When I built my first WordPress website, and I am using the word "built" liberally, I was encouraged by how many plugins could support the goals I had and what I wanted to do. But these days, the market offers an ever increasing number of plugins--and that's particularly true for website analytics data.
Many plugins provide comprehensive analytics data. But the challenge comes in finding a plugin that readily displays post data and stats.
Why Stats For Posts Matter
Gaining as much information as possible about your visitors and their behavior on your site is crucial to optimizing it well.
You can always opt to rely on your Google Analytics information by gathering data from behavior reports there, like the route visitors take from entry to exit, the top viewed pages on your site or pages views in subfolders, via the content drill down report.
But there's a learning curve and a few steps to accessing the information you need. Tracking an event, for an example, always requires you to add-on event tracking code to each action you want to track.
As a business owner, all of those analytics steps are not the most attractive solution for gaining quick access to how well a post is doing on your site. In other words, " I love a long learning curve when I come across a new tool!"--said no business owner--ever.
So, whether the data displays directly in the post, or in your admin dashboard, having an immediate display is handy. A plug-in with an easy-to-use interface that delivers post stats and data can help you clarify what posts do well--and why--to help you make the best content strategy decisions for your business goals.
These three options provide post stats and can be a good supplement to your regular analytics toolkit:
Google Analytics Dashboard For WordPress
Probably the most obvious solution for post and page analytics data is the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin.
You'll have easy access to page views and all the basics, like referral traffic, bounce rate, organic searches and referral sources and locations.
The plug-in is user-friendly, providing up-to-date page reports with traffic referral details. But most importantly, it also includes comprehensive "per page" and "per post" reports.
Unlike your regular Google Analytics Dashboard, the WordPress plug-in doesn't require tracking coding to set it up. The plug-in does it for you automatically. Though, you will need to create and configure a Google Analytics account, first.
StatCounter has been on the market for almost a decade, and it's free version is packed with a lengthy list of useful tools. Installation is simple and includes entering your project ID (one per website) and security code to use the plugin on your site.
The "drill down" tool is one of the most extensive, allowing you to customize what you want to drill down to in a number of ways, and includes stats showing the number of visits and each visitor for a page.
You can add tracking code to any page or post you want to track. You can also customize it to display a visitor's navigation activity to that page, to see what route they take.
The tool is visitor-focused, helping you to glean information like who is visiting your site and from where. And because it's a webtracker, per Statcounter, it tracks browsers, not server requests, which creates a more realistic visitor number and analysis.
So, let's say you've optimized a recent post for a particular long-tail keyword, you can find out how much referral traffic is coming directly from that word or phrase and either create similar posts with similar keywords that are working well, or update your post with keywords that could bring higher traffic.
Post Views Stats
Do you want a simple, "bare-bones" solution for how many visitors are viewing your posts? If that's the case, you may want to consider Post views Stats plugin for WordPress.
This plugin allows you to see post views by visitor directly in your WordPress admin panel, and you can display the most popular posts viewed in a widget in your sidebar, according to Post view Stats.
This plugin is the least flashy, but allows for the quickest access to post views and post popularity by going to the "all post view page," the tab available after you activate the plugin.
Additionally, the plugin provides support at a cost for anyone in need of help with installation, site auditing or Google Analytics support.
Remember To Optimize Every Blog Post
Good analytics data comes from well-optimized posts. Make sure to optimize every blog post before you publish it. It's a good idea to have the following basic checklist handy:
- Include the keyword or keyword phrase in the URL.
- Include the keyword in the title, sub-heading and in the body of the post, where is makes sense, naturally, to do so.
- Always include an image or infographic and include the keyword in your image alt-text, so when Google crawls the image, it can read and index it.
- Use readable fonts in at least 12 or 14 pt font.
- Use H2 subheadings and bullet points to make the post more scannable.
- Break-up text into short paragraphs, and provide your visitor with a lot of white space, to make it easier to read.
- Link to internal pages and external, high-authority sites where it makes sense.
- Make sure it's mobile-friendly.
Revise Your Strategy According To Your Analytics Data
As you analyze post stats, you'll be able to determine what posts do better with what visitors.
You may find a post you publish at one time of day, or time of year, does better than another--many bloggers swear by sending out Sunday posts to their email lists to increase post engagement.
So, experiment with one of these plugins to gain important insights into what works best for you in your content strategy.
Your turn: What post analytic data do you find most useful for your business goals?
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* Lead image adapted from Sean MacEntee