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Should I be using Google Analytics?

We love Google. Google provide by far the best all-round search services in the known universe and the way it is facing up to the global might of Microsoft (who appear visibly scared) is nothing if not amusing!

Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is a free website stats package provided by Google. However, if you become totally reliant on the service and they decide to start charging you for it, you will have to pay - you will have no choice. However, for the time being it is free. There is, of course, no such thing as a free lunch. In exchange for putting this service on your website they get all your traffic stats for free.

What they do with these statistics is up to them because you have given them permission to use and archive it. We’re not paranoid, and we’re great supporters of Google the search engine, but we do not believe any organisation should have free and unfettered access to your company’s website visitor statistics with no strings attached.

The second problem, and one which can affect your site directly, is that Google Analytics can actually prevent your website from displaying. Google Analytics uses a little block of Javascript inserted into every one f your web pages to record the visitor statistic and write them to its logfiles, so straight away any visitors by users or corporate networks who disallow Javascript (it has inherent security risks) will not be recorded.

Additionally, because the system works by making a call to its own Google server every time somebody visits one of your pages, if their server is slow or suffering delays, your own site may become slow or unavailable to the world whilst the page waits for the Google server to respond to the code on your pages. This is a fairly widely reported problem with Google Analytics in the past and I found a quote from somebody who was using it: "When the thing works it is a great service. When it wasn’t working it virtually killed sites using the code. Some of my clients were complaining that their customers were going to websites that did not belong to the Analytics program."

You should read this:

Remember of course that every Softflare hosted website gets its own free website statistics. If the stats found there are not comprehensive enough you can always run them through a desktop logfile analysis program which will allow you to fine tune the results until it displays the level of detail that you require. This is a service that we offer or something you can do yourselves with the appropriate software.

If after all of this information you wish us to add the Google Analytics code to the your website we are of course ready to do so on your instruction. We just want to make sure you are aware of various factors that might influence your decision to use this or indeed any other free service.

And remember, because you are a Softflare customer, we are always happy to answer any of your questions regarding your website or associated services.

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