How to Track Website Visitors in WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, and, as of June 2020, it holds the #2 spot on the list of the top 500 websites globally. It’s not hard to see why — the platform is extremely flexible, which makes it great for anyone looking to build a website. But, if you’re running a business that wants to understand more about how people are interacting with their websites, there are a few different ways you can track the traffic. In this article, we’ll discuss three different methods of tracking website traffic in WordPress.

Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most popular and versatile tools available for tracking website traffic, and it can be easily integrated with WordPress. The tool provides in-depth information about a website’s visitors with the ability to track their activity across different platforms (e.g., desktop, tablet, and mobile).

When a user accesses a website using a mobile device (e.g., a smartphone), they are viewing the website on a small screen, which makes it harder for the owner to see which posts are attracting the most attention. To solve this issue, JavaScript can be used to track which posts are being viewed most frequently, and, when combined with the data from Google Analytics, an owner can gain valuable insights into the most effective content strategies.

The setup process for Google Analytics is very simple and only takes a few minutes. Once the plugin has been installed, the Google analytics dashboard will appear, as seen below:

google analytics dashboard

From here, website owners can access the dashboard, which provides detailed information about their website’s traffic. This includes the number of website visitors as well as a breakdown of how those visitors arrived at the site. Additionally, a website can be mapped out, with each page being represented by a dot. Each click on an area of the dot (i.e., an area of interest – AIO) can be associated with a specific page or post.

The Google Analytics dashboard also provides a wide range of statistics, which can be very useful for tracking a website’s traffic. Some of the more useful metrics include (but are not limited to):

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Yearly
  • Demographics
  • Referring Source
  • Medium
  • Content
  • Device
  • Location
  • Operating System
  • Browser
  • Time Since Last Visit
  • Time Since Last Activity
  • Bounce Rate
  • Task
  • Action
  • Objective
  • Content Performance

Use a Tracking ID (“UTM”) For Each Link

While Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools for tracking website traffic, it has a couple of shortcomings. First, because it’s embedded within the source code of a website, it can be difficult to properly attribute credit for any achievements or performance. Second, the data is only as good as the person analyzing it. In some cases, the data can be a little wonky (i.e., some pages can get over- or under-represented).

To solve these problems, a “tracking ID” (sometimes referred to as a “URL parameter”) can be used in combination with links on a website. If a link is clicked within a specified time frame after a visitor arrives at a site (which is defined by the UTM), that link can be tracked and the activity recorded. Each link (i.e., domain or subdomain) that is accessed within that time frame gets its own “tracking ID.”

For example, if a blog post on a website gets a decent amount of attention, that post’s corresponding URL (i.e., the address of the page that contains the blog post) can be assigned a UTM, which helps to track the blog post’s performance. When a link with a UTM is clicked, that activity is automatically recorded by the party that set up the UTM, as seen below:

utm tracking screenshot

While UTM’s can be very useful for attributing credit for website performance and measuring a website’s growth, its use is not for everyone. If you’re looking for a free and open source alternative, try out Open Analytics. The platform is simple to use and provides several robust features, including:

  • Real-time analytics
  • Attribution modeling
  • Data export
  • Custom dashboard layouts
  • Unlimited users

Use a Service Like CrazyEco’s Free Trial

CrazyEco is a company that provides a free trial for all their premium services, including:

  • Heatmap creation
  • Goal and performance tracking
  • Content analysis
  • Custom dashboards
  • Lead and source tracking
  • A/B testing
  • Email marketing analytics
  • Monthly and email reporting

All of these services work in tandem to provide a complete view of a website’s traffic in real time. With a free trial, you can track the progress of your website and gain valuable insights into its growth. You can also use this data to inform your decision-making process and track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

The downside is that there’s no free trial for Google Analytics, and the services that integrate with it are quite expensive (e.g., Conversion Magic). On the other hand, Google Analytics is widely available and open source, which makes it much more accessible to anyone who needs it. Plus, since it’s basically just a web server exposing some APIs, it doesn’t take up a lot of space within an organization’s computing infrastructure.

Use a Free Tool Like Google’s Universal Analytics

Google’s Universal Analytics is a free and open source tool that can be easily integrated with WordPress. This tool has a decent set of features and provides a complete view of a website’s traffic. Like Google Analytics, it can also be used to track the performance of a website and the effectiveness of its marketing efforts.

Although it can be used to track a website’s performance, Google’s Universal Analytics is not as customizable (or, as robust) as some of the other solutions we’ve discussed so far. That being said, it’s still a viable solution for anyone who needs an easy-to-use and free tool to get started.

Use a Plugin Like Semantic Uso

Semantic Uso is a company that creates, markets, and supports WordPress plugins that enable websites and brands to understand and connect with their audiences. One of their popular plugins, Semantic Uso Analytics, provides a complete view of your website’s traffic and allows you to track the performance of your online stores and social media accounts.

In addition to providing website traffic information, Semantic Uso Analytics can be used to gain valuable insights into the performance of individual posts and pages. That way, content can be tailored to appeal to as many people as possible while also ensuring that the most effective strategies are being used to encourage site traffic.

The downside to this solution is that it’s only available for paid plans. Also, the dashboard can be a little difficult to use for novices. However, for anyone looking for a robust solution, Semantic Uso might be the best choice.

At this point, we’ve discussed three different ways to track the traffic to a website. Each one has its perks and its downsides, but they can all be used to get the basic information needed to grow a website.