If you run a website of any kind, you know how important it is to get a quick, at-a-glance overview of the goings-on related to visits, referrers, searches, and the like. Being able to easily keep track of this kind of information allows you to make sound decisions about how you should develop, tweak, and promote your site.
However, most of the stat-tracking tools out there aren’t ideal, at least for me. Most of them are enormous, monolithic programs that keep every minor detail of every hit since the beginning of time and package them in a horrific user interface, making the actual browsing an analysis of these stats nearly impossible. The are a handful of tools I’ve seen that work well and have a nice UI, but they tend to be very expensive (see Urchin, now a product of Google’s). But, for the past couple of months I’ve been involved in beta testing a stat-tracking application that turns out to be exactly what I need. It’s called Mint, and it’s yet another production of The Wolf himself, Shaun Inman. The best news is that
you’ll be able to get your grubby little mitts on it early next week it’s finally available for your purchase and download.
Mint differs from these other gargantuan applications in that it aims to provide a quick look at your site’s “current conditions,” rather than logging its entire history of minutiae. It allows you to very quickly assess your site’s hits, your visitor’s technical demographics, your referrers, and search terms — both local and from Google and its ilk. And it does all of this in one of the most beautiful application interfaces you ever have seen.
I’d like to take a moment to feature one of the most useful tools in Mint: User Agent 007. Mint is built using an plug-in architecture, allowing both Shaun and other developers to quickly add functionality to the core Mint application. In typical Inman fashion, these plug-ins are called Pepper. User Agent 007 is one of the default Peppers that come with Mint, and it empowers you with a host of information about your visitor’s browsing environment. Among them are: browser name and version, platform, screen resolution, and Flash version.
You can quickly toggle between the four panes (without reloading the page, of course) using the links in the upper-right, and you can also expand some statistics for further details:
I don’t need to tell you guys how valuable this information is. You already know. The ability to view it quickly and in a interface that you can make sense out of at-a-glance is truly a Godsend.
And, as wonderful as it is, User Agent 007 is only one of many great features in Mint 1.0 — I assure you there are many more, as well. Keep your eyes peeled for its imminent release. If you run a website, you really owe it to yourself to have a Mint.
In the meantime, you might want to check out these other stories from Mint beta testers:
- Mint: The Flavor of the Month, by Mike Davidson
- Mint: Fresh ‘N Yummy, by Keegan Jones
- Mint: It’s good for you, by Matt Thomas
- Pimp My Mint, by Jon Hicks
- Pepper Makes Mint Better, by Jason Santa Maria
- Dr. Inman’s Mint, by Kevin Cornell
- Mint: A Stats Odysses, by Rob Weychert
Update: Mint is now available from the Mint website. Go get it!