Documentation Settings Page Basic Tracking Settings

Basic Tracking Settings

This document provides detailed explanations and guidance for each setting within the Basic Tracking section of the WP Statistics plugin. It’s where you set up how the plugin will collect important information about who visits your WordPress site and what they do there. The choices you make in this section are really important for making sure the information you collect is correct and useful.

User Presence Monitoring

The User Presence Monitoring section provides website administrators with real-time insights into their users’ online activity. By enabling and configuring these settings, you can monitor the current presence of users on your site, understanding how many are active at any given moment and how frequently their presence is checked and updated by the plugin.

Display Online Users

When enabled, this feature allows you to see a display of the number of users currently online on your website. This information can be viewed directly in the WordPress dashboard.

The display of online users is updated based on the frequency set by the “Frequency of Online User Checks” option.

  • Example: If you manage an online store with sales events, you might want to see how many users are online during a sale. By enabling this, you could immediately see if a sale is drawing in users as expected.

Frequency of Online User Checks

This setting controls how often WP Statistics will check for online users, with the frequency specified in seconds. By setting this interval, you can balance the need for up-to-date information with the performance considerations of your website.

The frequency setting should reflect how dynamic your website is and how real-time you need the online user data to be. A lower number means more frequent checks, which is more resource-intensive but provides more immediate data.

  • Example: For a website with a lot of traffic and a lot of content being consumed in real-time, such as a breaking news site, you might set the frequency to 60 seconds. This would provide a near-real-time count of online users, allowing you to see the immediate impact of published content.

Record All Traffic

This toggle determines whether the plugin should record all traffic, including visits from bots and web crawlers, or just human visitors. Recording all traffic can be useful for understanding the full scope of your site’s reach, including non-human entities that may index or interact with your content.

For accurate user presence monitoring, you may opt only to record human traffic to prevent skewing the data with bot activity. However, if you are interested in the total traffic, including bots for SEO or other purposes, then enabling this option would be beneficial.

  • Example: If you are primarily interested in genuine user engagement, you might choose to disable this feature to filter out any bot traffic. This ensures your online user count reflects actual people, not automated scripts or crawlers.

Visitor Analytics

This section provides a suite of tools for tracking and analyzing how visitors interact with your website. These analytics play a crucial role in understanding user behavior, gauging content performance, and making data-driven decisions to enhance user experience. By leveraging these settings, website administrators can obtain valuable insights into page popularity, visitor counts, and specific user interactions with site content.

Track Page Views

Enabling this feature allows the tracking of page view counts, which reflects the total number of times each page on your website is viewed. This is a fundamental metric for assessing which parts of your site are attracting the most attention.

Page view data can help you understand content popularity, identify trends, and evaluate the effectiveness of your layout and navigation structure. This information is particularly useful for content creators and marketers looking to optimize their content strategy.

  • Example: If you notice that your blog posts about “healthy recipes” are receiving significantly more views than other categories, you might decide to focus more on creating content related to health and nutrition.

Monitor Unique Visitors

This setting differentiates individual visitors to determine the distinct number of users who have visited your site. It is essential for understanding the reach of your website beyond just page views.

Unique visitor tracking can help distinguish between new and returning users, which is valuable for evaluating the loyalty of your audience and the growth of your user base over time.

  • Example: Over a month, if you receive 10,000 page views and 3,000 unique visitors, it indicates that, on average, each visitor is viewing more than three pages on your site.

Record User Page Visits (formerly Track Page Visits)

When activated, this feature will log each page visit made by logged-in users, along with their user ID. It is an advanced tool for understanding individual user engagement and tracking user journeys through your site.

This option is particularly useful for membership sites, online courses, or any website that requires users to log in. It enables the site administrators to track the activity of individual users, which can inform personalized marketing strategies, customer service initiatives, and content creation.

  • Example: If you run an e-commerce site, tracking user page visits can show you which products a user viewed before making a purchase. This insight can be used for personalized product recommendations and targeted promotions.

Note on Privacy Compliance: It is important to be aware of privacy regulations such as the GDPR when tracking user activity. Ensure you have obtained explicit consent from your users to collect and process their data. Your privacy policy should clearly outline what data is being collected, the purpose of the collection, and how it will be used. Transparency and compliance with data protection laws are not only mandatory but also build trust with your users.

Related Guide: Removing User IDs from Your Database

Display User Visit Logs

This option, when enabled, adds a column in the WordPress admin’s user list to display the visit logs for easy access and review. It is a convenient feature for site administrators to quickly view a log of user visits without the need for complex queries or database access.

