This is a guest post by Graeme Caldwell. If you would like to submit a guest article, please check out our guest post guidelines.
A big part of that value is instinctive, as with any creative endeavor. It comes from experience, knowing your niche, and a passion to create something that people will appreciate and find valuable.
However, without analytics, it’s almost impossible to know whether your efforts are finding any favor. Without evidence, you will be walking randomly in the dark with no clue what to change to make your site better for its visitors, or to increase the conversion rates.
There are a lot of analytics solutions on offer that promise to shine a light on the responses and behavior of visitors, and some are better than others.
Google Analytics is the obvious choice, and its range of features means that it deserves the top spot in any roundup of analytics tools, especially because of its integration with Google’s other services.
It is an extremely capable platform, featuring excellent reporting and intelligence tools, content and keyword analysis, conversion analytics, social analytics, and advertising features that support Google’s own AdWords best, but also include support for Bing, Yahoo, and other advertising solutions.
There are quite a few WordPress plugins that will bring these features to your site. One of the best is Yoast’s Google Analytics for WordPress.
Piwik is also a strong contender, offering many of the features you would expect from a powerful analytics suite. It is an open source PHP/MySQL based tool that requires that users have a server on which to host it.
As such, it is a bit more complicated to set up and use than SaaS analytics suites by Google, but has the advantage that users are not tied to a particular vendor, and can edit the source code to suit their specific requirements.
If you’re interested in using Piwik with WordPress, check out WP-Piwik.
Analytics360 is a plugin developed by MailChimp that allows users to integrate Google Analytics and MailChimp data with the WordPress dashboard. If you’re already using MailChimp for email syndication or marketing, Analytics360 is a great choice.
Optimizely is different to the other services were looking at here. It is focused on website optimization rather that straight-up analytics, particularly A/B testing of pages and features to discover which are the most effective. Google Analytics is also capable of A/B testing, but if you prefer to use a dedicated service, then take a look at the Optimizely WordPress plugin.
Tallyopia is a slick analytics dashboard that offers integration with the WordPress dashboard, real-time analytics, and business intelligence. It works well with single and multisite WordPress installations. You can test a live demo of the service, and if you like what you see, grab their WordPress plugin.
In spite of having a name reminiscent of best-forgotten 90s beer commercials, WassUp has proven itself to be an excellent in-dashboard real-time analytics tool. The WassUp Real Time Analytics plugin, works together with WassUp Keywords to provide a comprehensive analytics tool for WordPress sites.
What’s Your Favorite Analytics Tool?
If we’ve missed an analytics tool you think deserves a place on our list, feel free to let us know in the comments.
Graeme Caldwell works as an inbound marketer for Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting.