A Hint of Minty Freshness

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Written by Brian Ling (Design Sojourn)
Nov 03, 2006


8 Comments


Recently I was in a discussion with a good friend of mine who is a database management expert. We concluded that site tracking and SEO or Search Engine Optimization is an important tool for any successful website

Inspired, I look at all my little site tracking widgets that I use; Stat Counter, Mybloglog, Site Counter, Extreme Tracker and decided I wanted more from my site tracking and decided to actually put some money down for this additional marketing function. As usual I only opt for yearly deals as well as what I get vs. function. However all the site tracking services I looked at seem to do almost everything, most of which a web newbie like myself don’t need nor understand.

Thats when a hint of minty freshness in a form of a leaf probed the back of my mind.

A few months ago I stumbled over this new site tracking software called mint. However unlike Stat Counter or Extreme Tracker the use of the product was not free, so I ignored exploring further about what Mint could do. However now being in the mood to pay, this product’s simple name and branding came up tops in my mind’s eye of advertising and product recall.

Overview
Designed by a rare breed of web designer and developer, Shaun Inman, Mint is a site tracking program you install on your server rather than someone else’s like Stat counter.

Mint provides a fresh look at your site. It is concise, flexible and timely. And to sweeten the deal, this delicious little bundle of PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript joy is referrer-spam-proof.

Having it on your server, I realize is a good thing as you can now decided on how detailed or fanatical you want to be in keeping track of your stats. This is because logically the more fanatical you are, the more database space it will take up on your server. Or if you are like me, just cruising along, it’s barely noticeable.

Being the designer type that I am, the beauty of the layout in which the stats were presented grabbed me immediately. Hats off to him as, in the 1 hour product review I did on him and Mint, he is apparently so good people swear, not by but AT him, in a good sort of way.

Here is another example of Shaun’s cleverness. Mint’s add-on top software for additional functionally is called Pepper. Get it? Pepper + Mint? Smart fellow this Shaun.

Now convinced that he, with his program, would tell a newbie like me what I needed in a web tracking program, I proceed to spend the next hour testing my server’s compatibility and installed the software.

Installation
Installation is a little complicated and requires you to have some understanding of MySQL database management. However the instructions provided are quite good and the Mint forum had good information on how to install on WordPress.

Here are a few tips from me when installing this program:

1) If you are the type that doesn’t like to read instructions, this is the time to kick the habit, unless you want to royally screw up your server. I read and re-read the instructions 3 times, and even then I took it step by step.

2) If you are wondering which database to use or weather create a new one? You would need to install the program onto the database that belongs to the site you want to track. For example for me I installed it into my WordPress Database.

3) A smart fellow called Dave created a Mint WordPress Plugin, that links the product with the front end of WordPress and gets it up and running on your blog with out doing any programming and mucking around with the java script.

Using Mint
Simply, it does what it says on the box. With its clean and well designed layout I got all the important information I was looking for. I won’t go too much into detail of the product as the Mint site already does a good job, but the feature I found the most exciting was tracking my most popular pages and posts.


mintypages

This feature tracks the most popular pages and combines all the hits coming from the same source together. This is just simple readability and logic that the other trackers dont get as most display it as individual single hits.

Conclusion
One of the big motivators for me to make a purchase is price. All the other sites I had described have a recurring monthly or yearly payment scheme.

Mint on the other hand is like buying a software program for your computer. You just pay for a one-off license fee for tracking for a single website domain. If you have multiple domains that need tracking you just need to buy more licenses per domain. At this time all Mint software updates are even free.

Of cause Mint only applies to people hosting their own blogs or websites on their servers, but coming in at USD$ 30 (payment by Paypal) it’s a lot cheaper that many of those yearly recurring payment sites, and being a one off payment scheme is definitely a prudent business decision.

Edit: All the Pepper Plugins for Mint can be found here!






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Comments

Zampik
Nov 03, 06 – 8:47 pm

looks very good and simple piece of soft…. I like design of this guy a lot.. I have met him on the net couple times….just because he did logos for firefox and thunderbird…and so….

Have you try or do you know: http://www.google.com/analytics/ pretty good piece of soft as well for free from google…pretty detailed connected with addwords…. nice detailed tacking.

Design Translator
Nov 03, 06 – 9:56 pm

Hi Zampik,

Wow, thanks for the heads up, I will check it out and its free. Now that is good.

Si
Nov 07, 06 – 6:20 pm

Nice review! I’ve been using Mint on one of my websites for several months now and am quite pleased. The plugin community is a nice bonus too. I think the only thing that’s missing is a way to export your stats and save them in a CSV file for archiving.

Design Translator
Nov 07, 06 – 6:27 pm

Thanks Si! Now that is a good idea! I will also look at the plugin community.

I’m using a basic install, is there any plugins you would recommend?

AEN TAN
Nov 10, 06 – 6:52 pm

I’m using Google Analytics for stats. Is Mint free?

Design Translator
Nov 10, 06 – 10:14 pm

Hi Aen,

No its USD$30 for a site license. But its for life! Its server install so you get to use your own space and band width. All in all a lot cheaper than the other pay sites. I reccomend it!

Shaun Inman
Nov 10, 06 – 11:01 pm

Just to clear up a little confusion. Jon Hicks created the Firefox logo. I created Mint. I certainly wouldn’t want to steal Jon’s thunder and I doubt he would want to deal with the support requests! ;)

Thanks for the review DT!

Design Translator
Nov 10, 06 – 11:05 pm

Oops Sorry! Thats a boo-boo, I must have miss read someone’s review.

Thanks for clearing this up and for stopping Shaun!


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