Success can only be measured if you have key figures. If you run your blog for personal use only, then you don’t care about the statistics. However, as soon as you offer a service or a product through it or want to make your company known, the whole thing looks a little different. You need specific goals that can be expressed in numbers. And you have to check the numbers to see if your efforts are successful or if you need to tweak more.
Google Analytics or an alternative?
One of the most comprehensive services for website statistics is without a doubt Google Analytics. The data is almost too extensive for a layperson to be able to evaluate it meaningfully. You can see everything with it:
- When and how many visitors visited which page of your blog.
- Where they got on.
- How long they stayed.
- Which other pages you have clicked.
- How long they stayed there.
- Which side they left your side on.
- From where they came from.
- What kind of people it is: gender, country of origin, device used, etc.
- and much more.
In order to work with Google Analytics, which works via cookies that are stored on your visitors’ computers, you need to create an account and conclude a data processing agreement with Google. This is how you meet the requirements of the GDPR. If you work with more than one Google Analytics account or use different tools, you have to conclude a separate contract for order data processing.
Integrate analytics with WordPress plugin
However, Google Analytics itself is not a plugin for WordPress, just a service. However, it can be used on WordPress sites and on all other homepages and shops.
There are additional plugins that work with Google Analytics, integrate this service and make it easier for you to evaluate the data. This is for example Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP). Here you have to activate the IP anonymization, which you can find under the advanced settings.
The Google Analytics plug-in for WordPress by MonsterInsights also saves the data collected, which is why you also have to anonymize the IPs and deactivate the “reports on performance according to demographic characteristics and interests”.
The best statistics plugins for WordPress
Google Analytics is extensive and quickly confusing. For a layperson it is possible to record and evaluate visitor numbers in this way, but ultimately a significantly smaller database is certainly sufficient to be able to make meaningful statements about one’s own visitor numbers.
Exactly for this simpler use case there are some useful plugins on the WordPress extensions market that you can use to track visitors to your site. I’ve tried a few myself and put them through their paces.
This plugin offers a wide range of functions. For example, you can see exactly which other pages your visitors have been referred from. This makes it easy for you to identify the best traffic sources and expand them further. This is especially useful when it comes to your social media activities.
In the overview you can see the most frequently accessed pages, the most frequently used browsers and from which search engines your visitors were referred. Of course, you can also see the search terms that led to you. This way you can develop important terms.
Subject of data protection: WP Statistics stores IP addresses of visitors in the WordPress database. You have to have them anonymized in order to be compliant with the GDPR.
Statify shows you the most important key figures relating to your visitor statistics and makes it easy for you to stay true to data protection. This is what the providers themselves say about data storage:
“In direct comparison with statistics services such as Google Analytics, WordPress.com Stats and Piwik, Statify does not process or store any personal data such as IP addresses – Statify counts views, not visitors. This is ideal for uncomplicated use.
You can also install a widget that displays the most popular articles on your site and add a blacklist to the functionality. There is a separate plug-in for this that works with Statify.
Blogfoster is a service that allows you to monetize your blog by working with suitable sponsors. Of course, they are interested in your reach, which is determined by Blogfoster Insights. You can do this without any worries, even in times of the GDPR, because Blogfoster collects statistical data about your visitors, but this is collected anonymously. An AV contract has been part of the GTC since May 24, 2018.
Tip: visitor numbers vs. conversion
Always keep the following in mind: Having a lot of visitors is of no use and is not a meaningful goal. Know what you want people to do on your site. Leaving data, buying something, falling in love with your brand … this is the conversion you want to achieve. Of course, your chances of conversion increase numerically if you have a lot of visitors, but it is better to have a select selection of perfect users who actually buy something than thousands of visitors for whom your offer does not really fit.