Top Options for Showing Google Analytics and Other Visitor Metrics on WP Sites
There are many ways to add Google Analytics or similar user metrics to a WordPress website. But which plugins offer the best analytics dashboards to simplify review and analysis directly within WordPress?
This post looks at several of the top options for adding analytics dashboards to WordPress websites.
Last Updated: Jun 5, 2020
WordPress and Website Visitor Analytics
Focus on Data-Driven Marketing & Website Optimization
If you’re a WordPress website owner or webmaster in need of good analytics data, it’s because you understand the vital importance of your website to your business, organization, or non-profit mission.
You want to use visitor metrics and related data to make better and more-informed decisions about website content, layout, promotional campaigns, and website user experience.
You want to make your website a better ‘marketing machine’… improving it continuously based on good visitor data and insights.
WordPress Site Owners Are a Lucky Bunch
The great news for WordPress website owners is that we have a huge number of plugins and other methods for adding visitor analytics to our sites.
I introduce a number of good analytics options here. Some of these are great for adding Google Analytics to a WordPress site.
Others offer non Google-based alternatives to measuring website activity.
Several of these are included below as well, but with more focus on the ‘dashboard’ aspects.
Why Use Analytics Dashboards in WordPress?
Most website owners and admins don’t live and breathe analytics data each and every day.
They may be a little intimidated by all the reporting options in the native Google Analytics interface.
Or they may be strapped for time and just want an easier way to see essential visitor stats in their WordPress environment.
In any case, they value having a simple, straightforward, and more accessible way to view and interpret their WordPress visitor metrics.
That’s how analytics dashboards directly within WordPress can be a huge help and time saver.
Here are several of the top WordPress analytics dashboard options that should be on your short list for consideration.
A Popular Analytics Dashboard Option
The MonsterInsights plugin is a clear favorite for adding Google Analytics support to a WordPress website.
You can use it as a simple way to add GA tracking code to a website.
And, if you configure it to connect directly to your Google Analytics account, you can then use its dashboard functionality to report key visitor metrics right inside your WordPress admin area.
As I mentioned above, this means you won’t have to log into Google Analytics each time you want to check your most important visitor stats.
(You can still access your GA reports directly, of course. That’s always helpful when you want to drill down further into your analytics data, create special filters and segments, etc.)
Here’s a quick overview video for MonsterInsights.
MonsterInsights Video Intro
MonsterInsights Free vs. Pro Versions
The free level of MonsterInsights is very powerful, and may be all you ever need for a single website.
However, the paid levels add important functionality that many will find enticing and valuable. Each level builds upon the features in the lower level(s) and adds more. In other words, you get everything included in the lower level(s), plus the level you’re paying for.
The paid tiers for MonsterInsights are:
For small businesses and publishers who want to push their analytics to the next level for a single website.
This level adds new reporting insights, including scroll tracking (very useful!), and enhanced link tracking.
MonsterInsights Plus Pricing: $99.50 per year
For ecommerce sites and webmasters with multiple websites needing even more capabilities. Covers up to 5 sites.
The pro level adds support for lots of ecommerce needs, including GA ecommerce reporting and integration with key platforms such as WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, MemberPress, and LifterLMS.
Other features unlocked at this level include form conversion tracking, author, category, and tags tracking, GA custom dimensions, and Google Optimize support.
MonsterInsights Pro Pricing: $199.50 per year
As the name suggests, this tier is for agencies who need advanced analytics functionality for multiple client accounts.
This level adds support for up to 25 websites. Includes premium support, WordPress multisite support, and client management features.
MonsterInsights Agency Pricing: $399.50 per year
If you’re interested in using a full-featured plugin for Google Analytics support, MonsterInsights is definitely worth checking out.
As I mentioned above, I’ve been using it for years and it’s been working great all along.
The free version is enough for many websites, and the paid tiers are carefully structured and priced to appeal to their target audiences.
Visitor Analytics IO
A Non-Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress
For an alternative to Google Analytics on WordPress sites, Visitor Analytics IO is worth a look. It includes all the essential visitor metrics and organizes them into a clean dashboard presentation for you.
See the intro video directly below for a closer look.
