It's a great feeling to put up your blog, start writing posts or creating content, but to really grow your blog, you need to understand the statistics of your site. You need to know who is visiting, what they are looking for, where they came from and even where they are going.
The more information you have about your visitors, the more opportunity you have to grow your site. For example, lets say you just spent money on advertising, or you just posted on your Facebook page for people to visit your site, how do you know if anyone did? How do you know if your what you are doing is worth the efforts?
Recently, we were working with a friend and we were looking at his statistics for his site. He was paying a monthly fee for banner ad placement on a site. When reviewing his stats, he had only 29 visitors from the banner ad, but over 180 visitors from a free forum that his virtual assitant was posting in. We were able to track the conversion of the forum visitors versus the banner ad, and the conversion and ROI showed that the visitors from the free forum had a significantly higher ROI than the monthly payments for the banner ads.
But, if he didn't have tracking in place to see these results, he would not know which service was worth his time. He was about to give up on the forum posting because he didn't know if it was getting any results.
Now, there are tons of statistic plugins out there and I do not have a definitive answer as to what is THE best stats plugin, but that’s mostly because ‘best’ may vary based on what you are looking for. Therefore, I am going to highlight the three plugins that we use in our business. After testing several, these are the ones that work best for us.
Google Analytics has been around for a long time. We used Google Analytics for tracking and statistics for our HTML static websites.
Now, plugins have been created to easily incorporate the service into your blog. This service has pretty much all the statistics your need. Stats by the hour, day, month and year and much, much more.
To use Google Analytics on your blog, you have to set up a Google Analytics account.
Here are plugins to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site.
WordPress.com Stats Plugin
This is a very simple plugin and gives you a great overall picture of what is happening on your site from a day to day basis. It is great for checking referrals, keywords, as well as the clicks for the day.
To install this plugin on your site you have get a WordPress.com account. After you sign up for an account, login to your account and obtain your API key which is located in your profile.
Once you upload and activate the plugin, they will ask for your API key and thats it! After a few minutes you will be able to see statistics on your site.
StatPress Reloaded Plugin
This plugin is by far the easiest of the the three. The reason is because you don't need any external accounts set up anywhere else. You simply upload and activate the plugin and almost instantly you can see real time statistics with your site.
It tracks more information that WordPress.com Stats, but not as much information as Google Analytics, so it falls in the middle.
This one is the best for a quick snapshot and also allows you to “spy” on visitors that are currently on your site. This one is quick, easy and accurate.
There are a few other statistic/tracking tools we use, but what statistic tools do YOU use and why do you like them?