about multisite and stats

there have been a few threads about this but nothing conclusive.
the point is what stats tool to offer our users? I'll list a few with my personal opinion:

Google Analytics:
- requires user to sign up and get API key, too complicated for the casual blogger who just wants to see how many visitors he had and show these stats off to his visitors
- if you go this way, how do you tie it into your dashboard?
- how do you allow users to show off their stats on the front end?

Firestats:
- I had a problem with it which I related in this thread and a user seems to have come up with a solution: https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/found-a-pretty-bad-security-bug-with-firestats-need-some-testers-to-please-confirm-it#post-80887
- unfortunately firestats doesn't have nice graphics but DB usage is nice and it is not processor intensive if you take the time to read the readme and properly set up its configuration
- does have a widget to show basic stats on the front end.
- would pick this if it had some graphics and the author would implement a few of my suggestions, i.e. you can delete stats only for one blog at a time... i.e. if you delete 100 spammers you need to manually delete their stats :slight_frown:

Piwik:
- looks nice at the first glance, but don't let it fool you: if you use this plugin to set it up sitewide: wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-piwik it works flawless, but remember the users won't have access to the piwik back end that you are so in love with, all they see are the stats the plugin offers them.
- haven't seen a widget to show the stats on the front end either
- DB usage seems huge. Please check for yourself. read the FAQ, it seems there are roadmaps to have automatic archiving of old data. right now there isn't
- can't track a visitor's action nicely across my site, or am I blind? I want to see his path and analyze his behavior

whats your take on this?

May I add that James said here: wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-piwik that there might be a stats plugin in the making... No news since...

And let me add my favorite stats plugin for wordpress, unfortunately never used it on multisite, but if this could be modded, I'D even pay for it: http://082net.com/2009/1003/wp-slimstat-ex-v2-1/#wp-slimstat-ex-v21-en it comes extendable with so called PINS kinda plugins and has some really hidden gems inside.

Fire away, let me hear your take on this.

  • Ovidiu

    - hm, haven't tested mint yet. doesn't look "free" to me?
    - I've even tried this one when it was in beta: reinvigorate.net but it asks for money now :slight_frown:
    - what do you mean by this : What's in your ultimate Analytics plugin then? I didn't get that, sorry
    => if you meant to ask me what my favorite is, again I am pointing you here: http://082net.com/2009/1003/wp-slimstat-ex-v2-1/#wp-slimstat-ex-v21-en - give it a try on a single wp install

    The point is if it is an off-site solution, it must integrate tightly with wordpress offer counters on the front end for users and NOT require a separate API or signup step for end users.
    If it is a local solution, possibly not inside wp, i.e. piwik, it still must tightly integrate with wp and offer the same features as I just mentioned.

    ###edit###
    I think I understand your question: did you mean what I am looking for in a stats plugin?

    - detailed stats
    - being able to filter robots out and look at them separately
    - being able to check the path a visitor has taken, how long he stayed on each page
    - seeing stats about landing pages/exit pages
    - ability to aggregate data after a certain period, i.e. summarize data i.e. older than 3 months, so that you'll only be able to see the totals for periods more than 3 months ago
    - ability to display quick figures on the front end, i.e. visitors/hits during last 24h/total
    - ability to track via a javascript so that the stats work with caching solutions
    - no additional steps needed for the blog owner, it should just work
    - ability to have the stats for a blog be automatically deleted upon deletion of the corresponding blog

    that should mostly cover it

  • Saunt Valerian

    I've been using Google Analytics for years and I use Wordpress.com Stats within my WP sites.

    To my WPMU users, I offer WP.com stats for them to setup and use. I encourage them to use it because it offers a solid baseline of statistics that is useful for most users. I don't intend to offer them much more than that, since (because, they are not network managers) they don't need access to browser and settings information that the visitors are using.

    That said, having discovered Piwik via this post, I installed on my server for my WPMU network installation. As soon as I read about it and looked it over on the Piwik website, I knew instantly it was the tracking solution I've been looking for (we've been wanting to handle tracking of all the subsites since we started).

    Piwik installation and setup literally took me about 4 minutes. After that, the key to my success was using WPMU DEV's Global Footer Content plugin, which I was already using to display a backlink to my primary site within the footer of every website on my WPMU network.

    I simply added the Piwik embed code to the footer plugin and voila, I am now instantly able to track individual visitors movements (in real-time) across my website and my entire WPMU network.

    Piwik's dashboard is excellent. Using and understanding the information is actually easier than using Google Analytics.

    No plugin needed. In fact, I set this up with Piwik having its own database so as not to add extra tables to my WPMU installation. Piwik is so quick and easy to install, having a plugin adds a ridiculous amount of complexity to something that is near perfect already. If you can install and setup a WordPress installation, Piwik can be done much faster.

