Every website should be collecting some sort of data about the number and types of visitors viewing the website. How is it possible to know if a website is meeting its objectives if measurement against objectives isn’t being performed? Fortunately there are two very good website stats services available that are free to use and, best of all, really simple to get working with WordPress.
To start collecting data and visualise it then all you need do is install and activate the awesome Jetpack plugin (and make sure that the WordPress.com stats module is enabled). These stats are accessible in your WordPress dashboard and are perfect if you want to visualise your data in a simple way. Although WordPress.com Stats is so simple to get up and running it’s also very powerful and includes data such as the number of people that have visited your website by country, the number of visitors each day, week and month, the search terms used when a search engine has referred a visitor to your website and much more.
The biggest advantages of WordPress.com Stats are its ease of implementation and the simplicity of viewing the stats in your WordPress dashboard. The biggest disadvantage is that data can’t be exported to be viewed in other applications and services.
Google Analytics is immensely popular for good reason. It’s free and provides an absolute abundance of information about visitors to your website. The level of detail that you can see about your website visitors and visits is quite incredible. For example you can see the number of visits by screen resolution on mobile devices, the interests of your visitors, the number of new vs. returning visitors, the cities from which most of your visits originate and much more. Google Analytics isn’t just for technology gurus however as it’s easy to use for the most common basics such as the number of visits by day and pages visited.
The biggest advantages of Google Analytics are that it’s very widely used and provides powerful analytics. The biggest disadvantage is that the setup takes slightly longer that WordPress.com Stats.
The Google Analytics tracking code may be inserted into WordPress using plugins such as Google Analytics.
No matter whether you choose to use WordPress.com Stats or Google Analytics you’ll be able to access useful information about the number of types of visits to your website. If you’re unsure which to use then why not use both simultaneously which is perfectly o.k.