Self Development March 29, 2020

What Are Some Good Privacy Respecting Metrics For A Blog?

Kasper Brohus Allerslev @undreren

Hi all (again)

As I'm laying down a strategy for my blog, I'm considering good metrics for my blog.

I'm a bit of a privacy nut, so I'm staying clear of Google Analytics. Besides, I think the number of readers are a bit of a vanity metric, considering I'm trying to engage people.

I have no monetization strategy (yet), but I'm considering online courses, e-books and webinars. I might also use affiliate links. Since these are my current ideas, I need community and trust building, which a flat number of readers is just not going to be a good indicator for.

Currently, my strategy is to goat people into emailing me directly from the blog. I'll also share it on twitter and linkedin, talking to people about the content there.

I'll measure the engagement by number of commenters and emails I receive. Does this sound reasonable? What other good metrics are there?

EDIT: The blog is statically generated with Hugo and hosted on Netlify.

  1. 3

    If you're focused on engagement, those are some important metrics. Number of comments, number of email subscribers, number of emails/responses sent back to you, perhaps number of people sharing your content or replying to you about it in social media.

    Otherwise I like to look at the total number of visitors, the number of visitors to particular posts and the referral sources of traffic. Views may feel a bit of a vanity metric but it does help you figure out the overall trends (from which you can easier understand the engagement numbers) and it tells you things such as what topics are more interesting to people, what referral sources are the most effective in your marketing etc. None of these impact nor collect any personal data.

    One tool I find valuable is Google's Search Console as it gives you details on how your content ranks on Google (for instance which keywords and keywords phrases you rank for). This is all without needing to add any Google scripts to your site.

    Otherwise the privacy alternatives to Google Analytics are like already mentioned Fathom and Simple Analytics and there are also Matomo and Plausible.

    I've published some other ways you can de-Google your website at https://markosaric.com/degoogleify/

  2. 2

    In case it is a WordPress based Blog, i recommend https://wordpress.org/plugins/koko-analytics/

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      The blog is statically generated with Hugo and hosted on Netlify. I'll add that to the post.

  3. 2

    you can use fantom or simple analytics

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      It looks really great, but I can't throw 19$ a month after this. That's twice my yearly cost of having the blog :-/

      I'll definitely consider it, if I ever start monetizing my blog.

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        I am using fathom (full disclosure: this is my affiliate link that gives you $10 off your first bill). Any service that respects privacy will cost money because that is the only monetization route available when you don't sell data.

        Having some kind of metric to measure traction is important otherwise how will you be able to determine if it viable to monetize? If you are price conscious right now, use Google Analytics and transition to another provider afterwards once money is less of an issue.

        EDIT: I recommend this post by another Indie Hacker if you want to see an overview of the current privacy-focused analytic options. Note that the author is slightly biased because he is trying to promote his friend's product, but it's still good.

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          Why is click rate a good indicator of "traction"?

          Wouldn't engagement on social media be much better?

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            Why not both? The more signals you have, the better decision you can make.

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              But I’m not interested in lurkers. Wouldn’t view counts provide a “wrong” metric?

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                Most analytics platforms allow you to connect views to events. So you can see what % of visitors clicked on your CTA.

  4. 1

    I do have something you could theoretically use (it's free): https://bashboard.io/kasper - but I will be resetting the DB in a few days and there is currently no user system, everything is public for another few weeks (yolo) - AND you'll have to send the data to Bashboard manually with a POST request.. uhh, there must be better options out there :)