Stats – Stats – Stats. They can drive everything for your WordPress site. They can help you understand how visitors move around your site; how they got there in the first place; what are the most popular posts they are visiting; what browser and OS they are using. The list can go on and on.
I have spent a lot of time over the last few months looking for just the right plug-in to track stats on my WindowsObserver.com website and I think I may have hit the mother lode with my most recent discovery.
CyStats is written by Michael Weingaertner and has been downloaded from the WordPress.org Extend directory 32,435 times over the 23 months it has been available there. The last update was last October so it would be nice to see an update however, it works just fine with the current release of WordPress (2.8.4).
According to the author’s description CyStats provides:
- Bounce rate, ignore-by-cookie, ignore-by-ip/post-id/user_agent lists
- hits, visits for day/week/month/year – human or robots
- Top referring pages
- Most read categories and tags
- Most read, most commented posts
- Most read feeds, number of feed visits today
- Internal/external search words
- Operating systems
- Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly statistics
- 404 error requests
- Browsers/clients/tools/…, w/o. version numbers
- Template tags for most read posts, user count,…
- Optional IP-anonymizing
- Multi language support (currently English, German supported).
- Optional tracking of admin area visits
Set up and installation is very easy – just install in the normal manner either via FTP upload or update within your WordPress Admin Plug-in area. Once it is installed and activated the first stop should be the Options under Settings>CyStats. Here you can configure various database settings, statistics tracking (disable userlevel tracking, admin page stats or anonymize IP’s) as well as setting filtering cookies to block IP’s, User Agents and ignoring requests by page or post ID. This page also has the Delete All function and it is highlighted in bright red – do not use this unless you want to completely remove all CyStats info from your database.
On the lower left side of your Admin panel you will see a link for CyStats and a click on that will take you to the main menu for CyStats:
The Index page is broken down into:
Hits and Visits
Pages and Comments
Referrers and Search Words
The Blog page shows recently commented posts; most active comment authors, tags and categories as well as some database statistics for your WordPress site.
The Clients page breaks down as follows:
Browsers; Operating Systems; Browser versions and tools and scripts (including WordPress)
Robots and Tools; Unknown user agents
On the Referrer page you will find referrers today, yesterday, external referrers and search engine referrers:
The Robots and Tools page is another summary of visits broken down by search engines; email/feed readers; tools and scripts and the unknown user agents:
When you click on the Pages link you will find a summary of your most visited blog pages today; most visited overall; entry pages to your site; 404 error pages and page types (single, archive, feed, 404, home, page, month, category, search, author, day and year):
The last page is the Time page and this gives you a snapshot of your visitors per day; per hour; per weekday; per week; per month and per year. You also get hits per day; per week; per month and per year.
As you can see from the screenshots this is a very thorough tool and really does give you an in-depth snapshot of your sites visitors. That in turn can help you better layout your site, establish a plan to write on popular subjects and focus your efforts on the areas of your WordPress site that really draws those visitors. I like this plug-in above others that I have used because it breaks things down between non bot and bot visits which gives me a better idea of human eyes on my site as opposed to machines which can be misleading.
I am very interested in hearing what your favorite methods are for tracking visitors on your website.