How do you know how many visitors came to your site today? In the past week? The past month? There are plenty of solutions to this, and in this article, I’m going to compare two of the most popular solutions:
- Google Analytics
- WordPress Jetpack stats
Let’s compare the installation of the two.
Installing Google Analytics
Alternatively, you can read my earlier tutorial on how to install Google Analytics without a plugin. I prefer this last solution simply because it doesn’t depend on any specific theme (assuming you don’t use functions.php for your custom code).
Installing Jetpack Stats
WordPress stats via Jetpack on the other hand is enabled by installing the Jetpack plugin, and connecting your site to Automattic’s WordPress.com. Once done, there are two ways you can check your stats on the desktop.
The first is with the WordPress header bar that shows up whenever you visit your site as an admin like this:
The second method is when you explicitly visit the stats page from the WordPress dashboard by clicking “Jetpack -> Site Stats” as shown here:
The stats on this page are pretty basic. You can get more detailed information by clicking the button labeled “Show Me” like this:
This will take you to WordPress.com where you can see all your WordPress sites that are connected to Jetpack at the same time.
So much for the installation process. Here are the pros and cons of both Google Analytics, as well as Jetpack.
Google Analytics Pros
There’s no beating Google in this. GA stats are far more detailed than anything Jetpack has to offer. You can slice and dice data like no other
Track Events, Conversions, and Goals
GA allows you to track things like clicks, views for a specific page, and even your sales if you integrate your shopping cart. There’s really nothing like it.
Bottom line: For pure functionality, you can’t beat Google Analytics.
Google Analytics Cons
The trade-off between power and usability.
Google Analytics Mobile App Sucks
GA has a mobile app of course. But it has around 20% of the power of the desktop app. You can’t filter stuff properly, and it’s a pain to use.
No Good Mobile Widget
In addition to the above, there’s no decent GA widget that allows you to see your stats at a glance with just a widget on your home screen.
Bottom line: Google Analytic’s mobile experience is bad.
Jetpack WordPress Stats Pros
Easy to install
Stats are Easy to See
Every time you visit your site, you can see the bar graph as shown in the above screenshot. It allows you to track what’s happening all the time.
GREAT Mobile Widget
For me, this is the killer feature. I can just have a mobile widget on the home screen of my device that constantly shows me the number of visits. Here’s a screenshot:
This is by far the easiest way to quickly check your stats and know how many visitors have come to your site.
Jetpack Stats Cons
There’s just one really – it’s not as powerful as Google Analytics. There’s no point listing the number of features in GA that are missing in Jetpack. It’s too much. Let’s leave it at that!
So Which One to Use?
I personally use both! I need to have Jetpack installed anyway since it’s such a cool plugin that does so many things. So I just leave the stats on. And I need Google Analytics to track critical events on my site like clicks, and other things.