The end of the year is a great time to spruce up your website and do some of those things you’ve always meant to do. Like find out who’s visiting your website. Site analytics are easy to come by if you take advantage of some of the great tools available. This post surveys a couple of my favorites. Next post, I’ll give you advice on what to do with the results.
Please note, you won’t be able to recover statistics on who’s visited your site in the past. That’s why it’s all the more important to set up a tool now.
Jetpack is probably the easiest and most accessible site analytics program. Made by Automattic, the company behind WordPress, Jetpack integrates swiftly and easily just by enabling it. It has a wide array of services available, such as contact forms, protection against brute force attacks, and a feature to automatically promote content. The analytics feature is called Site Stats. The dashboard provides a bar graph of views and comments for the desired time period, as well as referrers, top posts and pages, search engine terms, clicks and subscriptions. You can move the sections around to your liking. Jetpack is free, and connects with your WordPress.com account to give you even more detailed statistics.
This program is so richly featured you’d think it would cost a fortune–but it’s free. WP Slimstat is fun if you’re the least bit curious about who is visiting your site. See that screenshot of the Access Log? (click on it if you can’t tell what those icons are) At a glance you can tell that someone with the given IP address visited your site. You can also tell the visitor was in the US, used Chrome as the browser and Windows operating system, and in the part you can’t see, shows other information as well: screen resolution, server latency and page speed, and date and time.
But that’s not where WP Slimstat ends. The overview shows you pageviews via a nifty line graph displaying this month’s views, overlaying last month’s. Find out in an instant the top web pages visited on your site, the top traffic sources leading visitors there, and the top search terms they used. Other sections reveal information about your audience, including human visits (as opposed to bot visits), site analysis, detailed traffic sources, and geolocation. All of the sections of the dashboard can be customized to your liking.
I’ve Got Stats, Now What?
What do you do once you have one of these nifty programs churning out data left and right? Stay tuned for part 2!
4 indie-published books
3 degrees (MCert, Web Design & Development, University of Denver; MLS, University of Alabama; BA, Art, University of Alabama in Huntsville)
17+ years professional experience in university web design and editing