Google Analytics plugins do two important jobs at your WordPress website. First, they add the code that allows Google Analytics to collect data from your website. All of the Google Analytics plugins we’ve tried do this job just fine.
They may also show you some information from your Google Analytics account. Getting a quick look at your website’s performance from your website admin area may be quicker and easier than getting the same information at your Analytics account. If that ease makes it more likely that you will keep up with your analytics, you will be more likely to use that data to reach your website goals.
There are plenty of choices among Google Analytics plugins. Let’s look at a few.
As you can see from the screenshot above, Google Analyticator lets you filter out specific categories of users from tracking. In the example, we’re filtering out everyone who has Admin privileges at the website. This way, we don’t count visits made by people working on the website, or by the website owner.
This plugin comes from AppSumo, so they will show you ads. On the other hand, they are a company you can trust to keep their plugin updated and reliable. The plugin will display a graph of the last 30 days of visitors, a summary of site usage, the top pages, the top referrers, and the top searches in a widget, and it will track clicks from your website.
Share This Google Analytics
Share This Google Analytics plugin show top traffic sources as well as usage data. It also shows Trending Content — any posts that are performing especially well. You can get notifications in Slack or email when content takes off, so you can respond quickly if a post goes viral.
This plugin also allows you to filter out visitors by their WordPress role.
Monster Insights wins for cuteness. It’s easy to install, it allows you to filter data capture for WordPress users, it does events tracking and file download tracking without a developer, and it produces nice reports of basic GA data.
There’s a premium version, which we have not tried. It offers WooCommerce integration — which means you can definitely get more information right in your WordPress dashboard than Jetpack offers. Monster Insights is the most robust plugin we’ve tried. It’s also the one most likely to get itself disconnected or to need other kinds of service. Fortunately, the makers provide support, even with the free version.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP collects some different kinds of information from most GA plugins. It creates a small widget for the WordPress dashboard with drop down menus that allow you to see data for a given metric and a given time frame. For example, you can check your sessions for the past three years, or referrers for the past two weeks. You can also see real-time data, 404 errors, and quite a few other reports that most GA plugins don’t offer.
For us, having this much data is not as useful as it might be, because we’re comfortable with Google Analytics. We can go there and see everything more easily than working in the WordPress dashboard with GADWP. Having a quick look at a few reports if you’re in your website anyway makes sense, but GADWP has a bit of a learning curve.
This could be personal preference.
Which is the best Google Analytics plugin?
We’re showing you four of hundreds of options. We’ve tried more than these, but have found, frankly, that it’s kind of a commodity. Every plugin we’ve tried has been able to make it easy to install Google Analytics code and capture the data. All the ones we’ve used in the past year allow you to filter data captured by users and to track events and downloads.
The reports vary. For us, a quickened simple report makes sense. If you don’t go into your website’s admin area, reporting is not important. If you do go to your Google Analytics account, more robust reporting at your website may not make sense for you.
If you need help with your analytics — either capturing the data or using it once it has been captured — we’ll be happy to help. Contact us to begin the conversation.