Running a website without access to statistics is like piloting an airplane without a GPS Navigation. You will be blind as a bat and might not reach your destination. Analytics is the key to being conscious of specifically what your spectators demands, which various types of content gets them hooked. There’s an actual treasure stack of data out there which you can take advantage of without investing in expensive advertisement and marketing campaigns. With this article, you’ve got a map in your hands.
Learning more about your visitors is crucial to run a successful online business or eCommerce website. You need an analytics solution that helps you gather data and provide insightful reports into users activity on your site.
Let’s take a look the best analytics solutions/plugins for WordPress users:
Jetpack by WordPress
It is not an exaggeration to say that JetPack does it all, managing subscriptions, automatically linking related posts, social media sharing, website monitoring services, mobile optimization, letting users comment with non-WordPress accounts, etc. If JetPack could pour a fresh hot cup of coffee, it would easily be the best personal assistant a WordPress user could ask for. Among its many tools lies an analytics feature, which focuses on serving the most important analytics data in an easy-to-understand fashion.
- Statistical analysis is a JetPack default feature, which means it doesn’t require any additional setup aside from installing the main plugin.
- Includes an option to display stats (viewer count, most popular post, and top searches) on your main dashboard so you’ll always have easy access to the data.
- Keeps track of detailed information such as numbers of views per country, posting trends, peak visitor hours, referrers, clicks, and which search engine terms have driven the most traffic to your website.
- Enables you to decide who has access to statistical reports.
- There’s a nice little feature which can be enabled in the stats configuration screen, which displays a miniature chart detailing visitor activity during the last two days.
- A friendly smiley face can be added to the bottom of your page to show whether the JetPack analytic tools are working (killer feature alert!).
Google Analytics by Yoast
Where the JetPack plugin aids simplicity over complicated charts, Google Analytics takes pride in being thorough and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to providing admissible information. Books have been written about Google Analytics, but that doesn’t mean it should be reserved for professionals. Simply put, it’s a tool with a high-skill-ceiling that can still work wonders in the hands of beginners. Google Analytics by Yoast does a fantastic job of integrating Google Analytics within WordPress and giving you easy access to the data you need in order to make your job easy as pie. The company behind this plugin Yoast also offers a premium version which includes custom reports, integrated AdSense tracking and full-time technical support. Finally, for those of you running e-commerce websites, their Google Analytics eCommerce Tracking plugin might be just what you need to give your store a leg up.
- The integration process is as simple as adding the Google Analytics tracking code to your site, logging into their platform and activating your install.
- Keeps your embedded tracking code up to date to make sure you’re taking advantage of the full array of Google Analytics features at all times.
- Track the origins of your traffic with detailed reports, as well as which individual pages within your website are performing the best, and see which sites are referring the most viewers to you.
- Enables you to track 404 errors and see what visitors are searching for within your site.
Simple Feed Stats
Now it’s time for something a bit different. Simple Feed Stats tracks and gives you reports on your feeds, on top of providing you with a plethora of customization options to personalize the data you obtain. The developer behind Simple Feed Stats, Jeff Starr, is also the author of four different WordPress-related books which you might find interesting.
- Enables you to track both feeds and custom content, as well as display the resulting statistics on your page through text or a badge widget.
- Your feed stats can be customized using CSS.
- The plugin features four different tracking methods: directly via feed request, embedded images within posts, embedded images within feeds, and open tracking through embedded images.
- Aside from tracking subscribers, the plugin collects data such as IP addresses, referrers, browsers, and time stamps.
WP Power Stats
This lightweight plugin is designed to give you all the statistical information you need in an easy to digest and customizable fashion.
- The developers have made an emphasis on privacy, which makes this plugin perfect for those who would rather avoid using third party services. All data collected by the plugin is kept within your own host and cannot be accessed without your permission.
- Keeps track of page views, type of devices, referrers, browsers, operating system, geographical data, and which search queries are used within your site.
- Enables you to choose whether to keep tracking enabled, in general, as well as choose if logged in users should be included in the statistics.
- Customizable time periods for statistics.
- One-page statistical report which features all the tracked information through icons, charts and maps to simplify analysis.
- Available in multiple languages.
W3 Counter Free Real-Time Web Stats
This quirky little plugin requires you to sign up for a free account at W3Counter.com in order to set it up, and in turn enables you to check in real time when new users reach your pages. In practice, this feature is so addictive that the plugin was named after it, even though said feature may not be very practical for analytical purposes. Thankfully, this plugin has a lot more going for it than a single quirk.
- Lists new arrivals at your website, which are identified through time stamps and country flags.
- W3Counter has its own Bootstrap-powered analytics dashboard, which looks fantastic and works in all kinds of devices. You can even switch between multiple themes to customize your experience.
- Keeps track of overall visitors, referrers, popular pages, and even tells you how many people are currently reading or commenting at any given time.
- Includes geographical data and a real-time world map which jumps between locations to signify new arrivals.
Choosing an Analytics Plugin
Choosing the right plugin is never easy, especially when so many of the most popular ones share similar features. You must take into account exactly what data would be most valuable to you, which kind of reports you’d prefer, and your feelings regarding third-party services. If you’re not concerned with the details and just want to get a solution up and running, JetPack or Google Analytics by Yoast provide a well-rounded service backed up by millions of users from all walks of the web. Privacy is a tricky issue which shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you want to assure your visitors that theirs will be treated with the utmost respect (i.e. not shared with third parties) you’ll want to go with WP Power Stats. If you like having someone you can turn to when you have technical difficulties, Google Analytics by Yoast provides a 24/7 support service alongside its premium plan. Ultimately, the choice of which plugin to use is up to you. We encourage you to take a good look at the list of features mentioned alongside each candidate and test out those that seem like good fits for your needs.
As a webmaster, your main concerns will always be how to attract more visitors or customers, and to keep them coming back for more time and time again. Analytics may not hold the answer to all of your problems, but they’ll give you the information you need to get started on solving them.
Keep the following in mind and you’ll be well in your way to success no time:
- Define your strategy and figure out exactly what kind of data you need.
- Pick the right plugin according to the criteria that suits your needs (feel free to test around; it’s important to pick something you’re comfortable with).
- Test things. Testing should become second nature to you as you try out new strategies to see what works best.
- Enjoy watching your viewer count grow!
What’s your favorite analytics plugin? Let us know in the comments section below!