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7 Great Analytics Tools For Bloggers (Most Are Free)

Best Analytics Tools For Bloggers

How do you define your blogging success?

It’s always nice to get feedback from readers, hear thank-yous and congrats, and get comments on your popular posts.

But when it comes to strategically growing your blog and implementing an effective blog monetization strategy, you need something more than good feelings – you need cold hard data.

That’s because without knowing and understanding your current traffic, you can’t set goals for increasing and improving it.

In order to attract advertisers & create an effective plan to grow your blog, you’ll need to know things like:

  • How many visitors do you get every day? Every month?
  • How many of those visitors are new? How many are repeat visitors?
  • What’s the most visited page on your site (and how can you take advantage of that)?
  • Which of your email newsletter signup forms works best?
  • Are your call-to-action buttons all working, or are any of them in the wrong spot?

Knowing the answers to all these questions, and more, will give you true control over your blog, and point you in the right direction to make it even more successful.

And the only way to get your hands on that valuable data is by using an analytics tool.

“But analytics are so boring…”

Believe me, if you’re one of those people who hates looking at charts and numbers and data, I feel your pain.

I’m not a big fan of poring over analytics, personally. I’d rather be managing my blog and connecting with my audience, not looking at obscure pie charts and percentages that I have no idea what to do with.

If you are one of those bloggers who  loves analytics, it’s easy to get caught up in looking at numbers for the sheer joy of numbers (so I hear), wasting time admiring your growing traffic instead of figuring out what the numbers are telling you, and what you should do about it.

That’s why…

These analytics tools are easy and actionable.

This list focuses on tools that:

  • Are easy for any blogger to implement, and
  • Are actionable

Meaning, these aren’t just numbers for the sake of numbers – these tools will give you the means to grow your blog to a professional level.

7 easy, actionable analytics tools to help grow your blog

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the golden standard of analytics tools, and for good reason.

How to use it:

It’s super easy to implement Google Analytics into your blog. Just sign up, and you’ll be provided with a tracking code, which must be placed in your site’s header.

Depending on the WordPress theme you’re using, you may be able to copy and paste it into your theme settings, if there’s a section for adding header code.

If not, you can easily implement the code using the Yoast SEO plugin (read more about SEO & the Yoast plugin in our post on SEO Tips For Bloggers).

Pros:

Google Analytics is free, and it’s by Google. It’s been around for quite a while, so it’s safe to assume it’ll be around for quite some time to come. They’re always tweaking it and updating its features and interface, so it continues to improve over time.

And Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful and flexible tool that gives you a ton of data to work with.

Cons:

Google Analytics’ interface can be overwhelming and confusing to new users. Luckily, because it’s so popular, it’s easy to find help online if you get stuck, and Google has a very detailed knowledgebase. You might also consider taking a Google Analytics course with video tutorials to get the most out of it.

To get actionable data from all the info Google Analytics provides, try using a custom report with a specific goal in mind, such as plugging leaks in your conversions, or identifying the pages that load the slowest.

Referral spam has been an issue for a lot of people, but there are steps you can take to put a stop to this. Check out David Hartshorne’s post on dealing with referral spam for some helpful tips.

Price: Free!

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2. Clicky

Clicky

Clicky is my personal favorite analytics tool, since it’s so user-friendly.

How to use it:

There are a couple of third-party WordPress plugins available for Clicky (including one by Yoast), making it easy to implement and view some stats right from your WordPress dashboard. Detailed stats and advanced features are available by logging in to the Clicky website.

Pros

While other analytics tools update once per day, Clicky gives you real-time stats and even lets you watch visitors’ actions live (spooky, but fun).

Clicky’s dashboard is user-friendly and non-intimidating for those who get overwhelmed by too many numbers (I’m with you!).

A premium account will also give you access to cool features like heatmaps, goal-setting, funnel/path analysis, campaign tracking, and conversions.