Visitor Analytics offers a limited free option (up to 1000 site visits per month), followed by four paid plans:
- Basic – up to 100,000 visits/month with 15 visitor recordings and 1 heatmap for under US $6 monthly
- Advanced – up to 250,000 visits/month with 25,000 visitor recordings and 15 heatmaps for under US $10 monthly
- Pro – up to 500,000 visits/month with 50,000 visitor recordings and 30 heatmaps for under US $20 per month
- Pro Plus – up to 750,000 visits/month with 75,000 visitor recordings and 50 heatmaps for under US $30 per month
The four paid tiers include all the core product features and full online support.
Visitor Analytics is a credible and privacy-focused alternative to Google Analytics.
It has a solid core feature set that includes nice dashboard functionality directly within the WordPress admin area.
Pricing is reasonable for the capabilities provided. The whitelabel options are attractive for agencies as well.
Multi-Purpose Plugin with Visitor Stats and Dashboards
Jetpack was one of the very first plugins I encountered and used when I first got started with WordPress. It’s a big, multi-purpose plugin from the team at Automattic.
It’s sort of a ‘do-everything’ plugin, covering website security, performance, management, visitor stats, content promotion, and other things important to WordPress site owners.
Jetpack’s core features are always free. Of course, there’s a paid upgrade path as well.
Jetpack’s services are provided and hosted by WordPress.com, so a free account there is also required in order to connect your WordPress.org site to Jetpack.
As mentioned above, Jetpack is an extremely broad plugin that covers lots of WordPress website needs.
Purely from a visitor stats perspective, Jetpack provides the following:
- Easy setup and connection to WordPress.com, with no additional scripts or coding required
- Doesn’t require Google Analytics, but can easily co-exist alongside GA
- Reports all the most important visitor metrics, including page and post stats, time period metrics, visitor geographic locations, referrers, search terms, etc.
- Stats are available on your hosted WordPress dashboard and also on WordPress.com
- Also available via mobile app
Jetpack starts with an “always free” level, followed by three paid tiers: Personal, Premium, and Professional. Site stats are available at all levels.
The paid tiers range from $39 to $299 yearly cost. Plans can be modified at any time, and there’s a 30-day full money-back refund guarantee.
Features vary per pricing tier, of course. They are organized into 6 areas: WordPress Security, Performance, Traffic & Revenue, Site Activity, free WordPress Themes, and Support.
Generally, you get more in most of these areas as you bump up from one tier to the next.
Sometimes using a single multi-function plugin from a trusted developer is better and easier than cobbling together a bunch of single-purpose WordPress plugins from various developers.
That’s when Jetpack warrants serious consideration.
If your main priority at the moment is getting good visitor metrics into your WordPress admin view, then Jetpack may be overkill for you.
It does a lot more than just provide site visitor stats.
But, if you want decent visitor stats and dashboards, plus several of the other capabilities provided by Jetpack, then it’s definitely worth a closer look.
Simple Visitor Stats Dashboard Plus Data Privacy
Built by a small distributed team based in The Netherlands and other corners of the globe, Koko Analytics earns a solid 5 stars so far and has 5000+ active installations.
This is a privacy-friendly WordPress analytics platform that does not rely on any 3rd-party services. GDPR-compliant and no Google Analytics required.
And, as you can see in the screenshot image above, the Koko Analytics dashboard is easily accessible right there in your WordPress admin view.
Koko Analytics Summary
Koko Analytics is a straightforward, ‘minimalist’ solution for any WordPress site owner wanting core analytics functionality without giving up data ownership or visitor privacy.
If you need a core set of visitor metrics inside your WordPress dashboard and don’t want the added complexity or potential data privacy concerns of Google Analytics, then this plugin may be just right for you.
Comprehensive Analytics with Dashboard Views
Matomo (formerly Piwik) is an open-source, non-Google analytics platform that is focused on its customers having 100% data ownership and strong user privacy protections.
Matomo is used on over 1.4 million websites in over 190 countries. They have cloud-based as well an on-premises options for data storage.
See their video overview below.
Matomo Intro Video
Matomo Dashboard View
The screenshot below shows a typical dashboard from the native Matomo interface.
If you want to pull key Matomo stats directly into your WordPress dashboard, then also take a look at this additional plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-piwik/
Matomo pricing varies by tier level and also by cloud vs. on-premises hosting plan selected.
