Website analysis tools

Back in March, Google agreed to buy Urchin, the web site traffic analysis software. Only now, with the release of Google Analytics has this deal hit people’s radars, as Google now offers Urchin functionality free to all and sundry.

In recent commentary, people have lumped together Google Analytics, Mint and Measure Map as three new traffic analysis tools all competing with each other. Mark Boulton has a rather more sane view of how to compare these products:

I’m not comparing them, as I feel they are three different levels of stats application ranging from the simple snapshot (Mint) to the more detailed (Analytics) and something in-between (MeasureMap).

And he’s right. Aside from being free, Google Analytics may appeal to some people as it appears to have an overwhelming amount of information and analysis.

Mint however does great job at displaying the kind of pertinent information that one would most often want from a stats analysis program – most popular pages, search terms used, recent referrers, browsers, and so on. And Mint will only get more powerful as Pepper plug-ins are developed. I also think Mint is a great package to give smaller clients who want an easy way to check their traffic.

Some have said that Mint is aimed at bloggers. Mint was initially marketed at and through bloggers, but it is certainly not limited to use on blogs. Unlike Measure Map, which is designed specifically for use on blogs in the way it tracks post and comments. The analysis Measure Map provides couldn’t be replicated on more generic systems like Google Analytics.

And one does have to think… why did Google buy Urchin and why are they giving Analytics away for free? It can’t all be for adding value to AdWord tracking so what do they plan to use all the data for?