Cons:

The free version only allows you to track analytics on one site, and only up to 3,000 visitors. (But the great features and friendly interface are worth paying for, IMHO).

Price: Free limited plan for 1 site up to 3,000 daily views, with premium plans starting at $9.99/month.

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3. OpenWebAnalytics

OpenWebAnalytics

Open Web Analytics (OWA) is a free, open source web analytics tool that must be downloaded and installed on your own server.

How to use it:

To use OWA, you need to download the software from the official website and then upload it to your hosting account to install it. You can follow their installation guide to walk you through the necessary steps.

Pros:

With OWA, you can track an unlimited number of sites, and there are no traffic limits. It also comes with tools like conversion goals, e-commerce tracking, click heatmaps, and even mouse movement tracking.

Cons:

OWA will require a little more technical know-how to install and configure. There are no recently updated WordPress plugins available. Also, because it’s hosted on your own server, watch out for how resource-intensive it is: it could possible slow your site down.

Price: Free!

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4. Piwik

Piwik Pro Cloud

Like OWA, Piwik is an open-source analytics software that you can download and install on your own server. But unlike OWA, they also offered a hosted cloud version called Piwik Pro.

How to use it:

You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of the cloud service to get started.

Pros:

Like Clicky, Piwik’s data is updated in real time, and the dashboard is a bit more user-friendly than Google Analytics.

Also, Piwik has some unique features including ecommerce analytics, advanced security/privacy measures, visitor profiles, and even a mobile app for iOS and Android. You’re the owner of your data, and can request a full download at any time. Piwik Pro also integrates with WooCommerce.

And with Piwik Pro, you also get full technical support, and daily backups of your data.

Cons:

Piwik Pro is a little pricey for the casual blogger, but if you really want to dig into your analytics with a reliable and conscientious service that respects you and your users’ privacy, it’s a great choice.

Using the free Piwik software on your own server will require a bit more technical savvy.

Price: Free to download the software; the hosted version starts at $29 per month.

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5. KYA

KYA

KYA is an analytics tool that’s focused on measuring your audience’s engagement. It helps you to put a face to the numbers, and understand what each visitor is doing on your site (as well as where you’re losing them!).

How to use it:

KYA has its own WordPress plugin, so all you have to do is sign up for an account on the KYA website, download the plugin, and install it from your WordPress dashboard. The setup process is very quick and easy.

Pros:

KYA’s focus on the individual user makes it easy to grasp your site’s data and put it into action. They have some great tools like their Engagement Tracking, which calculates a unique score for each page based on its audience engagement, including traffic, audience behavior, and social shares.

You can also compare individual posts to each other.

This is still a fairly new tool so we should plenty in the way of new features in the near future.

Cons:

With KYA, you must use their “Shout” button, with is a sort of “Like” button, to get the detailed engagement data, which you may not want to do. It’s also recommended to use their Smart Comment System to get better engagement analytics for your site.

You can still use the platform without their “Shout” button and comments system, it just means you get less data.

You may find that KYA works best alongside a full analytics tool like Google Analytics; that will give you the best of both worlds.

Price: Free plan for up to 50k monthly pageviews; premium plans start at $25 per month.

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6. SumoMe Content Analytics

SumoMe Content Analytics

SumoMe is a suite of free tools, which includes their Content Analytics tool that shows how many people read your content.

How to use it:

To get started with SumoMe Content Analytics, you’ll need to sign up for SumoMe’s suite of tools. They provide an official plugin to install it on WordPress.

Pros:

With SumoMe, you don’t just get Content Analytics, but a whole bunch of useful tools including a list builder, heat maps, sharing tools, and more.

The Content Analytics tool helps you to find out not just how many people are landing on your blog, but also how many of those visitors are reading your posts the whole way through. You can tell exactly where on the page they stopped reading – or whether they made it to the end.

Using these insights, you can figure out what’s stopping people from reading to the end, or figure out the best location to place your call-to-action buttons.

