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).
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.