Blogbeat is a new blog statistic tracking service that has just recently opened its doors to the public and seems quiet promising. I have been beta testing Blogbeat for a few weeks now and have been monitoring the many revisions the developers have been making to the service and everytime it gets better and better. Blogbeat is not your normal statistic tracking service, such as Google Analytics, but leans more toward blog statistics with simplistic monitoring, as does MeasureMap (Review), which is still in private beta. Blogbeat provides all of the basic statistics including visitors, referrers, search engines, browsers, etc.., but also has great post detail stats, RSS statistics (for Feedburner), comment tracking, outgoing links, and more. It is not usual that I write about commercial services, here at Solution Watch, but I feel Blogbeat is well worth the money and is also worth a look by anyone interested because of its painless 30 day free trial.
Once you get Blogbeat’s snippet inserted into your blog, log into Blogbeat and lets take a look at your interface. The first page you will see is the Blog Summary page that gives a basic overview of your statistics for the day. As you can see, everything is very nicely layed out, easy going colors, big typeface for easy reading, graphs, and percentages. First thing to take note of is the top bar. You will see your website name and description (taken from the RSS feed you provided, I am assuming) along with some overall totals. The overall totals provided includes monthly visitors, monthly pageviews, feed subscribers (via Feedburner – More on this later.), and average views per visitor. This bar is global throughout every page of Blogbeat making it easy for you to get an idea of totals from any page. The next feature I want to mention is the date selection. The date selection allows you to set a date range for the statistics shown throughout Blogbeat. If you are interested in today, yesterday, or maybe last months statistics, you can still narrow down on that data. It is not as indepth as MeasureMap when it comes to date selection, but definitely gets the job done. The main page of Blogbeat will also include a list of recent visitors and a graph on the right for a visual of your blogs traffic.
I mentioned that Blogbeat is not your average statistics tracking service. One feature that differentiates Blogbeat from the crowd is how it can drill down into every last drop of information, starting from the beginning. For example, on the main page you will see the list of recent visitors. Each recent visitor block includes a link to the post they viewed from your blog, where they came from, and even a permanent link to the visitor themselves (more on this later). Here is where the drilling down comes in. When you click on the blog post they viewed, it wont direct you to the actual post but rather details for that individual post (which you can see in the above screenshot). Each post has its own individual statistics page including a graph, overview of totals, recent activity (visits), top referrers, and top search terms. Not only that but it also tracks how many comments have been made to that post, which I am told is possible because of “magic,” according to the creator (haha). This is very neat and very helpful because I love being able to track activity on individual posts from my site. Helps me see what my visitors have interest in so I can hopefully write about services more in favor of my visitors. One last feature that I want to mention that you may find useful is the way that referrers are presented. Not only is the address presented, but also the paragraph that your link was in from the referring site. This is great because if I get a referrer, I can see what the site was talking about and why it linked to me without even having to view it. Small features such as that make big differences. Now looking at a bigger scope, you can also drill down into statistics for visitors, outgoing links, referrers, search engines, and even individual keywords themselves!
Blogbeat also has separate overview pages for your visitors themselves. Not just an overview of the visitors combined, but every individual user. This is something that I find very interesting and useful. I wonder why other services haven’t done this yet. When you go to the visitors section of Blogbeat, you will see a list of your recent visitors by IP Address. Click on the IP Address and you will be directed to that individuals overview page. You get some basic information, such as browser type, resolution, etc., but what more interests me was that it also grabs geographical information via the IP address of the visitor that can give you a basic idea of where the visitor is from. Even more, you can also see how many visits the viewer has come to your site. For example, I can see a visitor came to my site once yesterday and two times today. This is all great that I can view this information, but how can I keep track of this visitor? Well, tag the visitor. This is something I have yet to see in any statistical service and found it an excellent idea. You can actually tag any visitor that comes to your site so when viewing the overall visitors page, you can see users titled by there tag rather then IP address, making it easier for you to keep track of them. To test this out, I visited my site and tagged my visit as “self.” Now, every time I visit my site, Blogbeat will show me in the visitor log as “self.” I now can easily find myself and view my stats of my activity to get an idea of how often I actually visit my own site! Of course, ideally you would use it to track your visitors, not yourself… but just for testing reason, I tested it on me. I do love the tagging functionality and it makes it very easy for you to track a visitors activity, but one thing comes to mind that I don’t see. A tag cloud or a list of tags used. You can tag a visitor, but once you tag them, you can only pick them out of the visitor overview page when they visit your site again. If there was a tag cloud, it would act as a filter of the visitor overview page allowing you to see only recent activity from visitors associated with the tag they are tagged with. I’ve been tagging some of my known frequent visitors as “frequent” and it would be really cool if I can click on a tag to view statistics for that tag only. But other then that, I absolutely love the idea and find it very useful.
I have spoken to the developer of Blogbeat and have been told that there are more features on its way. Specifically, he had mentioned more Feedburner integration and a Blogbeat API that is in the works. Let me talk about the Feedburner integration for a minute. This is also a unique feature that I have not seen utilized in other statistic tracking services. In the settings of your Blogbeat account, you can optionally fill in your Feedburner username. When you do fill in the username, it can provide you with your subscribed circulation on the top bar, as you see in the screenshots and as of right now that is all. But from previous versions during my testing of Blogbeat, there were 7 and 30 day RSS traffic vs blog traffic graphs as well that you can view. From the sounds of it, this will be included again into the service soon, I hope. As for the API, it appears that the API will allow you to include lists of most popular posts and popular referrers in your blog itself for your visitors to see. Very cool.
There are a few minor adjustments that I would make, and I have been helping the developer out with my ideas and opinions as I’ve been testing. As I have said, above, I would love to select tags on the visitor overview page to filter the visitors displayed. I also personally think that the logged in session is too short. It seems like every time I leave, I have to log back in again. I would like the session to last maybe at a days time if at all possible so I don’t need to login all the time. Lastly, I like the referrals page, but the links to the referrer goes to the detailed stats page for that individual link. I would love to have an icon on the side of this link that would allow me to open the referrer up in a new window. Other than that, everything is great. The basic features of Blogbeat has been covered and I really do love the service. Will I pay for it? Yes. The prices are cheap and I really do value the statistics that it provides. Even if you don’t want to pay for the service, give it a try with its 30 day free trial just to get a feel for it. Great work, Jeff! I love it.