Every website should have some form of visitor tracking. The analytics data lets you know if you are providing relevant content and engaging your visitors. Google Analytics is the most popular solution and while there is a very expensive enterprise plan, most sites are fine with the free version.
Google Analytics has a lot of reporting options built in, but people find the interface complex and confusing. For this reason, a popular approach is to have a basic set of reports available in the WordPress dashboard. Many of the plugins that provide onsite reports are premium plugins or plugins that ask for a lot of permissions, but there are a couple of free plugins that work well. One of those is the Analytify plugin. In this review I will provide an overview, walk-through the install, configuration, and show the report options. The review assumes you already have a Google Analytics account setup for the site. If not, you can refer to this Analytify knowledge base article or use one of the many online guides.
Analytify Free vs Pro
The skinny on free vs pro is that free is good enough for most sites. See the summary and conclusion section at the end for my opinions on when you might want the pro version.
There is a free version of Analytify in the WordPress plugin directory. It is easy to setup (see below), will automatically include your Google Analytics code if desired, and provides a good number of onsite reports.
The free version has more than 50,000 active installs, more than 290 five star ratings, and support threads are answered.
Analytify Free Install and Configuration
You install Analytify the same way you do any plugin from the WordPress directory. Click Add New and search for “Analytify”. Once activated there is a new admin menu. You will need to go to the Analytify / Settings menu to configure the plugin.
The first time you go to the Settings menu you will see a setup wizard. On the first screen you have the option to allow the plugin to collect usage statistics or “Skip This Step”, which will skip the opt-in.
On the next page of the wizard you are prompted to connect the site to your Google Analytics account.
When you click the green button, you are shown the Google login box. You will need to login into the Google account associated with the site and give Analytify read access.
Once you give authorization, you can then configure the plugin. There are three settings screens. On the profile screen you can toggle to automatically include the Google Analytics tracking code, if you don’t already have it installed. You also need to select the account profile for the site.
On the Admin settings screen, you can choose if you want an analytics report option under posts and pages.
On the Advanced settings page there are some settings that might require more thought. The first option is to use your own Google project API keys. This is highly recommended for the pro version but not a requirement for the free version. I asked the Analytify team about this and they replied that Google recommends people have their own keys. They said that most free users are using the built-in Analytify keys and once in a while there is an error as a result. So I guess if you get a connection error they you might want to go through the process of creating your own keys.
Analytify Free Reports
Once the setup is done, you can go to the Dashboard menu. The reports can be run by a user-set time frame. The free plugin includes reports for:
- General statics summary
- List of the top countries
- List of top cities
- Browser, operating system, and desktop / tablet / mobile stats
- List of top referrers
- Social media referrers
- Keywords used to find you
- Bounce rates
Here is a screenshot of the reports dashboard:
The dashboard widget might be preferable if you have setup the dashboard for information and reporting, or if users are familiar with getting the site statistics information there.
You can set the date range and there are several summary reports available from the drop-down.
The premium version is an addon to the free version, so you need to have both installed. The premium version adds additional reports for:
- Graph for number of visitors
- Graph for number of views
- Real time stats
- Campaign Tracking
- Email Notifications
- Google Analytics Goals tracking and dashboard
- Enhanced E-commerce Google Analytics tracking for WooCommerce
- Enhanced E-commerce Google Analytics tracking for Easy Digital Downloads
- Shortcodes for showing the reports in more places
Note that some of the premium features are available as addons. The pricing plans for premium are tiered by number of sites. The addons can be purchased separately or in bundles.
Summary and Conclusions
Overall, I found the setup of the free version pretty straightforward and haven’t had any issues with the free version. In the past there have been a few times with the premium version where the reports took a long time to load, perhaps because of real time reporting (?). That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore and I’ve not noticed any slow down with the free version.
As you can see from the list of reports and screenshots, the free version covers all of the basic needs of most websites. The onsite reports will be useful for clients who just need basic reports and for site-owners to quickly see how the content is performing and to have some insight into their visitors. The premium version seems most useful when you want advanced campaign tracking or when you have an Easy Digital Downloads or WooCommerce store.
I hope you have found this quick walk-through helpful.