When your site is live, one of the first things you’re probably thinking is, “Is this thing actually working?”
Without an immediate barrage of sales or signups, it’s hard to know what’s happening. Does your site even have any visitors and, if so, where are they coming from? Do they always enter from the home page or have they found it through the latest blog post? When they’re on the site for more than five minutes, what’s keeping them from converting?
There are so many questions that can arise when you have no direct insight into what’s going on with your site’s activity. Luckily enough, there’s one tool you can turn to that will help you make heads and tails of what’s happening with your visitors: Google Analytics.
Best Google Analytics Plugins for WordPress
A Google Analytics plugin should accomplish at least two things for you:
- It should establish the connection between your site and Google Analytics without you having to update any of your site’s code.
- It should add a comprehensive dashboard filled with statistics to your WordPress backend, keeping all the data for your site within WordPress.
Most of the following Google Analytics plugins will help you achieve those goals. (I did throw in a couple other more specialized plugins for good measure.) Your goal now should be to sift through this list and find one with the price point, ease of use, and intended purpose that jives best with what you need.
It simplifies the process of getting the Google Analytics tracking code onto your site and then it enables users to add as little or as much data about their site (or network of sites) to the WordPress dashboard. This is the quintessential Google Analytics plugin. It adds the tracking code to your site and then it pulls all the key statistics (and a little bit more) into your dashboard. All Google Analytics data fits within a single widget on your dashboard; it’s simply up to you to configure the type of statistic, timeframe, and any special dimensions that you want displayed within it. This plugin also works with multisite. In addition to being super easy to set Google Analytics up on your site through this plugin, the dashboard widget that comes with it is incredible. Rather than provide you with a confusing layout or inundate you with too much information, it presents everything in a large, clear, and easy to follow format, with a focus on the key statistics you need to stay on top of. For those of you who like the free Analytify plugin, but are disappointed with the limitations of the free version, this is the premium one. The dashboard interface is the same, but this one comes filled to the brim with performance data, ecommerce tracking, social media referral information, page-level analyses, and more. You can also catch a glimpse at each page’s analytics from the frontend of your site.One more thing to note is the pricing. There are plans for different business purposes. So if you’re a developer or serving multiple clients on behalf of your agency, you can secure enhanced WordPress analytics all at once with this plugin. This is not your typical Google Analytics plugin. In fact, if you’re looking for one that will get Analytics up and running on your site, then look elsewhere. However, if what you need is to get ecommerce-specific analytics pulled into your dashboard so you can stop bouncing back and forth between your site and Google Analytics, this will do the trick. Pure and simple, the GA Google Analytics plugin aims to achieve one thing and one thing only: to get the Analytics tracking code onto every page of your site. If that’s all you need help with and you’re not interested in pulling statistics into your dashboard, then this is the plugin for you. I’m adding this Google Analytics plugin for one simple reason: its granular tracking capabilities. Most plugins will pull in the usual statistics from Google Analytics like the number of real-time visitors, referral sites, per-page performance statistics, and so on. This one, however, goes further and tracks links (internal, outbound, and affiliate), file downloads, as well as ecommerce sales. If you’re trying to make money on your site and these smaller and yet more significant pieces are key to conversion tracking, then this is the Google Analytics plugin for you. Although there is a free version of this plugin, I’m not recommending it here since it’s nearly identical to #5. Instead, I think the premium version from Web Dorado is worth a glance if you want to maximize what you can do with Google Analytics from within WordPress. This is ideal if you want access to reports that provide information on goals management, ecommerce tracking, and ad integration.It’s also worth noting that this premium plugin has a number of reasonably priced plans, even for agencies and web developers. Google Analytics’ event-tracking functionality is pretty cool—especially if you’re trying to determine the efficacy of a specific set of breadcrumbs or steps you’ve set up along the conversion path. If your main goal right now is to study your site’s analytics to find out what’s happening with the scrolling and clicking leading up to a conversion, then you can use this plugin to bring that data into WordPress.
If you want your site to be successful now and in the future, you can’t afford to leave anything up to chance. Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that will help you unlock those insights into what’s happening on site. And with the help of a Google Analytics plugin, you can spend less time worrying about how to code it into the backend and more time reviewing your data so you can update your content and the user experience accordingly.