Two paragraphs in and I realized how much I have to say about analytics! This will likely be the first in a series covering everything from my love/hate relationship with Google Analytics to what data you really need to be collecting. Subscribe to my RSS Feed for updates!
I avoided adding analytics to my own sites for years, mainly out of concerns for visitors’ privacy. I’ve also never enjoyed working with Google Analytics on client projects - the dashboard is much too complicated for my taste and frankly I’ve never seen a company actually gain meaningful value from such detailed (and complicated) analytics data.
I’ve been using Fathom Analytics on my own sites for a couple years now and really grew to appreciate the no nonsense approach to what data is collected and how it’s presented to me. Sure there aren’t as many features as Google Analytics, but that’s because Fathom actually cares about user privacy (and isn’t also in the search or ads business).
It’s not surprise I prefer to use Astro these days. Go ahead and pull up the developer console on our site…
Fun Fathom Facts
GDPR-compliance is no joke, and getting that right in the analytics business takes some serious attention. Fathom Analytics supports true data isolation, meaning all of your EU traffic is processed and stored in Europe.
Ad blockers and similar browser plugins often block known analytics scripts in the name of user privacy, and rightfully so! I happily follow privacytools.io recommendations every time I’m setting up a new machine or install a new browser. The goal is to protect privacy though, and Fathom has that built right in!
Fathom supports custom domains, making it easy to serve the analytics script from your own subdomain. This gets around the broad net used by most ad blockers. Normally I don’t like those kinds of games, but I’ve spent years focusing on my own online privacy setup and feel comfortable that using Fathom analytics really doesn’t violate the privacy that many of the ad blockers are intending to protect.
uBlock Origin is the main holdout here. It’s a long story, but basically they’ve decided to chase Fathom Analytics and now block any
script.js loaded from any subdomain. This is mind-boggling to me - it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me for a site to be configured to bundle its own
script.js that is hosted on a custom CDN from a subdomain…