Google Analytics is the most intuitive and simple to use web analytics tool available today. Its clear-cut user-interface makes the tracking data you need more accessible that any other tool on the market. But even this great tool has a bit of a learning curve. As a result, many busy medical professionals have yet to take advantage of what Google Analytics can do for them.
If your blog is built on a WordPress platform, there’s a powerful and free plug-in that just about does all the work for you. Google Analytics for WordPress is the most comprehensive Google Analytics plugin available for WordPress. Sure you can just copy the tracking code manually into your WordPress theme but you would miss a number of features this plug-in offers. Some of the extras Google Analytics for WordPress provides are:
The newest version of Google Analytics for WordPress (4.0) allows you to switch to the new asynchronous tracking method. Google’s Analytics Blog lists three reasons you will want to use this new tracking method.
- Faster load times for your web pages due to improved browser execution of the tracking code.
- Enhanced data collection & accuracy.
There are a number of sites that offer in-depth analysis of why using this new scripting method is a plus. Put simply; normal script blocks other objects on your page. Images, for example, can’t load until the normal tracking scripts are fully loaded. An asynchronous script permits other objects, like graphics, to be downloaded at the same time.
Rather than having to visit Google Analytics and paste a new code, Google Analytics for WordPress, does all the work for you.
Custom variables allow you to add data about the current page, the current session or the current user in your tracking. The advantage to you is that you can see exactly how people are using your site from a number of different views.
- Author name: track page views per author
- Logged in users: Where do people that are logged in go? You can even segment your analysis to look, for example, at only “subscribers”.
- Tags: Track all tags for each post.
- Single category: Allows you to track views per category if posts are in only one category each.
- All categories: Track multiple categories per post.
- Publication year: Very useful to see if older posts are still getting traffick
The Bottom Line: Free and powerful plug-ins like Google Analytics for WordPress illustrate why we continue to highlight WordPress as the best blog platform you can use. When used in conjunction with Google Analytics Dashboard, you can view all this much needed tracking information directly from within your blog. Google Analytics Dashboard is also a free WordPress plug-in.