I’m an IT guy who happens to value privacy protection. I always liked statistics in my job. When managing or auditing a datacenter, for example, I depend on performance statistics and efficiency statistics for many tasks. At home, I use iStats Menu on my Mac and I love seeing what is going once inside. It is the same for my numeric life with my blogging workflow. I like to see what is going on.
I’ve been using Google Analytics since 2010 when I started with Google’s Blogger (you can see a sample in the web archive). At that time, I ran a blog about being an indie iOS apps developer. Until now, Google Analytics was my go-to solution to get an overview of my blogs’ traffic. As someone who values privacy protection, it’s time to walk the talk. It’s time for a change. It’s time for a more privacy protection oriented solution. Google Analytics is not privacy protection friendly. This is where Plausible, a capable Google Analytics alternative, comes into play. After using it for 30 days, I’m all in. Here is why I dumped Google Analytics and switched to Plausible.
Plausible is open source. Plausible took less than five minutes to set up on two of my blogs. Support questions were rapidly answered. Metrics are less comprehensive than Google Analytics, but they are more than good enough for my needs. Plausible is a web-only solution. The lack of official APIs prevents the creation of native apps for iOS. But APIs are on the roadmap. Things will change and improve on that front eventually. Graphs options are ok, not as versatile as I would like, but it is good enough. Plausible is $4/month, billed annually. Who said privacy protection is a free ride?
By switching to Plausible, I made another important decision too: I decided to make my blogs’ visitors stats publicly available. It’s not a matter of bragging about how my sites are popular (or not). Some bloggers don’t bother thinking about their visitor statistics. I do. Until now, I rarely talked about that. One exception is when Google makes changes to their search algorithm, which can dramatically impact my visitor statistics. You can look at my main blog, Numeric Citizen, analytics here and Numeric Citizen microblog analytics here.
There is another reason why I decided to terminate my Google Analytics usage. WordPress already provides visitor analytics. By using Google’s analytics, it felt redundant. For my microblog, there is no such thing as visitor statistics. Plausible help me here to get a sense of what’s going on with it.
By switching to Plausible, some apps and services tied to Google Analytics are no longer needed. Numerico which had many nice iOS 14 widgets and Databox service which was tapping into my Google Analytics data to create dashboards are no longer required and have been deleted and cancelled.
Switching from Google Analytics to Plausible was not only painless, but it was also necessary. Sure I loved the breath of statistics, graphs and dashboards that comes with Google Analytics, but did I need all this? Nope. The year 2021 started with a “digital reset” mindset for me. My switch to Plausible is part of this trend.