With this setting turned on, you can see a user’s visit history directly in the WordPress dashboard. This can be particularly useful for support and customer service teams to track user engagement and troubleshoot any issues reported by users.

  • Example: If a user contacts support with a question about a specific page or product they can’t find, the support team can use the visit logs to see if the user has visited the relevant page and guide them accordingly.

Content Engagement Metrics

The section focuses on measuring and analyzing how users interact with the content on your website. This suite of metrics provides insights into which pieces of content are capturing user interest, how deeply users are engaging with the content, and the overall effectiveness of different types of content.

Count Page Visits

This feature, when enabled, will track the number of visits for each page, providing a straightforward metric to gauge the popularity of specific content on your site.

Understanding page visit counts can help you identify which topics or types of content are most appealing to your audience, allowing you to refine your content strategy to produce more of what your users prefer.

  • Example: If a page titled “10 Tips for Organic Gardening” receives a high number of visits, it indicates that your audience is interested in organic gardening. You might then decide to create more content around organic gardening tips, tools, or techniques to further engage your audience.

Monitor All Content Types

This setting ensures that data is collected from all content types on your website, not just posts and pages. It includes custom post types, which are often used for portfolios, testimonials, products, and more.

By monitoring all content types, you can get a complete picture of engagement across your website. This is especially useful for sites with diverse content offerings, as it allows for comprehensive analysis and comparison across different sections.

  • Example: For a website that includes a blog, a portfolio, and an e-commerce section, enabling this feature would allow the site administrator to compare engagement across these different areas.

URL Simplification

The “URL Simplification” section in the WP Statistics plugin is designed to streamline the URLs recorded in your analytics by stripping away unnecessary parameters. This simplification helps in presenting cleaner data, making it easier to read and interpret the user behavior on your site. By removing the clutter that URL parameters can introduce, you get a clearer picture of your core content’s performance without the noise of tracking tags, session IDs, or other query strings that might be appended to URLs.

Strip URL Parameters

Notice

The “Strip URL Parameters” option has been deprecated as of version 14.5. For updated practices on managing URL query parameters, please refer to our detailed documentation.

This option, when activated, removes any parameters that follow a question mark (?) in the URL. URL parameters are often used to track the sources of traffic or to navigate to specific states of a page but can make analytics unnecessarily complex.

Stripping the URL parameters can significantly clean up the data in your analytics reports, making it easier to understand and analyze. It helps in accurately consolidating page views that should be counted as a single page, even if visited with different parameters.

  • Example: If users reach your “About Us” page through various campaigns with URLs like www.yoursite.com/about?campaign=spring_sale or www.yoursite.com/about?ref=partner_site, enabling this setting will count all those visits under the clean URL www.yoursite.com/about, giving you a more accurate count of page visits without campaign-specific parameters.

User Interface Preferences

This section provides options to customize how statistical data is displayed within the WordPress dashboard. This feature enhances the user experience for administrators by allowing them to control the visibility and presentation of analytics data directly in the backend, where they manage content.

Visits Chart Metabox

This option enables a metabox within the post/page editor that displays a chart of visits for the individual content being edited. It provides a graphical representation of the content’s performance over time directly in the editing screen.

The chart is a quick visual aid that helps content creators and editors see how well the content has performed historically, which can be useful for planning updates or creating new content that resonates with the audience.

  • Example: When editing a blog post, the Visits Chart Metabox would show the number of visits to that post each day for a set period. If you notice a peak in visits after a certain update, you might infer that the update was particularly effective and consider applying similar changes to other posts.

Visits Column

By enabling this, a “Visits” column will be added to the content list view in the admin area, such as the Posts or Pages screens. This allows you to see at a glance how many times each piece of content has been viewed.

This column is especially useful for quickly assessing which content is most popular or may need more promotion. It can help in prioritizing content updates and in making strategic decisions about where to focus your content efforts.

  • Example: In the list of blog posts, you would be able to see that a post titled “How to Start a Garden” has significantly more visits than others, suggesting that your audience is interested in gardening content. This might prompt you to create more gardening-related posts or feature this popular post more prominently on your site.

Visits in Publish Metabox

This setting adds a quick view of visit stats in the publish metabox of each content item, providing immediate access to visitor counts without navigating away from the content editing screen.

For editors and content managers who want to keep a pulse on how content is performing even as they work on publishing new items, this feature adds convenience and efficiency to the content management process.

  • Example: As you’re about to publish a new article, you can quickly check how many visits your last article received right from the same screen, giving you an idea of the engagement levels you might expect for the new one.

Visits in Single Page

When activated, this feature will display the number of visits directly within your content for visitors to see. This can be used as social proof to show the popularity of the content.

