A Google Analytics Dashboard to Check Today’s Referrers for Multiple Websites

May 30, 2010

I spend a LOT of time on Google Analytics (GA), especially since increasing the number of blogs that I regularly write content for (Contentini, The Januarist, Amorphous Blog, Lame But Cool, this one…).

For me, the most valuable part of GA is keeping an almost real-time check on where traffic is coming from / who’s linking to my articles (‘monitoring buzz’ is, I guess, the modern phrase for such a thing), so that I can a) respond, and b) learn from what is successful for each audience.

My time on GA is therefore spent clicking between different profiles, and on each one manually selecting todays date, then manually drilling down to the referrers and keywords. On days that I publish a blog post or two, I can do this a few times an hour (I’m obsessive compulsive), so it takes a non-trivial chunk out of my day.

I’ve tried looking for tools to speed this up, but can’t find anything that works as quickly and as specifically as I’d like – even the impressive Trakkboard is a bit heavyweight, and doesn’t give options to just select ‘today’ as a date (I’ve tried).

So this morning I finally bit the bullet, and knocked-up a quick webpage that uses the Google Analytics API to list all of the blogs I’m interested in (all 5 of them), and displays the referring URLs and keywords for TODAY only. It also shows me a little timer, so that I know when I last refreshed. It also stores the list of URLs in a cookie for me, so that if a new one appears, it can highlight it in a lovely pink (so that I can see new traffic sources on each refresh).

Part of my hacked Google Analytics Todays Referrer dashboard

Excuse Alert: the low figures in the above screen grab are obviously because I took it early Sunday afternoon!

It’s not perfect, it’s messy and hard-coded, but it’s exactly what I need, and saves me time. It’s the definition of a hack.

Anyway, should you face a similar situation, here’s the PHP Script. Like I said, it’s messy and hard coded to my exact situation, so be prepared to tweak it. You’ll also need to download the excellent GAPI PHP class – it’s just a single file – and put it in the same directory.

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4 Responses to “ A Google Analytics Dashboard to Check Today’s Referrers for Multiple Websites ”

  1. Kieran Bowler on June 1, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Wow, that’s just perfect. Thanks for posting this Dan. Hope you’re having a great adventure!

  2. Ophir Prusak on July 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Major kudos and thanks for providing this example.

    I just started playing around with the GA API class and your complete example is very close to what I’m trying to do (get the same data from a group of profiles) so it saved me a ton of time 🙂

  3. Mark Schenkel on October 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm


    I find this very interesting. Mostly because I have built a service called InboundLinkAlerts which essentially solves the problem of detecting when sites are linking to your site using Google Analytics. The service can be found at http://www.embeddedanalytics.com It basically uses the same approach:
    1) First query all inbound links over the life of the Google account and store these on a database.
    2) Then once each day (or more frequently) query new links over the last day.
    3) If a new link is detected, InboundLinkAlerts verifies it can find the referring link on the site.
    4) If the link is verified we send an email containing the referring link.

    While your php code does essentially the same thing, the benefit here is that you don’t need to know php let alone any programming language.

  4. Alan on December 20, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Really useful example and very timely for me.

    Great job.

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