I’ve had Google Analytics running on SteveGrunwell.com to some degree since its earliest iterations over ten years ago. Over time, I’ve been lowering the amount of data collected because, to be honest, I wasn’t doing anything with it.
There’s an old adage in programming: Ya Ain’t Gonna Need It (YAGNI). You can spend all the time in the world building out beautiful sales funnels and collecting every last bit of data, but it doesn’t do any good if it’s just sitting there unused.
Most of all, I don’t like the idea of collecting a bunch of data about my visitors (that’s you!) that I’m not doing anything with, especially when it’s warehoused in a Google data center somewhere. I love knowing what posts are popular, where traffic is coming from, and where my audience is located, but I don’t need super-detailed profiles about everyone who comes across my site.
Sometimes it’s important to remind myself that I’m not selling anything on this site. There’s no advertising revenue, minimal affiliate links, and zero marketing outside of backlinks on my social media profiles and slide decks. The only “product” I’m pushing is occasionally-useful bits of information or my upcoming speaking engagements, and even those are scarce these days.
With all that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ve removed Google Analytics tracking from SteveGrunwell.com effective immediately.
A privacy-focused analytics alternative
Since it is nice to know where traffic is coming from, I’ve set up a self-hosted install of Matomo (formerly Piwik), running on a server that I control. I’ve configured Matomo to favor user privacy over availability of data, and as data starts rolling in I plan to start turning off functionality that doesn’t serve me. My ultimate goal is less and less data collected over time, and none of it going to Google.
I’m curious to hear what experiences others have had with Matomo: please feel free to leave them in the comments!