Choosing an alternative to Google Analytics for a small blog

January 29, 2021 · 3 min read

A few months ago, I decided to start this blog. I’ve been procrastinating a lot on choosing which web analytics tool to use. That was because I wanted to invest the time to investigate alternatives to Google Analytics. The reason I wanted to avoid Google Analytics was mainly my privacy concerns: I didn’t want to pay for an analytics tool with the data of my visitors. Also, I freaking hate the consent pop-ups. I don’t want to annoy my visitors with privacy policy pages and cookie banners.

I was happy to see that this has been a growing interest in the tech community. Many companies and indie-makers have created their own solutions with a different business model: charging a fee instead of selling visitors’ data. Which is totally fine by me.

I stopped researching after discovering the following tools (however, there are many more):

Matomo

At 29$ per month, it comes quite expensive and bloated with too many features for a simple blog like this one. Also, we are using at the company where I work and I have to say I am not a big fan of the interface.

umami

Unfortunately, this is only available as a self-hosted solution and even though it can be deployed fairly simply and for free on some platforms, I did not want to deal with keeping servers up to date. I’d rather go for a cloud solution. The UI, however, seems very clean.

Fathom

Fathom really caught my attention (I have to admit, I am very attracted to clean websites with nice UI). Their demo showed how simple their interface is, giving someone like me exactly what they are looking for. Simple graphs and numbers on visitors with some statistics on device and browser usage and geolocation. It comes at the price of 11.66$ per month (paid annually) for 100.000 page views.

Plausible

An even more interesting option for me, mainly because of the price plans. For a starting blog like mine, where I get daily something like 0 visitors, paying 4$ per month for 10.000 views is a very good option. In the event that I need 100.000 page views, I can easily upgrade to the next plan for 8$ per month. Their UI is very similar to Fathom’s one, maybe a bit fancier because of the world map. Is a map however the best way to visualize which country you get the most visits from? I find that a simple list is enough. Thankfully, the interface also provides that.

Simple Analytics

Yet another awesome project. It meets all my requirements and has some extra nice features. However, some of the above options are cheaper than 9$ per month. Also, hilarious introduction video.

GoatCounter

Admittedly, the user interface is not as appealing as from all the above options. However, the creator makes a very good case that the interface provides a very good user experience nevertheless. Moreover, it comes for free for non-commercial use, with 6-month data retention and 100.000 page-views per month.

Conclusion

In the end, I decided to go with GoatCounter (and that was not because of its name). I liked the views of the creator, it’s free and the interface gives me what I need. The 6-month data retention is not a problem for me for now.


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