Getting Analytical with your WordPress

A client asked about getting Google Analytics set up for their CMS before an upcoming trade event. If you don’t know Analytics it’s Googles tracking and analysis service for web sites.  as they put it

Google Analytics shows you how people found your site, how they explored it and
how you can enhance their visitor experience. With this information, you can
improve your website return on investment, increase conversions and make more
money on the web.

I remembered a plugin I had seen for WordPress and thought I’d take a deeper look into the integration. The plugin you can find here and it requires WordPress 2.7 or higher. Installation is trivial on the wordpress side and requires activation and the key that you get issued when you sign up to Google Analytics here.

Once the plugin is activated – you need to visit the Dashboard pages and check that the javascript code that the plugin inserts in your site is indeed communicating with the Google servers. In practice this could be a few hours or more – so budget overnight if you are doing this for someone like a client.

The highlights of the Analytics output are being able to see where the visits came from – what browsers – whether they are new or repeat and how they went through your site. Details are given graphically and in map  form to allow you to look more closely at usage.

There is a good support page here for understanding some of the measures and terms used but for the most part the terms are fairly simple to understand. Of interest to most sites will be the bounce rate which Google define as


Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site
entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert. You can minimize bounce rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.