Like many people, I started using Google Analytics because why not? It's a great way of tracking how many visitors the website got.
At one point, a whole debate around privacy and Google Analytics is even illegal.
I didn't even think about it and started looking for alternatives immediately.
Eventually, I decided to go with Fathom, as you can read in this article.
Don't get me wrong. I love Fathom or even Plausible. But hear me out on this.
Why do you need analytics?
I was talking to a good friend and discussing some blog costs.
At that point, I was paying 140$ a year for Fathom, which started to sound like quite a lot.
He then threw the ball back and asked me what I used the analytics for? (He comes from an SEO background)
I mentioned I use it to measure the website's growth, but that's about it.
All I do is open up the analytics from time to time (ok, quite often) and look at how many people visit and interact with the site.
You'll quickly realize it's simply a vanity metric. I don't act on it. It's not like I'll do anything differently if the numbers change or if an article does way better.
So, do we really need analytics?
My website drives 87% of the traffic through Google, taking that into account. I can get a good overview of visitors via my Google Search Console.
Considering it's not super stable, it's another vanity metric that doesn't change how I run the website. However, I like to keep track of the articles that do well, which is an excellent source.
Second, I'm also using Carbon ads on my website to re-coop some of the costs of running this website.
The cool thing about them is that they also track impressions on the ads. So knowing the ads are shown on every article page, I can get a good glimpse of the total number of visitors.
The last metric might be the best one. Newsletter subscribers!
If I start losing or no longer gaining newsletter subscribers, it mostly means people no longer like my content, or there might be a bug.
These people want to interact with my content, so a much more valuable metric to be aware of.
What made me think about this
I got an email from Fathom the other day that I'm almost exceeding their first-tier (the 140$ a year one).
That meant I'd have to pay 240$ a year to know that there are x amount of visitors on my website.
That was where I thought, ok, let's quit the analytics and not chase vanity metrics!
When do you need analytics?
I'm sure many of you are going to rampage reasons one should have analytics, and yes, there will be some valid ones.
The ones I could think of where analytics are a must:
- AB Testing features
- You analyze flows within the website
- You optimize well-performing articles
- You track referrals
Again, these depend on your website, and in many cases, there are other ways of tracking these metrics.
I'm looking forward to all the comments showing why I need my analytics again 😅.
Quite a different article and I'm hoping to spark a conversation with everyone.
Do we really need analytics?