There are a plethora of WordPress Plugins and addons for tracking statistics. This is great because you then get your pick of the litter, but the problem is if you install three different tracking plugins you will get three different results. So what should you do with these choices and discrepancies in results?
Not to worry, I have a few answers to calm your worries. I do not have a definitive answer as to what is THE best stats plugin, but that's mostly because ‘best' is very relative in this situation. Though, lets start with probably the best known system: Google Analytics.
Google Analytics has more or less anything you'd need. It has stats by hour, day, month and year. Keyword tracking, ‘segments' (for tracking different time periods and improvements in those times), and a heck of a lot more.
There are several plugin that will tie Google Analytics into wordpress. The best known ones are:
So which should you choose? They all do the same basic thing: add google's code to your blog automatically so you don't have to. In each of them you will have to configure the plugins. At a bare minimum you will have to add your Analytics Account ID. This looks something like:
The 7 x's are your account number, and the Y is the number of the website attached to your account. So your first website will be -1, your second one added will be -2 and so on. You can find it these numbers at: https://www.google.com/analytics/settings/home
If you're website isn't added, all you have to do is create a website “Profile” as Google calls it. There is a button on that home page on the bottom left. It'll look something like the image on the right.
So which out of the plugins should you pick?
For the easiest choice, pick (what I did) and use: Google Analytics For WordPress. It's ‘basic' configuration is very simple. In the image below, you can see both the simple settings, the top potion, and the more advanced settings on the bottom. It's extremely customizable with click tracking. So I find that very useful. It's the one I recommend everyone to use.
Here are two great plugins which can help you get a better picture of your site's visitors. I recommend installing both:
- WordPress.com Stats
This is one of the simplest looking plugins you'll ever get. It connects to your WordPress.com account. This, like the Google Analytics, is all off-site. If you don't want to deal with Google, this plugin will give you the best overall picture day to day. It's not as accurate as I'd like it to be. For whatever reason it misses somethings here and there. But it's pretty good overall and I check it regularly for referrals, keywords and clicks.
This plugin is … something different. It gives you such accurate results it's scary. But, there is a huge problem with this plugin. It's onsite, which I love, but it's so un-Godly slow. The website works the same, but loading the statistics view is SO slow I can make myself a cup of tea and it'll still be loading sometimes. Then again that can be attributed to my slow server …..
It tracks significantly more than WordPress.com Stats does and not as much as Google's. But it's more accurate than either.
It's the best for getting a quick overview of the recent visitors and it's fun to ‘spy' on current visitors. The screenshot above is of the landing page. There are other views including an ‘overview' screen, spy screeen, details …. it really has a lot and it's fun to check out exactly what users are looking at my site! I highly recommend this one.
Those are the 3 plugins I primarily use. I use all three to get the best picture and just one isn't good enough. Each has it's pluses and minuses.
Recently I started using two new services/plugins: So I haven't really tested either yet, but both seem promising:
- WassUP with VStats (these are two plugins. Wassup is the plugin and service. Vstats is an addon plugin)
WassUP with Vstats gives hourly information and is super fast. Plus it's rather pretty. Though the interface isn't as nicely and orderly laid out like StatPress. Wassup With Vstats gives you a great report of the latest visitors, which is nice. But I by default usually want to know more information than just about the last 10 people!
But like I said, I haven't had time to play with it much yet. I'll let you all know when I do. So far this plugin sounds promising.
As for Quantcast, I signed up for it today so it won't really show me much for a few days. They say 4-5 days before anything ‘useful' shows up. Hm .. ok. But it is #2 in XMarks for “web analytics”. So it should be good. Only time will tell. Also, they have many ‘versions'.
One for Marketers, one for site owners/publishers, and a few others. So far I only signed up for the site owner version. We'll see how that turns out and then I'll try the For Marketers version.
If you liked this article then let me know! Subscribe to my newsletter to find out even more information and details!