I have been keeping very busy with some internal projects. One such project is a new web analytics tool that we launched today, called BLVD Status. We teamed up with Chris Bennett, of 97th Floor about 7 months ago. It’s been a long time in the making, and it’s a big relief that we finished today. I would like to personally thank my lead developer, Charles Berube, who is the best programmer I know. Without him, our vision would never have come this far.
SO WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT IT?
Well, the whole reason we decided to undertake this project was the fact that we felt other analytic tools were too technical, too hard to setup, or too difficult to understand for most users. We wanted to make a tool that accomplished the following goals:
- Live stats
- Simple User Interface
- Less than 5 minutes to setup
- Had detailed and intuitive reporting
- Focused on conversions.
I am happy to say that we accomplished those goals. Here is a bit more information about what we did to accomplish it:
One analytics program we love is Mint. It has to be installed on the users server with a PHP/MySQL setup. Because of this, we were able to see our stats live. Google Analytics and others have a 24 hour delay. We understand it’s necessary to help with server load, but we are trying to stay “live” as long as we can. Our main dashboard for BLVD has 6 boxes, which shows you quickly and effortlessly what is happening with Conversions, Keywords, Referrers, Site Urls, Outgoing Links, and general Traffic. You can drag the boxes to the order of your liking, as well as set a refresh rate to give you fresh look. Needless to say, I keep my browser stats open all day.
Simple User Interface
One thing I loved about this project, was that I was able to design all the user interfaces and logic without having a client breathing down my neck. I tried to come up with a way that would connect all the pieces to give a nice understanding of what’s happening. I feel with too many analytics programs they try to show how cool they are by throwing in google maps, charts, etc… without a real clear understanding of how they should be interpreted. I decided then, to focus more on the individual users coming to the site. I am happy with where it’s at, and already have ideas of where to improve.
Less than 5 minutes to setup
One thing that is so rad about BLVD is you can literally signup for an account, put the tracking script on your website, and see your stats within 5 minutes. And with that, you can track more difficult things like RSS subscriptions, form submissions etc… with ease. Many analytics programs make you have to alter html code in order to track outgoing links and such. Our goal was to keep everything within the dashboard. That way, a user simply has to install the script on their site, configure their conversions, and they are off to the races. This will allow users of all different skill levels to track things once believed as complicated.
Detailed and intuitive reporting
As I mentioned earlier, we had the frustration that many analytics programs provide good data, but simply don’t present it in a way where it can benefit your website. I wanted to create an analytics program, where after looking at the data I could see what is working as far as design, referrals, advertising, keywords etc… Our reporting options at this point aren’t complete… but let’s just say they are going to blow any other analytics reporting out of the water, simply because once again we put the user in the captain’s chair.
Focused on Conversions
Every website needs a purpose. For example, my website is to promote my business in order to get more leads through my contact forms. One purpose of my blog is to get more subscribers to my RSS feed. Well, shouldn’t an analytics program then allow you to track where someone came from before they filled out your contact form or purchased your product? Or which keyword they typed in Google before subscribing to your RSS feed? Well, ours does. This is what we call Micro Conversions, and it’s freakin bad. When someone makes a conversion (you tell the system what a conversion is), you can look back at where they came from, which pages they visited before making the conversion, how long they were on each page, and how long the conversion took. This allows me to quickly see visitors actions before they do what I want them to do. This helps me think of ways to make the site more sticky or see which keywords/referrers are bringing the highest conversion rate.
We took it a step further too, for you social media junkies. You can use our code to place a “Digg This” button on your site, which will act as a conversion. That way you can track which keywords/referrers bring the most Digg clicks etc… It’s pretty cool.
We also allow you to see the current ranking of your keyword, as well as it’s average over a period of time. You can look at each page on your site and see which keywords/referrers led people to that page…. there is so much to learn.
I guess the next step is for you to get an account and try it out for yourself. There are so many other features I could go over, but it’s best you play with it yourself. We are working on some other nice features too, so stay tuned!
The link again: http://www.blvdstatus.com
And of course… let me know what you think!