Maximize Your Payouts by Laying a Firm Foundation

People will always pay more if they’re confident in what they’re getting. That’s true whether we’re talking about advertisers or for the eventual acquirer of your site. Not only that, given the choice of two otherwise identical sites, they’ll always choose the one with greater transparency.

Because of that, there are two free services that I strongly recommend signing up for.

Google Analytics

I know some people who I highly respect recommend avoiding Google Analytics, but I just haven’t found a free solution that does what Analytics does: provide accurate-enough stats and numbers that are widely accepted. You can have the most accurate stats in the world, but it doesn’t matter if no one believes them. Stats from Analytics aren’t perfect, but enough companies use it now that it’s becoming more and more an accepted standard.

There are a lot of other free services out there that do a pretty good job, but I haven’t found one I like as much as Analytics. I do use StatCounter on all my sites, but that’s only because I want to be able to see real-time stats. If Analytics was real-time, I probably wouldn’t bother. I know a lot of people who use Site Meter, too, but I don’t like the fact that they spy on your users’ behavior.

Now you may be thinking, “If my web host provides stats, do I need anything else?” Absolutely. Stat programs that work by analyzing your log files can be terribly inaccurate. See “Know What You’re Measuring” for more details.

There are some great paid services out there, too, but those can get very expensive very fast. Unless you’re making profits in the mid to high five figures every month, they’re probably not worth it. (And I’m not sure I personally would switch away from Analytics even then.)


The other free service I like a lot is Quantcast. It’s not perfect, but with more and more people requesting demographic data these days — and willing to pay more to sites who provide it — it’s an outstanding start. Particularly since competing services not only aren’t free, but very expensive.

Like with Analytics, you just add a small bit of code to each of your pages and within a month or so Quantcast has begun to compile a pretty impressive set of demographic data about your visitors — without the behavioral targeting that many would object to.

What If I Don’t Want Transparency?

That’s a valid question. There are definitely times when ambiguity works to your advantage. Sometimes you want to appear much larger than you actually are.

Once you’ve reached a level you can be proud of, though, transparency can help you maximize your revenue by not only earning you a better price than you would get otherwise, but also by helping you win deals over your competitors. That’s why I don’t mind sharing the data on most of my sites.


  • Kelly

    May 30, 2008
    at 1:07 am

    Have you tried Woopra? What do you think about it? It also offers virtually live analytics which allows site owners and adminstrators the option to view site activity in near real-time. It is quite new and I have not tried it either.


  • Shane

    May 30, 2008
    at 8:15 am

    Wow! It sure looks impressive. Because it’s new it wouldn’t satisfy the requirement of wide acceptability, but it’s certainly possible that it would be a great replacement for StatCounter.

    I’d love to hear comments from anyone who’s tried Woopra.


  • Swanny

    May 30, 2008
    at 9:08 am

    Hey Shane, Jay from the Geek Estate Blog wrote a good post on Woopra the other week, you can read it here 🙂

    Cheers! Swanny


  • Desmond -

    June 1, 2008
    at 4:49 am

    I enjoy Google Analytics mainly because it’s free and I too used to it that I don’t feel like changing


  • Ilia

    June 3, 2008
    at 10:44 am

    I have Woopra installed and I love it! Especially how you can see live stats.


  • Kelly

    June 4, 2008
    at 10:53 pm

    Hi Ilia,
    So what do you think comparing with StatCounter? What are the plus values?


  • Goran

    June 5, 2008
    at 5:01 pm

    I have also been using Woopra and its very impressive and we can tag users and see when they return. It just does not have reports as of yet, but i am sure its on its way.


  • Kelly

    June 16, 2008
    at 4:41 am

    Goran, you encourage me to try Woopra. Thanks.


  • John Settles

    July 4, 2008
    at 10:47 am

    Thanks for the advice on the web development. Can you recommend a good company or person to do the development, hosting and updating?


  • Ilia

    July 7, 2008
    at 7:01 am


    I don’t really have much experience with StatCounter.


  • Goran

    July 7, 2008
    at 7:07 am

    Hi Kelly, I have looked at it in the past. Rather go and get an Analytics account with Google.


  • poems girl

    July 9, 2008
    at 9:19 am

    I used to use Google Analytics but I think it is the very time to have a try Woopra

  • […] I always say that whenever someone that claims to be an SEO guru ‘promises’ or ‘guarantees’ they can deliver for you in the world of SEO, you should be skeptical. That being said, let’s take a look at the steps I took when starting this site to ensure I started down a path to building a firm foundation. […]

  • […] It’s not perfect, and I know some people refuse to use it because they don’t want to clue The Google into what they’re doing, but Analytics is amazingly powerful and useful for a free package — plus the stats are invaluable when it comes to selling a site. […]