Displaying visit counts publicly can encourage more engagement from users. However, it’s important to consider the context and strategy behind showing these numbers, as low visit counts may have the opposite effect.

  • Example: On a highly trafficked tutorial page, displaying a high visit count can reinforce the value of the content to new visitors, potentially increasing trust and encouraging them to share the page.

Cache Integration

This section is designed to ensure accurate data collection in the presence of caching solutions that are often used to speed up websites. Caching can sometimes interfere with the way analytics tools track visits and page views, as cached pages may not trigger new page load events for every visitor. The settings in this section help to reconcile WP Statistics’ tracking mechanisms with the cached versions of pages, thereby maintaining the integrity and accuracy of your statistics.

Cache Compatibility Mode

Activating this setting allows WP Statistics to function correctly alongside caching plugins or services by adjusting the way statistics are gathered to account for cached pages.

This mode typically works by inserting a small piece of JavaScript into your pages that ensures user visits are recorded even if the page served is from a cache. This is crucial for maintaining accurate visitor counts and page view data when using caching.

  • Example: Suppose you have a WordPress caching plugin enabled to make your site faster. Normally, when a visitor views a page, it doesn’t always result in a new hit because the server serves a cached page. Enabling Cache Compatibility Mode means that even when a cached page is served, WP Statistics will still record the visit, ensuring that your analytics reflect the true traffic to your site.

Related Guide: Troubleshoot with Cache Plugins

Admin Interface Settings

This section allows for customization of how statistical data is displayed within the WordPress admin area. These settings are designed to improve the administrator’s user experience by providing flexible display options for accessing statistical information. By fine-tuning these settings, administrators can ensure that they have the most relevant and necessary data readily available to them.

Show Stats in Admin Menu Bar

When this option is enabled, it adds a quick-access stats icon to the WordPress admin menu bar. This icon allows administrators to access the site’s statistics with just one click, no matter where they are in the admin area.

The convenience of having statistics available at a glance is invaluable for administrators who need to frequently monitor site activity without navigating away from their current admin page.

  • Example: If you are editing a page and suddenly need to check your site’s traffic following a recent marketing campaign, with this option enabled, you can click on the stats icon in the admin menu bar to view the latest data without losing your place in the page editor.

Hide Admin Notices About Non-active Features

This toggle will suppress admin notices related to features of WP Statistics that are not currently active. It helps in decluttering the admin dashboard by only showing notifications that are relevant to the features you are using.

This setting is particularly useful for maintaining a focus on your current tasks by avoiding unnecessary alerts and prompts about unused features of the plugin.

  • Example: If you have chosen not to use the “GeoIP” feature, enabling this setting will prevent WP Statistics from sending you notifications or reminders about setting up or activating the GeoIP functionality.

Search Engine Handling

This section is focused on managing how search engine referrals are tracked and displayed in your website’s analytics. It’s designed to enhance the accuracy of search-related data and provides insights into how visitors find your site through search engines.

Add Page Title to Empty Search Words

This setting ensures that when a visitor arrives at your site from a search engine without a discernible search query, the title of the page they land on is used as the search term in your analytics. This feature is particularly useful with the increasing number of searches done through secure (HTTPS) connections, which often do not pass the search term data to the destination site.

By enabling this, you can gain insights from otherwise lost data points and better understand which pages on your site are effectively capturing organic search traffic.

  • Example: If a user lands on your “Best Organic Fertilizers” article but the search term is not provided by the search engine, WP Statistics will record “Best Organic Fertilizers” as the search term in your analytics. This provides you with a clearer picture of what content is performing well in search results.

Search Engine Filters

This option allows you to disable the tracking of referrals from specific search engines. This can help streamline your analytics by focusing only on the search engines that are most relevant to your audience and marketing strategy.

In some cases, you might want to filter out traffic from search engines that do not contribute significantly to your site or that might skew your analytics with irrelevant data.

  • Example: If your website targets a market where certain search engines like Google and Bing are the primary sources of search traffic, you might choose to disable tracking for other search engines that are less relevant to your audience.

Graphical Data Presentation

Include Totals in Charts

This option allows for the inclusion of a total sum in charts that aggregate data over a period or across categories. By enabling this feature, users can quickly grasp the cumulative impact or total outcome represented by the chart without needing to manually calculate the sum of individual data points.

  • Example: If you’re looking at a chart that tracks the number of site visits each day over a month, enabling “Include Totals in Charts” would add a line, bar, or a separate annotation indicating the total visits for the month. This feature simplifies the process of assessing monthly performance and helps in setting or evaluating goals based on total figures, rather than having to assess each day’s data individually.