If you’re someone who checks your stats at least twice a day, then you have probably noticed that none of the analytical programs match up. AWStats is usually inflated and WordPress goes through phases where it’s higher or lower than Google Analytics. Personally, I’ve had a lot of issues with Google Analytics, which has traditionally been the industry standard. Despite friends telling me how great it is, I’ve had problems with it consistently working. Below is a mini-breakdown of each of the popular programs, as well as their pros and cons (based on my own experiences).
This program is typically offered through your host and tracks every single ping to your host files. This includes the normal hits, such as search engine results and direct website hits, but it also means that it tracks your own activity within the dashboard. You do have the option to ignore your own IP address but it’s not a super-simple thing to do.
- Logs all pings
- Differentiates between robots/autocrawlers and actual hits
- Allows you to ignore your own IP Address
- Not user friendly
- Does not give details about why or how you show up in search engines
Final thought: Great for keeping up with trends on your site, but not great for detailed breakdowns.
This is a built-in program that comes with WordPress’ Jetpack. It has a great visual representation and allows for easy one-click access in the admin toolbar at the top of your site (when logged in). It also lets you know the top keyword searches, pages, referral links, and more. It also allows you to see summaries, but they are predetermined (as in, you can’t select a date range).
- Built-in – No work necessary!
- Easy to navigate with multiple options
- Summaries available
- Great mobile app
- Automatically excludes your own views
- Summaries are pre-set (all-time, month, week, day)
Final thought: It’s the best option for WordPress users.
- Easily disabled
Final thought: While it used to be the best option, it’s becoming increasingly unreliable.
Regardless of which program you use, keep in mind that the most important things to keep track of are trends. Are your views trending upward? Are people commenting more and more? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably in good shape. If you’re like me, however, you’re interested in actual numbers, and hopefully the above list will help you decide which program works best for you.