Cons:

SumoMe Content Analytics is a limited tool, not an overall analytics overview of your site. You’ll probably want to use it in conjunction with a tool like Google Analytics or Clicky.

Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $10 per month.

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7. SumoMe Heat Maps

SumoMe Heat Maps

Another tool included in the SumoMe Suite, Heat Maps are a great way to understand your audience and improve your content.

How to use it:

You need to sign up for SumoMe to get access to the Heat Map tool. There’s an official WordPress plugin available that makes implementation super easy.

Pros:

SumoMe Heat Maps come with several other great tools, including the Content Analytics tool mentioned above.

Heat Maps are easy to install and use, and are great for seeing whether your pages are working the way you want them to. The tool will give you real-time data on exactly where visitors are clicking on your page, so you can figure out where to place you call-to-action buttons to be more visible.

Cons:

Heat Maps is a tool with limited scope and usefulness, so you’ll want to use this together with a more inclusive analytics tool like Google Analytics or Clicky.

Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $10 per month.

More Details

Are you tracking your blog analytics?

Do you use one of the tools listed here, or do you have another favorite tool we missed? Share your favorite analytics tool in the comments below.

About KeriLynn Engel

KeriLynn Engel is a copywriter & content marketing strategist. She loves working with B2B & B2C businesses to plan and create high-quality content that attracts and converts their target audience. When not writing, you can find her reading speculative fiction, watching Star Trek, or playing Telemann flute fantasias at a local open mic.

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  • Hey Keri,

    Thanks for sharing these tools with us.

    I love what’s possible with a tool like Google Analytics, but I find the simplicity of Clicky very appealing.

    Heat maps and content analytics have been incredibly useful too. It really helps knowing where people are clicking & how much of a post people are reading.

    Will be interesting to see how KYA develops since they’re a new tool.

    – Adam

    • I’m a HUGE fan of Clicky! The dashboard is a breath of fresh air after Google Analytics.

      Heat maps are definitely an important tool. Without it, you’re really just guessing at what people are doing on your page.

      • That was my exact thoughts when I started using Clicky! Even though I still love the functionality of Google Analytics, most of the time I just need a quick overview.

        There are a few custom dashboards available for GA around the web that can be handy though.

        Definitely!

  • Hi Keri,
    A great accumulation of some awesome tools for blog analysis. I had first heard of clicky from Pat’s blog but never got time to play around with it. I use standard google anaytics and yes SumoMe heatmaps are something I never publish a post without.
    SumoMe heatmaps show me where the user clicks, which area of the blog is getting the most attention etc.
    I had tried content analysis of them too, but I felt it slowed my site and so heatmaps and GA are something I am currently using now.
    Thanks for the list. Bookmarking it and will be using others here at some point. 🙂
    Have a great weekend!
    -Swadhin

    • Hi Swadhin,

      Thanks for checking out Keri’s post.

      Great you’re already using heatmaps on your new posts and already have Google Analytics setup.

      Well worth trying out Clicky – it’s more limiting than GA in a way, but the simplicity is refreshing.

      Have a great weekend!

      – Adam

    • Glad you found the list helpful, Swadhin! I love those heatmaps, too. Once you try them, they’re indispensable!

  • Muhammad Iqbal Pratama

    Hi Keri,

    Great list and great post!

    I personally only use Google Analytic right now, but I might be tempted to try Clicky!
    And I agree with you, analytics are boring haha! But once you get used to data, your life could be much easier 😉

    Cheers,
    Iqbal

    • Thanks for checking out Keri’s post!

      I agree, just takes some getting used to, after that it gets a lot easier 🙂

      – Adam

    • Good luck with Clicky, Muhammad!

  • Hey there KeriLyn + (Adam). This is an awesome list of analytics tools. Tracking and measuring results in blogging/content marketing is super important.

    I love Sumo.Me’s Heatmap tool as well.. as it allows me to see the kind of activity that is taking place on my blog.

