One of the common things you’ll hear when working with WordPress is to limit the number of plugins you install, because it can make your blog slow. While the general advice is to simply cut-and-paste the tracking code into the header of your theme, here are 2 important reasons why you should use a WordPress Plugin for Google Analytics.
1. Stop tracking yourself as a visitor
One realization I had early on when using WordPress and Google Analytics was that I didn’t want to track myself using and editing my own blog. I don’t count as a visitor. I did not want to include my clicks as visitor traffic and skew the statistics.
Not to sound like a downer, but it takes a while to start receiving traffic at a new site, unless you have an existing following or strong marketing plan starting from day 1 of launch.
Unfortunately I’ve seen more than a few times new bloggers get super excited that their new blog is receiving visitors, when it fact it’s really just them viewing their published blog posts.
2. Track which links your visitors are clicking to leave your blog
This is now one of my favorite pieces of information that I can get from using a WordPress plugin for Google Analytics. By default, the Google Analytics tracking code does not track “events”.
Events can be all sorts of things that you define (and add additional code for). But for me, I want to know which links people are clicking to leave my blog.
What does that all mean? Why is that important?
In Google Analytics you see statistics for how visitors got to your site, the “referrers”. They clicked on a link somewhere else to get to your blog.
So in reverse, you can track the links that people are clicking on to leave your site. This is useful for identifying which affiliate marketing links people are clicking on or any links in general that lead to other websites.
While you can use a affiliate link management plugin (such as Pretty Links), Amazon Affiliates does not allow this type of plugin to be used. By “tracking events”, you can see which links people are clicking.
Aside from affiliate marketing, it’s also interesting to see which of the links I included in an blog post that people are linking. This can indicate additional information that’s missing from my post or the types of information that spark interest with my readers.
Which WordPress Plugin can you use to install Google Analytics?
The WordPress Plugin that I use stop tracking logged in users (ME) and track outbound link clicks is Google Analyticator by SumoMe.
I’ve used it for years and honestly don’t setup the dashboard features because I use Google Analytics directly for deeper information.
And lesson learned, I didn’t realize the outbound traffic tracking wasn’t something that Google Analytics did by default. Once I found it, and realized how valuable it is, I was disappointed when the information wasn’t available through a simpler plugin I decided to try.
Over to you? Do you use a WordPress Plugin for Google Analytics?
Do you use a specific plugin to install Google Analytics on your blog? Or do you simply copy the tracking code into the header of your theme? Does tracking outbound link clicks sound like something that will be useful? I hope this was helpful to you and your blogging journey!