nice little date widgets despite appearances). Popular Pages, Entry Pages, Exit Pages are all familiar. Some of the names of the reports though are a bit non-standard (“Came From”, “Search Engine Wars”), still the information looks good.

Keyword Analysis, Recent Keyword Activity are useful, Visitor Paths and Visit Length very welcome. Returning Visits is an item sorely missed from SiteMeter.

Summary

So StatCounter is pretty much SiteMeter with a few improvements. This isn’t such a bad thing but nothing here is going to blow you away or impress you with revolutionary originality. Having said that it is a good product that fills the niggly gaps that SiteMeter missed. Even at $29 a month for the biggest plan it is not expensive. Now that Google has made their Urchin stats free with their release of Analytics they might well need to work harder to justify even that low price..

Author: Chris Garrett

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