If you’re a WordPress user with the intention of turning your blog into a store, it’s essential you install an analytics plugin. The purpose of an analytics plugin is to analyze data and extract meaningful information that you can turn into actionable outcomes. That data deals with the customers on your website and their behaviour—what pages are they visiting? What are they doing on those pages?
Many beginners make the mistake of just going off their gut feeling to progress their blog. This either leads to slow progress, no progress or progress in entirely the wrong direction! For efficient and stable business growth you need to download an analytics solution that suits you best.
Below I’ll run you through popular analytics plugins, explaining why they’re popular, and the differences which might help you make a decision in choosing one.
Understanding Why Analytics Are Necessary!
If you’re still skeptical as to downloading an analytics plugins, let’s delve deeper into what you can gain from these plugins.
Some of the most meaningful metrics a business needs to track are:
What content is giving you the most success? Knowing the answer is great, and can help you create a more meaningful content schedule. Why? Because you need to create more of it! There’s little point spending your energy on content that nobody is interested in or finds useful.
Alternatively, it’s also very important to recognize what your lowest performing pages are. This gives you the power to know what not to do, and make the necessary changes. Strengthening your overall WordPress site.
Forms are an important part of your site, that provide a channel for customers to get in contact with your business, sign up to newsletters and acquire discounts or other offers. They’re a meaningful way of gaining leads and therefore conversions, but you need to know a lot more than just the ratio between page visits to form completion. You need to understand where people are stopping form completion, how long forms are taking to complete and optional field completion.
Now, let’s identify the best analytic solutions that will help you make informed decisions towards WordPress success.
MonsterInsights is one of the most popular analytics plugins for WordPress users. It easily allows you to install Google Analytics (which saves the need for any developer to do so, or having to write code yourself). Users can gain tracking for refined events, forms, customer dimensions and e-commerce. Furthermore, users can gain a website stats dashboard that displays your top traffic sources. All of your highest ranking articles and pages are made obvious with plenty of metrics regarding customer behaviour.
How easy MonsterInsights makes e-commerce tracking is one of its best features, allowing you to track conversion rates and top performing products. Notably, being able to understand and decrease cart abandonment can represent significant boosts in revenue.
- Google Analytics
The most popular analytic plugin amongst WordPress users. Why? Because it gives great insights and it’s FREE! All WordPress beginners should have Google Analytics—nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Users will get a variety of metrics including pageviews, session duration, bounce rates, sessions per pages, benchmarking and a social overview. If you have an AdWords account you can connect it to your website and begin to experiment with AdWords campaigns. This will allow you to use your marketing budget a lot more cost-effectively!
With advanced real-time reporting you can perform A/B testing, track links, as well as analyze user engagement and plenty more measurements on traffic insights.
- WP Statistics
A simple analytics plugin that displays tracking stats through simple summaries and graphs in your WordPress admin. Its standout feature is how detailed this plugin is at measuring data from popular search engines. Essentially you’ll discover where the amount of visitors you get, what search engine they derive from as well as traffic and popularity metrics for all pages.
You also gain access to overviews regarding browser versions, country specific stats, exclusions, referrers, searches and more.
WP Statistics is also GDPR compliant and will save you from partnering with an external data processing company.
The one downside when you’re dealing with a lot of data, is that it’s stored within your WordPress website, which will increase the size of backing up. If you do want your data further analyzed you can export data using TSV, XML or CSV formats. WP statistics also isn’t great at detecting which traffic is coming from crawlers and which is coming from authentic users, so it will have elevated view counts compared to other analytics suites.
- Google Analytics Dashboard by ExactMetrics
Another analytics plugin that’s completely free! This data provides all of the data you need right on your WordPress dashboard. Allowing you to view organic searches, page views, bounce rates, pages, locations, referrer traffic and 404 errors.
You can also customize the analytics tracking code so you can collect advanced data from custom events, emails, external links, affiliate links, fragment identities and downloads.
Like a lot of plugins you will receive detailed data concerning all WordPress pages and posts.
This plugin completely supports Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) if you use AMP and want to optimize your pages for mobile. This aligns with the simplicity of this plugin, which emphasises readability on its UI.
Heap captures data for every click, page, change, swipe or pageview. With each bit of data you gain, you’re able to measure the effect of each integration. Heap also minimizes the time it takes to receive any behavioural data.
Because Heap collects everything, you’re likely to discover some data that you never knew you’d need. It’s really easy to look back at past data, so you can analyze what has made an impact or not–you’re able to view data from the very first day of data collection.
Instead of being charged per click you’re charged per visitor—which ends up being more cost-effective than other paid plugins.
You gain access to detailed affiliate link analysis. For example, if you have ten different links for a popular product. You can see which link is actually causing customers to visit the product and see which links are having little success.
Matomo is an all-in-one self-hosted analytics plugin. However, it has the option of upgrading to a premium cloud-hosted version.
This plugin places an emphasis on accuracy when dealing with large amounts of data. With some plugins such as Google Analytics, when dealing with a lot of data, it will measure a percentage and let it represent the entire pool. With Matomo you are guaranteed 100% accuracy, as all data is taken into account for reporting. This is especially useful amongst business growth.
Being open source, Matomo also has plenty of customization options and can be extended, changes or have added functionality that best meets the analytic requirements of your WordPress site.
If your business deals within the EU or Switzerland, Matomo is GDPR compliant and will keep up with new regulations.
Another analytics plugin that provides real-time data. Woopra places an emphasis on detail—you’re able to see the pathing of each individual user and notice what pushes them in their journey inspired them to make a conversion, bounce or take an alternative path. The idea being that your data becomes more accurate as nothing is unaccounted for and you’re able to better improve customer experience.
To help understand data and discover trends you can segment data by date, location, campaign source, device, platform, job title and many other attributes. Woopra quickly organizes all of these categories, giving you unique perspectives on data. With other plugins you can gain this sort of unique data, but you’d have to hire a developer to customize your plugin and potentially integrate with a CRM.
Customizing Your Solution
As stated a few times in this article, to extend the functionality and data collection of your plugin, you can edit the code of your plugin. However many business owners aren’t comfortable doing this and even if they do, things can go wrong very quickly. Hiring WordPress developers will maximize the usefulness of your analytics plugin for your business, and allows you to focus your energy elsewhere.
Of course, when hiring WordPress developers their services will not be limited to boosting your plugin, they can also optimize the functionality, speed, security, SEO practice for your store itself. Furthermore, they can also provide around the clock tech support and maintenance. However, the extent of their services will differ depending on the hiring plan and agreement.
If you’re already paying for an analytic plugin, hiring developers will up your costs even more. Therefore you want to find affordable hiring options that still provide quality work. From a cost-effective perspective, my recommendation would be CodeClouds. They provide dedicated developer packages to be paid on a monthly basis—package hiring allows you to increase or decrease the amount of expertise you need to be cost-efficient for current site requirements. They also are a global development company with offices in the US, India, Australia and New Zealand, so you have support at all hours of the day. For cost-effective WordPress development services, they’re a great choice.
All in all, if you’re a WordPress beginner I’d recommend starting with a free analytic plugin. During beginning phases, you don’t need as in-depth data collection that more expensive plugins will provide. Upon business growth, you want to either look for more advanced plugins or keep your current solution and extend its functionality with development services. Although developers do represent new costs, they also represent new possibilities for conversions and therefore revenue. As long as you hire from the right development team, you can guarantee a return on investment.