Once a site sows success, makes some sales and gets traffic it suddenly becomes important to know more about, well, everything.
Like many, this all seems to be obvious until sales and traffic reach a point of success where details start to count. This is even more important when spending money on advertising.
But free stats have one of two pitfalls.
1. They are quite basic if they are server side (private)
2. The Provider retains, uses and sells your data if through Google (often right to your competitor)
It sounds absurd of course; big data selling your stats. But if you have ever bought ads via Google, you'll recall the system suggesting key words; those are based on what worked for others in your business. Conversely.. your success stories are given to those advertising alongside you.
What happens is both you and your competition pay more in bids while Google keeps pushing you to use the same Data that it got from both of you in trade for "free" analytics.
Free is never free, and Google Analytics is just another indication of how the idea of not paying ultimately costs more than having a system customized for you that keeps your data.. in your pocket.
So what are the alternatives?
Free Stats in your cPanel
In your cPanel you'll find Webalizer. Nope it's not glossy. And true, it sticks to the basics. That's what makes it perfect for start up though. Until you have traffic and sales, the basics are plenty to keep you in the loop about who's coming and going, and how they got there.
Detailed Extensive Stats in your Client Centre
In your Client Centre Domain List you can click any hosted domain. There you'll see a stats tab. If signed up, you'll have a direct login right there.. to a world of Highly Exttensive Analytics without the data rentenion and sales of it that you'll pay so much more in the long run for at Google.