If you’re running a business online, chances are you’re using a lot of different vendors to handle your email marketing, payments, web hosting, etc. When you’re using so many vendors, checking up on the health of your business can become a huge burden on your time because you have to log in to a lot of different sites to get the reports you need.
Luckily, there are companies that provide great online dashboards that bring together the data from many of the most commonly used vendors. Here is my review of two of these services: Cyfe and Leftronic.
Probably the biggest deciding factor when choosing a dashboard is whether it offers an integration with the services you need to monitor. The number of integrations are increasing all the time, but to give you an example of what’s possible, here are some of the things I monitor using Cyfe’s dashboards:
• Google Analytics to see how many visitors my site has and how many conversions I got
• SEOMoz to see how my site’s SEO is doing
• Twitter to see how many followers I have and who’s engaging with my tweets
• YouTube to see how many people are watching the videos I’ve posted
• Bit.ly to see how actively people are sharing links I’ve posted on social media
• AdWords to see how much I’m spending on search ads
• Google Webmaster Tools to get notifications about issues with my site
Here are some highlights of these services.
• Cyfe’s paid plan lets you create unlimited dashboards and use unlimited modules to monitor different services — a big plus if you like lots of data or are building dashboards for others.
• You’re not limited to just the data sources they offer, and you can use their API to pull in your own data from a URL, an RSS feed or a Google Spreadsheet.
• Any dashboard you make can be shared publicly or privately through a URL that can be emailed or embedded in a website.
• Leftronic is a bit more expensive than Cyfe, but it’s worth it if you want historical data for your dashboard. Unlike Cyfe, which does not save historical data, Leftronic stores it all. So even if you use a data provider that doesn’t provide records from the past, Leftronic can help you build up your history by putting a copy of the data in its servers. This is a big plus if you want to see trends and charts for everything.
• This is the best solution for setting up a dashboard on a big screen at your office, because the layouts are optimized for this type of setup, and they can even rotate automatically between several dashboards so you won’t need to cram everything on a single page where it could become cluttered and hard to read.
• Using Leftronic’s API lets you make historical trend charts of your own data sources. It’s a little more coding, but the results are worth it. And if you can’t code, a service like Zapier.com may be able to provide you a way to get your data into Leftronic anyway.
Frederick (“Fred”) Vallaeys joined Google in 2002 to help AdWords grow into a leading online marketing platform, and he served as the AdWords Evangelist until 2012. Now he runs his own marketing business, Top Tier, to make online marketing more accessible to small businesses through education, tools and services. He speaks at numerous events, including the annual America’s SBDC conference, helping companies get their businesses online and grow through online marketing and technology. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.