  • Saunt Valerian

    a) I can get away with it because while I've removed much of the WP branding, I make it clear that we are powered by WP. I run a very niche oriented site, there is a massive amount of blogging that goes on in my niche already. I use the power of WP to market my network as the best place to blog for tea (my niche). It allows bloggers of my niche to connect to each other. This way, I'm able to maintain a "professional relationship" with WP.com. That connection also allows me to encourage my bloggers that I am, "in the loop" with the best of blogging technology (though I feel more that way because of my WPMU DEV membership!)

    b) As far as Piwik is concerned, there is no benefit for the users. Because of my niche, my users are mostly not tech savvy, having that level of detail is generally useless. I think back to the days when all I did was blog, I used Google Analytics. There is so much depth there that I didn't use it, in fact I abandoned GA in favor of WP.com stats at the time.

    c) Exactly. Piwik is too detailed. I would love to have a stats plugin (are you listening WPMU DEV staff?) what offers the same user friendliness that WP.com stats does.

    A perfect stats plugin (for the users) would be one that offers that without the need for an individualized API key. Perhaps the stats could be tracked by the WPMU DEV servers with a master API key similar to what we use already for videos and plugin tracking. The plugin would designed specifically to track WPMU installations, it would be a Network Activate or a mu-plugin. It would know when new blogs come online, and a dashboard menu item+widget would be default. It would register the new blogs and deliver the stats information for that individual blog without any configuration by the user. This way, stats would be just "built-in" to the system for the user without anything extra needed.

    I don't even think a stats plugin of this nature should bother with any admin-level stats like Piwik provides. While it might be tempting to be the end-all/be-all of Multi-site stats plugins, that is just reinventing the wheel. If a Piwik plugin were developed here, that level of detail is only useful to the network manager - so make it a separate plugin. Make the user level plugin designed around the information most useful to individual bloggers (in way, this means taking lessons learned from the WP.com stats plugin).

  • Ovidiu

    @Saunt Valerian:

    thanks for elaborating.
    regarding piwik: you should try out the mentioned plugin. it automatically adds all sites of your multisite install into your piwik installation. thus separating your stats. yo ucan access them all. the only missing point is the integration of the widgets that piwik offers (check out your piwik back end/ administration part) - you can customize your own widgets.
    I feel that would be enough for my users, but there is no automation or plugin available for this yet.

  • wpcdn

    you can customize your own widgets.

    @Ovidiu, can you elaborate on this?

    +1 for Piwik. With the WP-Piwik plugin, each user gets access to a great display of their statistics. End users don't have to configure anything...it's right there for them. We allow users to turn off the plugin if they want to use GA (via the WPMU DEV plugin) and don't want to run two stats solutions.

    We run a Piwik server on a separate domain. As mentioned earlier, it's extremely easy to set up.

    The only thing I'd love to see added is the ability to add a Piwik widget or two to the main page of the WP Dashboard if possible. Right now they're all on a stats page.

    Piwik FTW!

  • Ovidiu

    @wpcdn:

    what I meant was this:http://screencast.com/t/PjvnKuTLX maybe I chose the wrong words, but that is how I see it: plenty of widgets ready for embedding except that they are JavaScript or embeds.

    talking about piwik: what do you mean by users have access to...? I use the wp-piwik plugin that automatically creates a website inside piwik for every site on my multisite install. nice and easy. except that the users don't have access to piwik itself all they have is what wp-piwiki offers inside wordpress, or what is your setup?

    @Phil: not sure what you mean by: fairly complete analytics system

    the point is that once the stats have been tracked, its up to you what you do with them. you could only offer users a hit-counter and a total counter, totally ignore the other data you captured or allow them drill down into data...
    I would be happy with a wordpress.com - like stats plugin. except hosted locally.

    I'd even be happy with a working solution based on i.e. http://whos.amung.us/ or http://radarurl.com/ except that those involve extra coding, separate tracking script for every site :slight_frown:

  • Ovidiu

    found another option, click here for a comparison between analytics, piwik and the new one: openwebanalytics: http://www.openwebanalytics.com/?page_id=158

    p.s. when I say new one, I mean new to me :slight_smile:

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    edit:

    let me add this: I don't think we need a fully grown stats plugin, I have made several suggestions in this thread, but how about a fully working wp plugin to integrate piwik or openwebanalytics with a wp multisite installation?

    I really think that can be pulled off quite easily as the stats plugin already exists, the piwik plugin is quite advanced and only needs some polishing...

    whats your opinion?

  • Ovidiu

    hm, found this alternative plugin: jshortcodes.com and suggested to the author to make it multisite compatible. the answer was maybe in one of the next versions.... thread: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/plugin-ecstatic-some-questions-regarding-the-functionality?replies=5

    any other plugin that could be used with multisite?

    I am lacking one and people are not happy but none of the solutions I tested so far have been satisfactory :slight_frown:

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