Web analytics is not exactly a beat that I cover, but it is something that I’m interested in from a purely operational perspective. I’ve mentioned other solutions in this space such as Mint previously, but because our host 1and1 essentially restricts us to non-dynamic uses of our MySQL DB’s our only real logging/analytics option – apart from Apache log crawlers – is something outsourced.
As a result, I was intrigued to see the news that Google had taken the technologies they’d acquired from Urchin and made them available for free. While I’m not ready to junk Statcounter just yet, I was looking forward to seeing what Google Analytics could do. The good news is that a cursory examination of the available reporting options reveals a wealth of reporting options, and the UI is outstanding.
The bad news is that I can’t populate it with data. It shouldn’t be that complicated; as an offering, Google Analytics works much like Statcounter or presumably Mint does – by embedding a simple script in a webpage. Choosing both a personal site and the space here – both of which are managed by Movable Type – the process should just be open up the templates, finding the header section of the file, dropping in the script, and rebuilding the site.
Trouble is, I’ve done that, and Google Analytics refuses to acknowledge it. Instead, I’m getting the message:
The Google Analytics tracking code has not been detected on your website’s home page. For Analytics to function, you or your web administrator must add the code to each page of your website.
Complicating matters is the fact that the site and its content are sort of flaky. I couldn’t get in when I tried yesterday, and even the help content is occasionally returning me HTTP 502s. So where I might keep trying b/c the obvious conclusion would be that it was something I was doing wrong – not that there’s much to screw up – now I’m unclear on whether it’s me or a hiccup on the Google Analytics side. Either way, it’s frustrating. Anybody else out there experiencing something similar, or is it just me?
Update: Along with Alexander and Tim Howland, Tim Bray is also having a bit of trouble, and has been waiting a bit longer than expected for the first reports. Thx for the suggestion on a fix, sir; despite having set up a subdirectory filter for redmonk.com, I was concerned that the fact that I’m not measuring the web root might be a problem, so I took the trouble to install a second script in the root page of another domain I control. Unfortunately it’s the same deal. But given that it’s not urgent, I can wait for the Googlers to get some of the kinks out; my guess is that they’re simply being overwhelmed, much as they nearly ran out of bandwidth when Google Maps was launched.
Update 2: As of about 11 AM this morning both of the sites I set up were recognized by Google, and I’m getting some preliminary data trickling in already. Hope it’s the same for the rest of you.