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Why switching to Matomo for website analytics is a good thing

For years I have wondered why the world so blindly got hooked up with Google services and why almost nobody seems to question if that’s a good thing. Nobody I know has any doubts. Reviews everywhere on the internet tell people Google is the best, or at least it’s very good. And if you search for “best way to sync your android phone” or “alternative for iCloud calendars” or something similar, everyone seems to blindly recommend the Google sync stuff – Which also quietly has you use their services afterwards.

Why? It makes no sense… Oh wait, it does. The Google services as a whole work quite well and they work on pretty much every platform and system. Sure, but so do many others. So why choose, and trust, Google?

Like so many others, I recently started to resent companies like Google and Facebook who seemingly just do whatever they want. Dancing around laws and regulations like they don’t exist or matter and the endless lying to their users. I wrote a bit about that in a previous blog post.

Need stats? Get Google Analytics. Need calendars? Get Google Calendar (or whatever they call it). Need email? Get Gmail. And the list goes on. The internet is larger than Google you know… There are alternatives!

Meet Matomo

Recently I switched my statistics away from Google Analytics. I now use Matomo and I’m a happier guy because of it.
I’ve used both for a week or two to see if Matomo can match Google. This quickly changed from “We’ll see if this works” to “Damn, Google makes even less sense now”.

I now can see stats that I understand.
I now can quickly see what’s going on on my websites.
I now can track links and actually see what’s going on without needing a PhD.
I now can track goals in a way that makes sense to me.
And I get to keep my data! Nobody is looking over my shoulder.

This is of-course because I host my own server with Matomo installed on it. If you get Matomo their cloud service your data is still yours, but it’s stored in the Matomo cloud. So, might as well use Google Analytics then, right? Wrong.

Unlike Google, Matomo is unlikely to spy on you, simply because they have nothing to gain from it. Their mission is to provide accurate stats. Google their mission is to sell adverts. And to know which advert they can show you they need to spy on you so they know what you may want and show you adverts for it.

To me that’s an important difference.

Why I choose Matomo to replace Google Analytics

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t disapprove of the adverts. Hell, I make advertising software myself. But it’s how the advert is chosen that rubs me the wrong way.

So, Matomo it is then. But why Matomo and not something else?
Because Matomo is accessible to most people. You can host your own server for it, like I do, or use their cloud service for a fee. This means that pretty much everyone can use it.
Many of the others, I found, use less mainstream tech like Ruby on Rails or Redis or have strange requirements like NodeJS. Things that often aren’t available on many hosting platforms. Or aren’t as well known.

Matomo uses PHP, MySQL and a bunch of more mainstream technologies that work pretty much everywhere. That and the easier to use dashboard makes it very accessible.

It took me a few days to figure that out and make up my mind about it though. I looked at a bunch of the alternatives, considering where to host my data and such.
Finally I settled on hosting it myself on a VPS I got from Inmotion Hosting and installed Matomo on it, simple as that.

Matomo seems at least as accurate as Google Analytics, but the ease of use of Matomo is far greater, for me at least.
As I mentioned earlier, I now actually understand what’s going on on my site. The terminology is more clear. The dashboard is easier to use – It kinda just works…

Tracking your stats with Matomo

Tracking stats can of-course be done with their Tracking code, this works very similar to Google Analytics. Just stick a piece of code in your websites footer. Nothing all that special. But you need to edit your theme or website to insert that code.

Fortunately if you’re using WordPress you can do this with a plugin. I have developed Matomo Analytics for WordPress to make this super easy. The plugin adds a little dashboard and a few easy to use and understand settings. And you’ll be tracking stats within 5 minutes without editing your theme or adding any code. You can download Matomo Analytics for WordPress for free here – Get Matomo Analytics for WordPress.

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Overcoming dongles on modern laptops

dongles-on-laptops

With the dawn of USB Type-C and the removal of traditional USB-A ports. A lot of people are stuck trying to use dongles for everything. While many people perceive dongles for laptops such as the MacBook Pro or certain thin laptops from Asus, Hewlett Packard among some others as something stupid or annoying. Others give in to it thinking that’s how things are now.

I see people using dongles for everything while others simply gave up and don’t connect anything. When I got my new MacBook Pro I too had a brief struggle with the concept. But then it hit me…

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MacBook Pro 2018 after 3 months of daily use

In February 2019 I got the latest and greatest MacBook Pro 15inch for myself. This will be my only computer which I use to develop my plugins on; AdRotate Pro and Analytics Spam Blocker and stuff like that. I also like to play a game every now and then. I watch movies, listen to my music. You know, the main computer I have to depend on for at least 1 to 2 years.

