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As someone who manages a few different web sites and Twitter accounts, I do find that it’s easy to waste a decent chunk of time checking all their various statistics. I often browse to the different websites from my iPhone, logging into each account sequentially to view the latest number of visitors or news feed subscribers.
Enter Ego, a new statistics tracking application for the iPhone. It provides one central location to check web statistics that matter to you, supporting Feedburner, Mint, and Twitter. Authentication is handled automatically once you’ve set the accounts up, and a decent range of statistics are offered through a minimal and simple user interface.
Adding and Managing Accounts
The whole point of Ego is to eliminate needlessly logging in and out of several different web sites and accounts. Therefore, there’s inevitably going to be a reasonable amount of setting up required to add all these accounts in the first place. Clicking the settings icon after opening the application allows you to add and edit accounts.
Ego supports as many widgets of each type as you want, color coding them to make it easy to see which widgets represent which service you’re tracking. Three services are currently supported, and I’ll go into further detail about each shortly. After adding an account you’re able to drag to re-order it in the dashboard screen, ensuring the important stats are displayed and loaded first.
Mint is a simple statistics tracking tool for websites which you can install on your own server. Unlike Google Analytics, it’s a commercial stats package which costs $30 per site. If you’re already running Mint, you need to install the ‘Ego Helper Pepper‘ to allow the iPhone application to connect to the stats system. Unfortunately, you’re also out of luck if you’re running an older version of Mint — version 2.0 or higher is required.
By default, the Mint widget displays the number of page views and unique visitors your site has received today. Tapping on a widget will cause it to cycle through the number of visits so far this hour, this week, this month, and a total count of all visitors received to date.
This system of displaying information saves valuable space on your iPhone screen, and doesn’t require drilling down into, and back up from, additional views.
The second service supported is Twitter, which requires your Twitter ID and password to set up.
The default widget displays (arguably) the most important statistic — the total number of followers you have. Tapping it will alter the view to show the number of people you’re following, and the number of updates which you’ve sent to the service. Also shown is the most recent tweet that has been posted to your account.
The final service that can be tracked is FeedBurner, a tool for managing and reporting RSS feed information. Setting up FeedBurner requires you to enable the ‘Awareness API’ found in your account settings — without this, Ego won’t be able to retrieve any data.
This is the simplest widget, displaying only the current number of subscribers to your feed and (when tapped) the number of subscribers you’ve gained or lost since yesterday.
Many would agree that support for Google Analytics — fast becoming the most popular statistic tracking tool — is a big requirement. Fortunately, the developers note that:
We built Ego with a very flexible framework for adding support for other services. Coming in version 1.1: Google Analytics support!
I’m sure that this won’t satisfy everyone, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the developers choose to cater for every request they receive, or keep the application focused on a narrow selection of services. They’re taking requests, so if there is a particular stat you’d like to be able to track, you can email the developers via the Ego site.
For me, this simple app will save a huge amount of time and annoyance. Having all my statistics in once place means I’m likely to check them more often, but it’ll be far quicker to do so. Support for additional services is necessary, and I’m sure future upgrades will add greater flexibility.
I’m particularly fond of the user interface, and the way that tapping to change the information displayed makes the app even easier to use. Not being required to drill down to see further information saves time, but consequently limits the actual data which can be displayed.
It would be useful to see trend information (as displayed in FeedBurner) for the other widgets. I’m aware that data depends upon what is available from the service API, but I expect this would be feasible with Mint. Trend data is always useful — more so than a single figure.
If you manage a web site and are a statistic junkie, spending $1.99 on this app will be a fantastic investment.