10th of April 2020 8 Minutes and 30 Seconds read
Do you remember your first website? Maybe you needed it for a business project, or it was just the result of a hobby. In any case, you chose a popular platform to build it: Wordpress.
The first time you enter your Wordpress dashboard, you get into a creative frenzy. You want to have your site up and running. And for this, you need content. You need to start writing and adding media files.
In the beginning, writing may be a reward in itself for you. You probably looked at endless previews of your pages, admiring your creations...
Getting into website analytics
But soon enough, you want to get confirmation that your content is interesting or useful for others, too. That is the point when you start to wonder about your Wordpress visitors.
Are they seeing your content? Are they reading it and do they like it? Which parts do they like the most?
For all of these questions, your first answers may have come from your stats sheet on WordPress. That gave you a quick overview of what you wanted to know:
- how many people are visiting the site
- how many pages do they read
- what are the most popular posts & pages
- which country are the users from
- who referred them to your website
Once you start looking at your stats, you are hooked. There is a special kind of addiction when it comes to website statistics. Some of us obsessively check their stats several times a day, to look for all the most recent changes.
For those of us, these simple Wordpress analytics soon become insufficient. You want more insights, more advanced website analytics, while still keeping things user-friendly. That’s when you first start looking for an additional analytics tool for Wordpress tracking. And you start by checking the Wordpress plugins section.
Once you find a plugin with advanced features and you start to get more and more into website analytics, there are a few things you should have a clear picture of. It’s not enough to own stats. You need to make sense of them.
So, here are our 8 tips for understanding your Wordpress analytics and your visitors:
#1 Understand the difference between visitors/sessions – unique visitors – page-views/visits
This is a common issue, and not just for beginners.
The first stat you tend to look at is the number of visitors who access your Wordpress site in one day. This stat might be labeled as visitors or sessions. This counts the number of times people accessed your website and had some activity on it in a day.
But one person can visit the site several times in a day. This is why we also need unique visitors or users. This metric takes the IP address into account. Therefore, if one person visits the site 4 times in a day, we will count 4 visitors (or sessions), but only 1 unique visitor.
Then there is the visits or page-views stat. During a session on your website, one unique visitor may access more than one page on the site. Every time a page is loaded, it is counted as a visit or a page-view. When the user refreshes a page, it is also considered a page-view.
#2 Use the bounce rate to get insights on your content and audience
To understand how visitors interact with your website, check the bounce rate of your site.
It will show you the percentage of visitors that closed your website after seeing only one page. There are 4 ways of leaving the website that count as “bounces”: hitting the "X" button to close the page, clicking the “back” button in the browser, writing the URL of another website in the browser tab, or becoming idle (staying on the page for a long time, without any action).
No matter the page they landed on, if any of these happen without a visit to any other webpage on your site, they will be counted as visitors that bounced. You must look into this and find out why your visitors lost interest. In general, you should strive to encourage visitors to navigate your site and, therefore, keep the bounce rate down. There may be exceptions to this rule, like websites that only consist of one page, with a lot of scrolling.
You can read more about the bounce rate and how to reduce it on our blog. A low session duration is also a sign that the user experience on your site may need some improvement.
#3 Decide what a conversion is for your website
A conversion is a user action that you consider to be of direct value to you.
In the case of e-commerce tracking, establishing what counts as a conversion is easier. It’s usually the sale of a product, but it could also be the number of “add to carts”, use of vouchers, clicks of a certain button etc.
For other websites, a conversion can be a totally different thing: a sign up, accessing a key page, filling in a questionnaire.
In order to make full use of the analytics data, especially when you have explicit marketing objectives, you have to decide what a conversion is to you, at a given time. Then, you should think about having a landing page associated with that.
For example, online stores usually have a “thank you for your purchase” page that shows up at the end of the acquisition process. When this page loads, you have a sale. Pageviews on this part of your website can be counted as conversions. Make sure to track this specifically and make use of it to understand what percentage of users actually become customers.
#4 Always keep an eye on your list of referrals
If you own a website you probably know by now that referral traffic is an important indicator of the popularity of your brand. One might even say that your web presence and credibility are directly influenced by the number of referrals.
Most of your referrals will probably come from search engines and social media channels, but there might be pleasant surprises in the list.
The referrals are especially important if you are running cross-promotions, have affiliate links or ongoing campaigns with influencers. By checking the referral list you will get to see the number of visits coming from each domain and strategize accordingly.
#5 Use UTMs to track your sources
UTMs may seem complicated, but they are really not that hard to use. A UTM is a special kind of link, that can track your referrals with more precision. It adds information after the URL, without altering the functionality of the link It can look something like this:
The link will still lead to https://www.visitor-analytics.io/en/registration-form/, but with the parameters after the question mark, you can use your analytics to have more info about the source. In this case, you will know the visit came from “visaWebsite”, from the signup button in the header.
#6 Post when your audience is the most active
By adding an analytics tracking code to your WordPress website you will be able to check when your visitors are on your website in greater numbers. Using that knowledge, there might be certain days of the week when it’s best to add new blog posts, to increase the odds of them being seen. Or certainhour intervals in which it is best to run a promotion on your website.
It all depends on the type of content you post, the industry of interest and the time zone where most of your readers are. The times that might work for an online pet shop might be totally different from the ones that are best for a photography website. Different strokes for different folks, so keep an eye on your audience and adapt to their habits!
#7 Get deeper insights about visitors by using session replays and heatmaps
Web analytics tools are great, but stats are not enough to gain proper insight into user behavior. This is why it would be great if your analytic account also came with the possibility to watch visitor recordings (aka session replays). This way you could actually see, live, the reasons behind potentially high bounce rates or low conversion rates (see tips #2 and #3).
Maybe your users are clicking in the wrong places. Your page design might make them confused. Maybe they are not scrolling enough or they get lost in the page navigation. Check this by using visitor recordings and heatmaps (these are maps that show how much interaction all elements on your page are receiving).
#8 Choose the right tool for your website analytics
There are a number of factors you need to take into consideration when choosing the most suitable analytics solution for tracking your website. First, and most importantly, choose a tool that’s functional on WordPress. To do so, the safest bet is to go to the WordPress Plugin Market.
There’s a wide range of analytics plugins available in the Wordpress market, but not all of them respect the latest privacy laws. So GDPR compliance is the second thing you need to pay attention to. By doing so you will be able to avoid expensive fines in the future.
Lastly, try to go beyond the basic statistics and choose a more comprehensive tool that shows your visitors’ behavior in depth. And we are talking here about session replays, heatmaps, click paths and other advanced features. These will come in very handy for improving user experience and conversion rates on your website.
Test out a few options, begin with a free trial and afterward decide which analytics WordPress plugin is the best one for you. One that ticks all the boxes is this plugin.
Hope this was helpful and good luck with growing your WordPress website audience! Also, let us know in the comments below if you have any questions about your WordPress analytics.