How to set up free open source analytics in under 5 minutes

If it can't be measured, it can't be improved. Install analytics within 5 minutes and start tracking your activity so you can see what's working (and what's not).

How to set up free open source analytics in under 5 minutes

I entirely subscribe to the thinking that if it can't be measured, it can't be improved. I think a lot of us understand this but in practice, we don't put things in place to accurately measure how things are working (or not working).

Why analytics are important

Installing analytics can be done for free, within 5 minutes - and you should set it up as soon as you have a live website, so you're generating data from day one. This way, you can check in on any new tactics you're putting in place over the short and longer term to see how they're performing.

I'm always astounded at the number of business owners I speak to who don't have even basic analytics installed on their website. It's no wonder then that we all claim to hate marketing, how can we enjoy something we have no way of understanding or measuring? It feels like a big black hole that we're throwing some tactics into.

Personally, I use (and recommend my clients to use) a great tool called Posthog. I have a few key reasons I've chosen this platform.

  • As it's Open Source, it can be self-hosted which is good for data privacy / GDPR if you function in Europe.
  • It has a lot of really powerful features often not found in free options, such as heatmaps, funnels and session recording.
  • And finally, while I am in this very early stage of my own business, it has a really generous free plan that allows you to track up to 10,000 events per month.

A step by step installation

Installing it on your site couldn't be simpler:

1. Sign up with posthog

2. Copy the custom code snippet

3. Paste this into the header of your site's front page (this can be done even if your site isn't custom coded, the example here is using Webflow) Note: if you have a Wordpress site, they make getting to the header code a bit arduous - here is a useful link that will help!

4. Start tracking!

Now, when people reach out to work with me I will ask them to install Posthog if they don't have any comprehensive analytics package already, before I offer any advice or tactical assistance. This is because I believe that without tangible results, my advice (or anyone else's) would just be hot air. It should be important to all of us that when we try new strategies for our business, we can see the results, regardless of whether they're completely positive or constructive learnings.

Of course, there are other great tools out there such as:
- Hotjar (best known for its heatmapping tool)
- Google Analytics (the free catch-all)
- Matomo (another good Open Source platform)
- Cenario (for e-commerce platforms)
- Heap (specifically designed to work without a lot of configuration and coding)

The key is to get something installed right now, so you can start tracking.
Are you measuring your landing page insights? What are your key metrics?

If improving your homepage is something you're interested in, I might be able to help! Visit the Earthfound website to learn more.