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iOS & Mac reviews

Mac app review: Analytics for Clicky

mac clicky app

I love tracking visitor stats on my websites and right now I have a bit of a thing for Clicky‘s really user-friendly interface. Google Analytics is running as well of course – it’s free and has incredible visitor tracking power but it’s also got a steep learning curve. Clicky’s interface isn’t so fussy and puts all the important stuff up front with plenty of levels to drill down into Goals, Conversions, Outlinks and so on. There’s monthly tariffs and a free option if you only have one site to track.

Because GA can be so daunting there’s plenty of third party apps trying to do a better job of presenting the key data – on my iPhone I turn to Quicklytics and on my Macs I use the GAget dashboard widget by Zoltan Hosszu, which graphs visits, new visitors and bounce rate in a lovely panel just a keystroke away.

I find these sorts of apps really useful to get a quick fix of stats so once I got Clicky all set up properly I started looked around for something similar, a little widget or menubar app to save me going to the Clicky website all the time (lovely as it is!).

mac-app-store-downloadRight now the only Mac app filling the niche for Clicky users is a handsome-looking little menubar widget called Analytics for Clicky ($3.99), and so I gave it a go.

How it works

Analytics for Clicky lives in your menu bar as a little pie-chart icon and digit representing current visitors on your site. Clicking it brings up a clean display of all the headline stats from Clicky’s site, organised via tabs: Dashboard is essentially ‘The Basics’, listing today’s visits, uniques, average actions and duration, and bounce rate; and the Content, Search and Links tabs list today’s top ten pages, in-bound search terms and referring domains.

mac clicky stats app
The tabs keep the array of Clicky stats organised neatly

Oh, and there’s Settings but that’s really just for your login and setting up the visitor alert, which will buzz you if the number of simultaneous visitors on your site passes a certain threshold.

Pros and cons

Like GAget, Analytics for Clicky is focussed on quickly scratching that stat-check itch and it serves that purpose admirably; it’s always just a click away, updates every few minutes, and looks great with a clean, organised interface. The range of stats packed into the tabs gives you a great overview of the day your site has had so far, and the fact it’s all live combined with the ease of access in the menubar makes using the app quite addictive, particularly at first.

Given all that, and also that it’s the only Clicky app for Macs out there right now, it feels a little churlish having niggles but there’s just a few things I’d like that I think would make it an essential purchase. In no particular order:

  • it doesn’t list your Goals stat – you need to click through to Clicky’s website if you want to see it (using the handy button top right). This can be a key stat for webmasters so I’d love to see it added to the Dashboard panel in an update
  • no graphs – graphs are a stat-junky’s friend and make it much easier to convey loads of data at a glance. The GAget widget is so awesome precisely because of its graphs so I wonder if Clicky’s Dashboard graph could be squeezed into Analytics either as a tab or by redesigning the top space, with the option to set the time-scale tucked into Settings?
  • you can only track one site – I’ve got three sites I want to track so I just have to pick one and hit ‘Open Clicky’ if I want to see the others. GAget lets you place multiple widgets and set each up with a different GA profile; Analytics for Clicky has to fit everything into one ‘widget’ so it could really do with a site-switching option somewhere. The app title at top left feels redundant so perhaps it could be replaced with a clickable/switchable site-name?
  • the stat order doesn’t match – the key stats are listed in one order on Clicky’s ‘The Basics’ and a different order in the Analytics Dashboard. This might seem really picky but humans like patterns so if you get used to one source, even a momentary search for the same stats on the other source will niggle at you. Well it niggles at me, anyway.

In conclusion

Analytics for Clicky is a neatly organised, good-looking, lightweight quick-fix solution for Clicky users on Macs, and the only one on the market at that.

Right now it doesn’t quite scratch my personal statistical itch as satisfyingly as I’d like – although full satisfaction via the full Clicky site is always just one more click away, regular use of that reduces a rather lovely little utility to a glorified browser shortcut. With the addition of goal-tracking, multiple sites and – maybe? – a visitor graph, it would easily be the most essential Clicky utility available for Macs.

mac-app-store-downloadYou never know what delights future updates might bring but as it is it’s still a great tool with more than enough at-a-glance stats here for most people, and for the price I can happily recommend you give it a try.

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iOS & Mac how-tos

Migrating from Google Reader

July has arrived, almost, and that means Google Reader has just days left. If you haven’t taken steps to migrate your RSS data out of Google Reader, now’s the time.

The best solution is to download a backup of your subscriptions from Google Reader to import to whichever Reader alternative you go for. You can also simply sign in to Feedly with Google Authentication and they’ll automatically import the same info to their new cloud system.

I recommend you do both:

Download your feeds from Google Reader

Log in to Google Takeout and select Choose Services, then select Reader in the list. Click Create Archive, wait until it’s compiled, and download the file.

You can import this file into one of the new RSS sync services that’s springing up to take Reader’s place; more on those in a second.

Auto-import to Feedly

This is a quick backup plan but also serves as the easiest way to get started come June 1st. Head over to feedly.com, or on a mobile device grab their app (iOS or Android), and log in with Google Authentication.

Until July 1st this will give Feedly access to your Reader feeds as per usual, but it will also automatically sync those feeds over to Feedly’s own cloud service in the background. When Reader shuts down, you can continue to log in to Feedly with Google Auth but all your feeds will now be served by Feedly.

Feedly google reader sync

End result, you now have a copy of your feeds you can take anywhere, and a Feedly sync option already set up to use in any of the apps that currently support it.

Which RSS service and apps to use?

Three of the big syncing services are Feedly (free), Feed Wrangler or Feedbin (both paid) but the decider will likely be how you want to read your feeds because not all apps support every sync option.

Lex Friedman at Macworld has got you covered with a look at all of the RSS services and some of the best apps. One very good point he makes is that Feedly being free should be a red flag:

To me, that’s a knock against it. If Google—Google!—couldn’t figure out a way to monetize this kind of service, I’m not sure anyone can.

I’m waiting to see which of the paid options offers the best experience before I put down money, although to be honest neither are remotely ‘expensive’ for the peace of mind a paid service offers, but for now I’m running with Feedly for feed syncing.

I’ll be able to keep using Reeder on the iPhone but I’ll have to switch to something else on my iPad and my Macs as neither of those versions of Reeder supports Feedly yet. I’ve decided to try out the much-recommended Mr Reader on my iPad, and… Well, nothing on my Macs. I’ve found that since getting iOS devices that I use my Macs much more for work than for play so not even having the temptation for procrastination via feed-refreshing might be a good thing.

If you’re dependant on a Mac reading option the newly released Readkit ($4.99) supports Feed Wrangler and Feedbin, and Feedly works in your browser of choice, but there’s precious little else supporting it right now on Macs.

Not long now… Goodbye, Google Reader!