Tracking your website visitors is extremely important as it can provide valuable information on how they use your website, which content they like, where they come from, etc. Having these insights can grow your business, improve your reach, and increase your sales.
Website traffic is the most critical indicator of your website performance. Tracking allows you to see what works and how your visitors behave, enabling you to make correct changes to your website and grow your visitor base. More visitors – more opportunities to turn them to customers or subscribers.
For example, tracking your website visitors can help:
- See the most popular posts so you can deliver similar content for maximum engagement
- Locate the source where visitors found your website so you can potentially invest in ads to grow your traffic (it could be a Google search, a third-party website, or Facebook, etc.)
- Know the location of the majority of your visitors so you can provide personalized content or translate your website to that language for maximum potential
Once you have insight into your audience, you can properly focus your marketing and sales efforts and ad investments on proper channels.
So, how do you track website visitors with WordPress?
Set Up Google Analytics
In this article, we’ll use Google Analytics, as it’s the most powerful website tracking software on the market, and it’s completely free! If you already have a Google account, you can log in to Analytics here; otherwise – make sure to sign up for a Google account.
For this article’s purposes, we’ll use the older version of Google Analytics – Universal Analytics. Google recently pushed out an update for their analytics software called Google Analytics 4, and that’s the default option now; however, it’s still new and has some issues, so we prefer the old version.
Please follow this article to set up your website property on Universal Analytics.
Once you’ve completed the setup, we need to install the plugin to track website visitors easily. Google Analytics interface can be confusing and convoluted, so we prefer the third-party plugin for this.
In this article, we’ll use the free version of the MonsterInsights plugin.
There are several ways to track visitors on the WordPress website, but MonsterInsights is one of the best plugins on the market, and it allows you to connect Google Insights with your website without any coding skills.
MonsterInsights also has a premium version that unlocks all features, but the free version is excellent for beginners.
Log in to your WordPress Dashboard, head to Plugins > Add New, fill in MonsterInsights in the search bar in the top-right corner and click Install Now:
Once installed, click Activate to activate the plugin:
MonsterInsights Plugin Set Up
The plugin will then take you to the MonsterInsights plugin’s dashboard. Click Launch the Wizard! button to start the setup:
Select the category of your website, and click Save and Continue to go to the next step:
Click Connect MonsterInsights to start the linking process. This procedure links the plugin with your Google Analytics account.
Next, select the previously created (or your existing) Google account:
To get data from Google Analytics, MonsterInsights needs to have proper permissions. Make sure to read all the permissions you’re granting MonsterInsights, and if you agree – click the Allow button to proceed further.
Google will redirect you back to the setup wizard, where you can review the data. Click the Complete Connection button:
Next, you can customize the basic options for the plugin. Click Save and continue when ready:
The plugin will then ask you if you want to install optional addons and offer WP Forms (the same developer’s excellent plugin). We don’t need either currently, so click Save and continue and Skip this Step respectively:
That’s it! We’ve completed the setup, so click Finish Setup & Exit Wizard to get back to your WordPress Dashboard.
Once back in your WordPress Dashboard, click View Reports to see the reports page:
Please note that it will take 24 hours for Google to show the tracking information about your visitors once you activate the Analytics.
Viewing Visitor Reports
MonsterInsights offers various reports to help you gain data on your visitors, and they vary on your MonsterInsights plan. However, even the free version saves you the hassle and time going through the Google Analytics console.
To find your reports, head to Insights > Reports in your WordPress Dashboard. We’ll break down what each section does below.
Note: You will need a Pro or Plus plans to view most of the reports.
This is the reports’ main page and shows various global information about your visitors.
Here, you’ll be able to see:
- Total number of sessions and pageviews
- Average session duration and bounce rate
- Which Device visitors used to access your website (you can use this information for the optimization of your website)
- Breakdown of new versus returning visitors
- Top 10 countries to find the region where most of the traffic is from
- Top 10 websites (referrals) that sent traffic to your website (this allows you to try guest post opportunities, form partnerships, etc.)
- Top 10 posts/pages that attract most visitors to your website
If you have the Pro plan, you can select the custom date range; otherwise, you can always see the last 30 days.
The Publishers report provides statistics on your landing pages, the number of visits to them, average duration, bounce rate, etc. Knowing this information allows you to work on new content topics to improve web traffic. It also offers information on the most popular outbound and affiliate links on your website, and if you have downloadable content – you can track that as well.
The Publishers report also shows your visitors’ age and gender information, which can help you target the ads on Facebook to the right audience, for example.
Search Console report helps you find out which search queries your visitors’ input in Google to locate your website. The report shows the top 50 google search terms for your website with their number of clicks, CTR (click-through-rate), impressions, and average position.
This report can help you optimize your website for similar keywords and boost traffic.
If your website is an online store, then MonsterInsights can track the eCommerce performance as well. The Ecommerce report allows you to see:
- Most popular products that generate numerous sales
- Number of transactions
- Overview of the conversion rate
- The Average order value
Additionally, the Top Conversion Sources section shows referral websites that send the most traffic to your website. This information can entice you to promote your store on those websites further to boost traffic.
This report allows you to track custom interactions on your website, and it’s not available by default in Google Analytics. You can configure Dimensions to track the most popular categories, post types, tags, focus keywords, authors, etc. That way, you can 100% learn what your visitors like the most on your website.
The Real-Time report shows the currently active users on your website, their geographic location, top pages, and top referral sources for them.
The last available report is Site Speed, and it uses Google’s PageSpeed Insights to provide you information on how to improve your website’s performance. With it, you can:
- Web site’s overall performance score
- How long it takes visitors to interact with your website
- Perform an audit of the homepage and see the server’s response time
- Gain insights on how to improve core metrics that Google uses to rank your website
Tracking your website visitors is critical for a long-term strategy for your website. It allows you to focus on essential metrics that can boost your traffic, sales, and your business.