What are you missing from your analytics?

If you’re not regularly monitoring your website analytics with goals and a pain free conversion strategy, you’re already behind the curve. Let us help.

However, if you’re like most entrepreneurs who run a website and check your logs religiously, you might want to consider what information you might be missing from your analytics.

Most analytic solutions involve running JavaScript, which can provide a great level of detail. The challenge is, many people now use JavaScript blockers, and that traffic is lost to these tools. Many search engine bots and spiders don’t use scripts either, so they will be missed. How prevalent is this? You might be surprised with the following results.

Recently, I put this site behind Cloudflare to try it. While I wouldn’t consider their information to be detailed analytics, they do provide an idea of traffic:

cloudflare analytics<figcaption id="caption-attachment-1080" class="wp-caption-text">cloudflare analytics</figcaption></figure>

Regardless of JavaScript, most webservers, applications that serve websites, log all traffic. You can use useful tools on these logs, to compare the data with your JavaScript analytics.

I then took at look at my webserver logs, using analog.cx to parse them, showed slightly different metrics.  This table showing date, number of requests, and number of pages:

analog.cx of logs<figcaption id="caption-attachment-1081" class="wp-caption-text">analog.cx of logs</figcaption></figure>

As you can see, these are not too different, until you compare them with the results I’m getting from Piwik, which is what I usually use for analytics:

piwik jan2015<figcaption id="caption-attachment-1082" class="wp-caption-text">piwik jan2015</figcaption></figure>

~20 to ~2000 unique visitors per week is no subtle difference! We’re talking not one, but two orders of magnitude difference!

There are many potential reasons for the discrepancy; is Piwik installed on all pages of the website? Is there something stopping the pages from loading completely for every website visitor?

The important thing here isn’t to emphasize how little I work on improving traffic to this website, but that if I’d only been looking at Piwik, I would have missed many potential opportunities.

My suggestion is, don’t rely on a single approach to website logging, make sure you’re getting multiple perspectives, to ensure you’re seeing the whole picture.