Knowing how visitors use your website is an important part of finding new opportunities to connect with your readers and increase your income—whether that’s getting more people to read your content, building a community, or selling a product. But it can also be overwhelming because there is so much data available. How do you know which tracking data is important?
Take Google Analytics, for example. It’s a powerful tool with countless filters and reports. We use it for tracking our sites, as do most bloggers. In fact, it’s estimated that 85%+ of all websites use Google Analytics1.
While Google Analytics puts a wealth of data at your fingertips, it can also be daunting to wade through. Sometimes what you really need are simple, quick reports that help you with content creation, like user demographics and behavior-focused data.
MonsterInsights for site tracking
That’s where the MonsterInsights plugin comes in. It gives you access to the reports that are important to bloggers and content creators right from within your WordPress dashboard.
Whether you’re focused on content creation or product sales, MonsterInsights offers powerful features to help you track and analyze your traffic:
- Quick & easy setup without having to touch the code
- Real-time stats
- Demographic & interest reports to better understand your audience
- Custom tracking by authors, categories, tags, and other custom events
- Integrated e-commerce tracking for WooCommerce, Member Press, and Easy Digital Downloads
That said, it’s important to note that any plugin that’s adding metrics to your WordPress dashboard is going to slow it down and create an additional server load. The benefits may still outweigh that risk (especially if you’re keeping your site lean in other ways). But it’s something you should be aware of.
Installation & configuration
To install MonsterInsights, head to Plugins → Add New and search for MonsterInsights. Click Install Now and then Activate.
Once you’ve installed and activated it, it’s time to configure the settings:
Step 1: On your left sidebar, look for the Insights option and click on Settings.
On the first tab (General), click on the Connect MonsterInsights button. This will prompt you to log in with your Google account and give MonsterInsights permission to connect with Google Analytic. Select the website you want to track and click Complete Connection.
Step 2: Next, scroll down and click the Launch Setup Wizard button to walk through an easy 6-step configuration process. This wizard will highlight the features available with MonsterInsights Pro (the paid version of the plugin) so you can decide whether it makes sense to upgrade. If you have other tracking code installed on your site, the wizard will also prompt you to find and remove that.
Step 3: Finally, take time to understand the reports available. See a quick overview on your main WordPress Dashboard. Or dig into the stats by going to Insights → Reports.
It’s that easy!
Free site tracking reports
With the free version of this plugin, you can view a rolling, month-long report of these metrics:
- A session refers to all of the interactions a user has with your website within a single visit. The Sessions section of your report tells you how many sessions occurred altogether during the past month.
- Pageviews, on the other hand, count every single post or page ‘hit’ separately. This is an overall number regardless of whether they were all visited by one person or 12 different readers.
- Avg. Session Duration tells you how long visitors remain on your site, on average.
- Bounce Rate refers to the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing just one page.
- The New vs. Returning Visitor report helps you quickly see what percentage of your visitors are visiting your site for the first time. Google counts visits from the same user within two years as returning visits. However, visits from separate devices or browsers, or after clearing cookies, are counted as new visits.
- With the growing usage of mobile devices, the Device Breakdown reports helps you see what percentage of your readers come to your site from desktop, tablet, or mobile devices.
- Top 10 Countries lists the countries from which you had the most visits, or sessions.
- Top 10 Referrals shows how visitors found your website. For example, if a visitor clicks through to a post on your site from a link on Facebook, Facebook would show up as the traffic source.
- Top Posts/Pages shows which page are the most popular on your site. These are often popular posts or landing pages you’re promoting. You can use this information when planning topics and content ideas for future posts.
If you’re looking for more advanced tracking, MonsterInsights Pro will add form tracking, e-commerce tracking (for WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and MemberPress), custom dimensions, and more.
Whether you want tracking stats on your dashboard or not, it’s important to track visitor demographics and behavior so you can analyze, understand, and respond to reader behavior. If Google Analytics is overwhelming to you, MonsterInsights offers an easy alternative right on your WordPress dashboard!
How do you track your traffic?
Do you use other plugins or apps? Do you use advanced Google Analytics features?
Morgan is responsible for interacting with and supporting clients at every stage of their relationship with Agathon. He loves people, and his empathy, communication, and humor make him a favorite among our clients.