Tag: shortstat

Mint

Webmasters undeniably rely on web site statistics to give them a clue as to how their respective sites are doing. Statistics become important in evaluating site changes and even adding new content. For the do-it-yourself webmaster, clear and easy to use stat packages become a necessity, so obviously you want to pick the right web stats program for your site. Your choices range from web services like Google Analytics, to programs that analyse your webserver logs, such as AWStats, or you can choose a script that concentrates on what your web site activity is at the moment. Mint concentrates on just the essential statistics you need, in this way it is a good stats program for webmasters who are not interested in long term analysis. Bloggers in particular will find Mint to be a good alternative to AWStats or Google Analytics, since it can be integrated with most major web blogging scripts like WordPress. If however you are in the need of more in depth reports or eCommerce tracking, then Mint is not for you.

Unwrapped Mint

There are two ways to setup Mint. You can simply add a single line of javascript code to the head tag of your html, or in the case of WordPress, to the header.php template file. The advanced method requires that you have PHP installed as an Apache module and is harder to implement if you are not an experienced webmaster. Since Mint requires javascript, it is unable to track any visits if javascript is disabled. This is usually not a problem for most people, since javascript is now a pretty common requirement. At the time of this writing, Mint also requires Apache, PHP, and MySQL in order to run properly. Most Linux and UNIX based web servers will satisfy these requirements, but Windows servers will not work. Even with all these stipulations, I still found Mint to be an interesting and worthwhile investment.

For $30 per domain, Mint can provide real time stats and unlike other stat packages, it totally ignores bots and spammer scripts. This gives you a more accurate picture of actual hits on your site. Compared to other stats packages, I would say Mint is actually more conservative about hits. On the other side, the standard Mint stats are not very spectacular, fortunately, Mint is expandable. Its plugin architecture allows for new search panes to be added to the standard Mint stats view. These plugins are referred to as peppers. I highly recommend XXX Strong Mint, Sparks!, and Fresh View. You can find more peppers on the Peppermint Tea page.

WordPress & Mint

If you run WordPress and use ShortStat, you might be wondering if Mint is worth the price of admission. The advantage of Mint is that you can track static html pages as well as your WordPress blog. Other than that, the other big difference is that ShortStat registers way too many hits from search engines and bots as regular hits. Mint is more accurate or you might say conservative in its hit tracking. In my opinion, if you receive moderate traffic above fifty actual hits from actual visitors you probably could benefit from Mint. Technically, thirty dollars is not a lot of money these days, so Mint is a pretty good value considering how much commercial web site tracking software costs.

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Custom Shortstat Plugin

A very handy plugin that I use for web stats is Jeff Minard’s WordPress port of Shortstat, which is a script that Shaun Inman originally wrote.

Shortstat Plugin Conflict

It appears that Jeff recently updated the Shortstat plugin to version 1.3 and that there was a conflict with another great plugin, Google Sitemap Generator. After some research on WebKeyDesign, I found that the 2.7 version of Google Sitemap Generator conflicts with the 1.3 version of the Shortstat plugin. But the 2.7.1 version works fine. If you have not updated Sitemap to 2.7.1, first do that then download the new 1.3 version of Shortstat and set that up. This should make both plugins work.

Shortstat Slows Down WordPress Dashboard

As if the Dashboard was not slow enough some days, Shortstat adds even more delay due to the IP address lookup that it does. You can disable this feature if you do not particularly care about what country your visitors are from. Most webmasters want to know what state or region in the USA, instead of the country, so for many webmasters this feature is not specific enough. To disable the feature just go to line 119 and look for the following code:

$coinfo = @file('http://www.hostip.info/api/get.html?ip=' . $ip);
$country_string = explode(':',$coinfo[0]);
$country = trim($country_string[1]);

Change the code to this:

// $coinfo = @file('http://www.hostip.info/api/get.html?ip=' . $ip);
// $country_string = explode(':',$coinfo[0]);
// $country = trim($country_string[1]);
$country = '(Private Address) (XX)';

The Dashboard will still be slow due to feeds but Shortstat will not add to the delay.

Shortstat Database Data

If you take a quick look at the stats that you get, you can tell that they can start to add up and that while these stats are adequate for a quick daily glance, they are not really something to keep for a year or even more than a few months, so what you eventually need to do is zap the stats from time to time.

Shortstat adds two tables to the WordPress database: ss_stats and ss_search. I personally zap ss_stats more often than ss_search, since ss_search has the data for sites that refer to me and what searches people have used on my weblog. You can however zap both tables. If you have your log hosted on cPanel or have access to just phpMyAdmin you can easily do this. You will need to select only the two tables, and none of the other tables or you could end up deleting your blog data!!! Make sure you backup first. You can reference my Optimize Your MySQL Databases instructions, which should help you understand the process a bit better. The only difference is that instead of optimizing the table, you will be choosing to empty the selected table.

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