Cloud hosting comes at three levels: Essential, Business, and Enterprise. Pricing here ranges from US $19 per month to $TBD (customized) at the Enterprise level.
Cloud-hosted data is stored in Frankfurt, Germany.
WordPress installations are self-hosted (on premises), so everything runs on your WordPress server.
All core features are included for WordPress installations, including WooCommerce analytics.
Premium options include:
- Search Engine Keywords Performance ($79/year)
- Funnels ($99/year)
- Users Flow ($39/year)
- Heatmap and Session Recording ($119/year)
- Paid Advertising Performance ($89/year)
- Custom Reports ($119/year)
- Forms ($89/year)
- Media Analytics ($89/year)
- Multi-Channel Conversion Attribution ($39/year)
- Cohorts ($59/year)
Optional features that are *not* available for WordPress installations include Activity Log, White Label, A/B Testing, Roll-Up Reporting, and the SAML and LDAP integrations.
Matomo is a good option for those interested in a non-GA approach to website analytics, while still having access to flexible visitor metrics dashboards.
With strong data privacy protections, flexible hosting options for WordPress and non-WordPress sites, and a menu of paid add-ons, Matomo is an important player in the web analytics industry.
Analytics Dashboard with Locally-Stored Visitor Stats
Built by VeronaLabs, WP Statistics is another option for website owners who want comprehensive user stats that are stored locally on their own WordPress server / installation.
As shown below, the stats dashboard for WP Statistics is integrated directly into the familiar WordPress admin area.
The ‘Screen Options’ check boxes at the top will also look familiar to WP admins. These options let you include only the metrics areas you’re most interested in as part of the high-level dashboard view.
Of course, you can always drill down deeper into specific reporting areas in WP Statistics.
Here’s an example of the Top Pages report.
WP Statistics Conclusion
WP Statistics is a highly-rated, straightforward WordPress visitor stats plugin for those who want essential website traffic metrics accessible right inside their WP admin area.
With a good basic free level and a handful of low-cost premium add-ons, WP Statistics fits in nicely as a self-hosted WordPress website analytics option that also offers a flexible and configurable dashboard view.
More Buzz for Your WordPress Dashboard
Developed by the WordPress plugin pros at WPMU DEV, Beehive Analytics has evolved from a paid-only analytics plugin to a free version with access to other pro plugins via the WPMU membership plan.
Beehive adds a broad range of analytics reports directly to the WordPress dashboard, all based on your existing Google Analytics setup. Simply follow the directions to connect Beehive to your website’s GA property to get started.
Here’s a quick product screenshot. Reporting areas include the familiar metrics: Sessions, Users, Pageviews, Pages/Session, Average Session Duration, and Bounce Rates.
Beehive Analytics Pricing
Beehive is free, with no requirement to add paid options.
WPMU does offer good paid plugins for other functions important to WordPress users. So you may see some promotional messages for these when using Beehive.
Beehive Analytics Conclusion
WPMU is a known and trusted WordPress development shop. I consider Beehive to be a strong free option for adding Google Analytics reports to WordPress dashboards.
Other Analytics Dashboard Plugins
Honorable Mentions to Consider
Aside from the dashboard plugins I’ve profiled above, here are a few more worth a closer look.
Most of these will present key visitor stats directly within the main WordPress dashboard, or via another reporting option in the main WP admin interface.
As is common with WordPress plugins, many have pro or premium (paid) levels that add more functionality on top of the free version.
Lots of Options for WordPress Analytics Dashboards
As I’ve tried to show above, WordPress users have a variety of good options for monitoring visitor metrics directly within their site admin areas.
An effective analytics dashboard available within your WordPress environment will save you time and help you make better business and website optimization decisions.
All without requiring a separate login to an analytics platform, such as GA.
Some WordPress dashboard tools pull in existing Google Analytics data, while others use a non-Google approach to collect and report visitor stats. Either way may work fine for you.
In any case, I hope this article helps you find the best analytics reporting approach for your website.
Good luck with your selections and implementation. Please drop a comment below if you have any feedback or other thoughts to add.
Comments and Feedback
Do you use an analytics dashboard plugin on your WordPress website?
Which one, and why?
Should I add any others to my discussion above?
Feel free to add your thoughts below!
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