I presume you know how important good web analytics are. Google Analytics is really the only web analytics choice for small and medium sized businesses for lots of reasons that will have to be the subject of another post (it’s great for big businesses too). Suffice to say it provides great insights about where your traffic comes from, and how you’re doing converting that to sales.
Adding it manually to your WordPress site, however, can be a major hassle. Unless you’re a tech pro, it’s too easy to make a silly mistake that screws everything up.
Plugins are your friends here — download and install them and they do all the heavy lifting as far as introducing themselves to all the site code and any subsequent modifications you may make.
But there are a lot of them out there. So taking a look at Analytics plugins that are both popular and highly-rated over the past two or three years can give us a pretty good idea of which are in the conversation for the “best,” meaning “Ones you should at least check out.”
1. Google Analyticator
Google Analyticator seems to crop up the most often in lists of Best / Most Popular WordPress Analytics Plugins, and is ranked more favorably in the more recent lists for such essentials as reliability and usability, for simple or complex WordPress site. Our — highly — informal ranking system would rank Analyticator #1.
Users report that it’s “simple and intuitive,” which no, doesn’t mean “feature-lite.” As all these plugins do it takes care of all the coding and logging on for you. It’s easy to install, and plays nicely with any template coding you do later — plus it lets you disable any features you don’t need. Not all plugins do.
- Gives you an analytics panel on your WP dash, so you don’t have to trundle off to another site to look at all your info.
- Hides analytics panel from your clients.
- Lets you study how users act on every page of your site with the In-Page feature.
- Supports all advanced code for tracking Google offers.
- Shows top referrers, searches and pages.
- Offers a widget for front-end visitor stat displays.
According to many comments, Analytify was created to be as easy to install and use as possible. “Intuitive” is a key watchword here. The Analytify site itself doubles down, calling it “very very easy to use.” Simplicity rules.
It doesn’t have some of the extended features plugins such as Google Analytics for WordPress have, but it’s simple to use, and fine for the real-life needs of 90% of you WordPress users out there.
- Dashboard shows pretty much everything — no hunting around.
- Fine for all standard SEO, social media, keyword and browser tracking.
- MultiSite compatible — tracks several WP sites from the same installation.
- Not all that pricey — $29 for personal, $49 for small business.
- Did we mention that it’s really, really simple?
3. Google Analytics by Yoast
Google Analytics by Yoast is a highly popular plugin — over 14 million WP blogs use it according to some figures, but we docked it because it was vulnerable to a Blind SQL injection capable of throwing unwanted spam links or malware on your site.
As of mid-March 2015 they’ve fixed it, and Yoast said they’ve pushed the update, but if you’re using it check to make sure it’s upgraded to 1.7.4 now.
As in, “now.” We’ll wait.
Done? Good. That aside, we haven’t heard of any other issues with this highly popular plugin. It’s a really good choice, especially those of you who want to do a more sophisticated implementation.
- Gives you lots of metadata. Lots.
- Lets techies play around pretty freely with various views.
- Supports a lot of customization with categories, tags, users, etc.
- Offers pretty detailed demographics tracking and analysis.
- Can ignore user levels.
Have you got another plugin you swear by that we havn’t covered? Let us know in the comments.