I’ve struggled a bit with the question of whether I should set up some analytics on my blog and profile website. So far, I had none, and Google Analytics, the obvious choice, was a no-go. I think Google already has a lot of power and data, and I didn’t want to feed them if I could avoid it. On the other hand, I write this blog not just for myself, but I also consider it a marketing tool for my freelance business and other professional and entrepreneurial goals. I have shared what other people think about content marketing for developers, and at least two have emphasized the importance of analytics. Having some insights into whether someone reads this at all would certainly be helpful. If I can support an independent, privacy-focused small business in the process, it’s even better.
There are a few of these smaller analytics providers. My choice was to go with Plausible Analytics. Their product is minimalist, but with all the essential features. They are fully open-source, hosted in Europe, and work without cookies. Also, out of its competitors, it’s probably the most affordable option, starting at $48 per year (I want to support an independent founder but also have to mind my business expenses).
As you may know, my blog is hosted by micro.blog. And Manton, the founder of micro.blog, recently added a plug-in feature based on Hugo themes. Therefore, instead of just modifying my blog theme, I decided that I could build a tiny plug-in to simplify installation for me and others. It’s just a few lines of code and configuration, and you can find the plug-in source code on GitHub. It took me a single Pomodoro session to develop.
Within less than 24 hours, Manton shared it and added it to the plug-in directory, and also Plausible listed it as integration in their documentation. Also, there is at least one member of micro.blog that started the free trial of Plausible Analytics.
Last but not least, I have decided to be fully transparent and make my analytics page public so that you can have insights into this blog, too.