Coming from a 2015 MacBook Pro 13inch. I really like the design of the MacBook Pros and this new one is no exception. But it’s not without it’s flaws.

Over the last few years Apple, in my opinion, has been moving steadily away from ‘innovative and cool’ to ‘money-grab and elitist’. For this reason I gave up on iPhones and iPads. Never cared for gimmicks as the Apple Watch or AppleTV. And will probably never own an iPhone again with this very reason at the top of my little list of gripes.

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How to deal with email changes the right way

This is a bit of a rant, but for good reason. And if you read and follow my quick advise further down this article the world will be a better place. At least in the world of email etiquette.

Over the last few months this has turned into a thing that happens multiple times a week, where I get a dumb and unintuitive auto-reply telling me the email address I tried to reach doesn’t exist anymore and I should re-send my email to some other address. Or whatever silly “solution” they came up with instead of doing something logical.

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AdRotate Pro got featured on CyberChimps

Today AdRotate Pro got featured on the website of CyberChimps. The popular theme maker for WordPress themes. They wrote a really nice review outlining some features and benefits of using AdRotate and/or AdRotate Pro!

I am always interested in techniques to help one make money out of a website and one of the time-tested ways is to sell ad space on your website. While this can seem like a low-effort, no-brainer task – it can depend largely on how automated your Ad Management process is.
And if you have a WordPress website, you would want to install the best ad management plugin out there – one that takes care of the entire advertising campaign cycle.

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The importance of using ‘nofollow’ in affiliate links

Using affiliate links on your website or blog can provide an interesting new revenue stream via a few well-placed links for products you endorse.

Search engines, such as Google, crawl and index your website constantly. But they also monitor if the site contains too many paid links. Most major search engines penalise you where it hurts the most. You show up less in search engine results!

how to promote affiliate products without getting punished?

In this post I’ll provide you with a simple solution to protect your site from getting a bad rating.

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Infrastructure upgrades and API changes

New infrastructure and servers

Over the last week I’ve been hard at work to finally resolve the issues with performance and up-time that plagued the AJdG Solutions website since mid December last year. MediaTemple kept denying any issues and couldn’t stop pointing fingers are everyone but themselves.

Very unprofessional for the stupendous amount of money I paid them monthly. But alas, their support was, as usual, completely inept. Too bad! So after a few days of frustratingly dealing with tickets and people pretty much ignoring me, I gave up and moved to a new hosting provider. So far that seems better and more stable.

I’m still ironing out some minor kinks, but so far so good.

Old AdRotate Geo API discontinued

Users of my AdRotate Pro plugin will know I offer various API for updates, AdRotate Geo and some other stuff.

Due to ongoing abuse of the older AdRotate Geo API, versions 1 and 2 will be obsolete effective immediately.

These API versions will soon be shut down and no longer return Geo Targeting information. If you’re still using AdRotate Versions 3.18.2 or older and you’re using AdRotate Geo, your geo targeting will no longer work in a few days.

Updating to the current version of AdRotate Pro will fix this and is the only solution. I’m not going to develop work-arounds or silly hacks. No need to ask… Just update the plugin!

A step-by-step update guide is available here.
If you need help with updating, or simply do not want to do it yourself you can use my AdRotate update service.

You are urgently advised to upgrade to AdRotate Pro 4 or newer. Version 4.11 has been released earlier today and is available for free for everyone who bought a license!

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AdRotate Pro Nulled

A “nulled” piece of software is a hacked and modified version of that software. It is made suitable for use without a license. Using it is illegal and there are some big risks using such software.

You are looking to safe a few bucks, at great cost

You are looking for ways to run your website the cheapest way possible. Often that results in cheap hosting and using free software and plugins. Some even go as far as using nulled or hacked versions of paid plugins.

As with lots of paid plugins, there is a nulled version of AdRotate for WordPress floating around. This, “fortunately”, is an older version of AdRotate Pro. Therefor it lacks newer features and has some bugs that have been fixed since.

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Caching to improve your lousy hosting

An interesting thing and general misconception about website caching is that caching is good. Well yes, it can be. But do you really need caching? I think most people do not…

This post is not about how useful Caching can be. It is about how people misuse caching and the illusion of making things better.

most people use caching to make up for sloppy shared hosting

That’s right. You have found the cheapest hosting provider you could get and now you discovered your site is slow. Like any sane person everything is to blame but the server. Because the provider says its “quality premium ultra hosting on fast and reliable servers” and they’re experts.

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