Friday, July 16, 2010

gaAddons v2.0 - now with async!

Update: gaAddons v2 is available at

I'm currently alpha testing gaAddons v2.0 on my blog and my site - and you can help me simply by visiting any of my sites and click on outbound links, downloads and email links!

What is gaAddons?
It's a collection of useful enhancements to extend and improve upon the default Google Analytics implementation. It actually leverage the popular jQuery light-weight and powerful JavaScript library.

I had created a first version a while ago - still available here - but you are really better off waiting for v2!

What's in v2?

  • Use the new async calls
  • Track outbound, downloads and email links using events ("fake" pageview mode also supported)
  • Track real bounce rate by triggering an event after 30 seconds on a page (default)
  • Avoid affecting bounce rate when events are on 1st page view of a visit (default)
  • Easily customize the default options
  • Use a tagging syntax identical to Google Analytics style
There are a number of ideas and features upcoming - use Support to share feedback & ideas!


You will notice the code bellow is a slightly modified version of the default GA tags:
<script type="text/javascript">
   var _gaq = _gaq || [];
      ['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXX-X'],

   var gaAddons = gaAddons || [];

   (function() {
      var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
      ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '';
      var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
      var gaAddons = document.createElement('script'); gaAddons.type = 'text/javascript'; gaAddons.async = true;
      gaAddons.src = 'gaAddons-2.0.min.js';
      s.parentNode.insertBefore(gaAddons, s);

That's all you'll have to do to start getting additional metrics under Content/Event Tracking.


Wait for my signal before using this code on your own site - I'm currently alpha-testing and there are chances you might screw up your Google Analytics data - and I will not support you!

There will be a beta-test phase where you will be invited to test it on your own site.

  1. Head to the gaAddons v2.0 page and look for the Test Cases at the bottom of the page
  2. Click on  a couple of outbound links, downloads and mailto
  3. That's all I need from you to help me out!
This will a) allow me to quickly get sample data and b) test several conditions using different browsers c) test the unknown!

Please use Support to send in any feedback, ideas, thoughts or just share a comment on the blog.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Google Blogger with real-time stats: why?

This morning I stumbled (literally - as well as mashable) on a post mentioning the availability of real-time analytics in Google Blogger, the platform I've been using since October 2002 to host my blog.

The good

Availability: Stats are showing up in Google Blogger in Draft under the Stats item and data is available since July 1st. Blog owners do not have to do implement any tags or change their configuration.

Metrics: Near real-time stats are available for a number of metrics: post pageviews, referring URLs, Referring Sites, Search Keywords, Countries, Browser and OS.

Dashboard: There is a single dashboard under Overview which uses the same UI as Google Analytics.

The bad

This is a very light weight and toned down reporting tool - I wouldn't even call it "analytics" as their is virtually no actionable data. Notice the absence of several simple metrics such as: Visits, Time on Site, New vs Repeat visitors, any of the Loyalty metrics.

More importantly, there are no campaigns or AdWords integration (or AdSense), no content categorization  (the reason why we use tags on blogs!) and of course, no Goals.

There is a single dashboard without any customization, no filtering, no custom report...

The ugly

In this day and age of social media, how could they miss integrating Feedburner stats? Google acquired Feedburner ages ago and it's pretty much still in the same state it was then. How could they miss integrating any type of engagement information such as number of comments per post or number of mentions on social media? What about creating a special traffic source category for social media: Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, YouTube, etc.???

My take: why?

My first impression is... well... how can I say: what the heck?! Don't even bother with this. If you are using Blogger out of the box  without any customization, maybe I can understand. But seriously, integrating Google Analytics to Blogger can be done in a snap.

In doing so, maybe Google is setting the stage for other stuff, here's two ideas:
  1. Real-time data in Google Analytics? I doubt it because the collection method are really different and the sub-set of metrics offered are much easier to offer in real time
  2. Pay for Google Analytics: Based on market data collected with the Web Analytics Solution Profiler (WASP), Google Analytics enjoys a huge market penetration. Although there are large sites using GA, the number of smaller blogs using it is astronomic. The owner of all those small blogs are probably not very important for AdWords revenues and must drag significant resources... Google could also come up with a paid version of GA but this is a stretch...

My recommendation: GA + PostRank

If you are serious about analytics on your blog, install Google Analytics and use PostRank Analytics. See my review of PostRank from September of last year - still using it, still loving it!

Their infographics are very useful and tailored for blog owners, they integrate useful data from multiple social media sources and provide useful "engagement" data. The per-post Conversion Feed provides details about every social media mention and the new Activity Stream offers a real-time view of our social presence.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Excuse the dust...

July 1st: a strange tradition in Québec, and it's not Canada day (similar to 4th of July in the US) - our "distinct" culture isn't too keen on celebrating it. No, I'm talking about the big moving day!

Fulfilling a dream

I'm not moving yet... but getting closer to a lifelong dream. Sitting on the St-Lawrence river, 15 minutes away from Québec-city, Île d'Orléans is described as a "microcosm of traditional Quebec and the birthplace of francophones in North America".
Explorer Jacques Cartier called the verdant spot the Island of Bacchus when he sighted it in 1535. The Indians had long referred to it as the Enchanted Place. Both names do justice to Ile d'Orleans, which Cartier later renamed in honor of the Duke of Orleans, the son of the King of France.
I'm in the process of purchasing a house in Ste-Pétronille, located at the tip of the island. Built around 1815, the charming spot sits on a 20,000 square foot lot surrounded by forest, gardens and other historical houses. The very well preserved house isn't big and was built in the pure traditional style: 35x24 two story timber frame with an annex. The surrounding is just amazing!


Some people find it awkward I can be so involved in the modern, online world and be interested in history and countryside at the same time.

Maybe it's something that can't be explained!

The only perspective I can offer is that of balance between work and life, between light-speed of the net and growth of a hundred years old tree, taking care of a house dating back before my grand-grand-parents while improving a website which lifespan is counted in months.