Every website needs analytics.
But does WordPress track visitors for you?
The answer is pretty straightforward, but it does depend on how you created your WordPress site.
Let’s dive into the details now and get this sorted out.
Does WordPress track visitors for you?
There’s a distinction that has to be made first.
If you’re using WordPress.com, then your site comes with basic analytics.
On the other hand, if you’re “self-hosting” WordPress (using a web host like Bluehost or Kinsta), then your WordPress site does not have analytics built-in.
This is because a vanilla installation of the WordPress CMS does not include any plugins, whereas a WordPress.com site includes the Jetpack plugin’s functionality.
So, in conclusion, your WordPress site does not track visitors unless you create your site through WordPress.com.
The good news is that if you’re self-hosting, you have access to tens of thousands of plugins, including some great options for adding visitor tracking to your site.
How to add analytics to self-hosted WordPress
If you’d like to add visitor tracking to your self-hosted WP site, there’s no better solution than Independent Analytics.
Once installed, you’ll find a complete analytics menu inside your WordPress dashboard.
The analytics dashboard is filled with valuable data but intuitive enough to use without any special training.
If you’re excited to try it out, here’s how to get started.
How to install Independent Analytics
Start by visiting the Plugins > Add New menu.
On the next page, use the search bar at the top-right to search for “Independent Analytics.” You’ll see the plugin show up right away, and then you can click the Install button to add it to your site.
The installation takes a few seconds, and then you can click the Activate button that appears to complete the activation process.
You can access the analytics dashboard from the sidebar menu item:
That’s all you have to do to start tracking visitors with WordPress! You’ll see your first views and visitors show up as they arrive on your site.
If you’d like to review some other analytics solutions before making a final choice, here are a few alternatives.
Other ways to track visitors
If you want something more advanced than Independent Analytics, you can try Google Analytics instead.
Google Analytics is much more complex, which can be a good thing or a bad thing for your site. It does include advanced segmentation and other features not yet supported in Independent Analytics, but the interface is challenging to work with.
You might want to use the SiteKit plugin to simplify installation on your site and connect it with other Google marketing products.
Another option is to install the Jetpack plugin, which gives you the same analytics that WordPress.com users have.
The only issue with Jetpack is that it includes a huge variety of tools, so you can’t use it for just analytics. You have to use the security and performance features as well, which can make your site feel quite bloated.
Start tracking your visitors
If you’re using a self-hosted version of WordPress, you’ll need to add a plugin to track your visitors.
We think there’s no better solution than Independent Analytics, and we hope you try it out!
If you’re looking for something more advanced, try installing Google Analytics yourself. And if you like the statistics available for WP.com users, you can install the Jetpack plugin to get the same analytics interface on your site.
Thanks for reading this guide covering whether or not WordPress tracks visitors, and if you have any questions, leave a comment below.