I’ve never been happy with my web stats software for this blog. I’ve been limping along with Awstats for a while, because it’s better then nothing, but only slightly. It’s never been able to tell me what I really want to know–things like “where are the visitors to this specific page coming from” or “what pages are especially popular today”. I’ve poked around at other stats packages, but none of the free ones seem any better (more secure, perhaps, but not much more useful). I’ve always had a nagging sense that I was missing something, but I assumed that if I waited long enough, a generic package would show up that was good enough and would do what I wanted.

Today, I finally figured out what I was missing–I want a report that shows the most popular categories on my blog. I want to know that I’ve had 900 Asterisk hits this month but only 252 PDA hits. Since there’s no way that a generic stats package can know that this page belongs to my “Ruby” category, it’s pretty clear that I’m going to need a stats package that knows about my blog software. And since no stats packages know anything about Typo, I’m going to have to write one.

I’m going to play with this a bit in my spare time over the next week or so.

For now, what I’d really like to see from people is a list of questions that they’re like their blog stats software to be able to answer. I’ll start the list here by giving some of the basics and repeating a couple from above:

  • How many hits am I getting per day?
  • Where are the visitors coming from?
  • What search terms are people using?
  • What categories generate the most hits?
  • Which pages are getting a larger-then-normal number of hits today?

Feel free to leave more in the comments and I’ll add them to my list.