    Sharing this post right now. Thanks again for the roundup of info…

    • Hey Kim, thanks for dropping by 🙂

      I’m a big fan of the Heatmap tool too. Recently I’ve been using it to improve specific blog posts, it’s been working wonders!

      Thanks for sharing.

      Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks for sharing, Kim! Glad you found it useful 🙂

  • Corinne Kerston

    Hi Keri and Adam,
    Thanks for sharing these tools. I use Google Analytics now, of course, it’s the standard of analytics right? I’ve never heard of Clicky but I’m going to check them out. Anything user friendly is a win in my book!

    Hope you both have a wonderful weekend!

    • Hi Corinne, thanks for dropping by.

      Definitely – whenever someone mentions analytics tools, it’s the first thing I think of.

      I’ve been using Clicky for a while now, I can’t bring myself to let go of Google Analytics but I love how straight forward Clicky is.

      Thanks, you too!

      – Adam

    • Thanks, Corinne! Let us know how it goes with Clicky! GA is definitely the standard, but if you’re looking for something simpler & more user-friendly, Clicky is great. They also have excellent customer support in my experience.

  • Jasper Oldersom

    Hey Keri,

    This is a fantastic post and something I need to work on.

    Adam’s question through email was: are you following this fundamental rule of blogging?

    I painfully had to answer “no”. I used to be all over my analytics, but then had the issue of WordPress Referral Spam. Instead of facing the issue head on, I was ignoring it because I don’t easily know how to fix it.

    I shouldn’t be slacking on this, though! It’s too important to just leave analytics for what it is. I love Google Analytics and I know my way around it, but when issues like these pop up my tactic is usually to sit and pray that it will solve itself ;-).

    I’m planning an hour tomorrow to work on this issue. Thanks for reminding me about the importance of analytics, Keri.

    The content analytics and heat maps also look very interesting. It’s amazing how many useful tools SumoMe makes available for free.

    Enjoy your weekend, Adam and Keri.

    – Jasper

    • Hey Jasper,

      Thanks for checking out Keri’s post.

      I can definitely relate to the referral spam issue. It seems to be affecting a huge number of people.

      As a temporary measure, I started using Clicky as it seemed unaffected. Was the easiest option at the time and I quite like the simplicity. It definitely isn’t as comprehensive as GA though.

      I think I’ve got the referral spam under control. Took a while though.

      These posts should help:
      https://www.optimizesmart.com/geek-guide-removing-referrer-spam-google-analytics/
      https://www.distilled.net/resources/quick-fix-for-referral-spam-in-google-analytics/

      The Distilled post has a very straight forward solution involving include/exclude filters. I couldn’t find the exact post I used but that seems to be the closest.

      Let us know how you get on!

      Thanks Jasper, you too.

      – Adam

      • Jasper Oldersom

        Adam, thanks for your reply.

        I think it’s a common issue right now. I’m glad you got the referral spam issue under control now.

        I appreciate your help. I am going to use the posts you provided. If I don’t work it out right away, I will check into Clicky until I do.

        Again, thank you so much, Adam.

        Have a wonderful day.

        – Jasper

        • No worries, Jasper. Glad I could help.

          You’re right – this is a huge issue. Would be great if Google could do something about this, but not sure how challenging that might be from a technical perspective.

          My pleasure, Jasper.

          Have a great day!

          – Adam

    • Hi Jasper,

      I feel your pain about the Referral Spam. I wrote a post on it last year with quite a few research references included: http://byteofdata.com/googles-gas-problem/

      If you’re still stuck I’d be happy to help you sort out the mess. Just let me know.
      – David

      • David, that’s an awesome resource – thanks for sharing it with us!

        I’ve added a link to it in Keri’s post so more people can benefit from it.

        – Adam

    • Hi Jasper,

      Thanks for your comment! I think you’re in the same boat with probably a majority of bloggers. The fact that Google Analytics is the most widely-known tool also turns a lot of bloggers off of analytics, because it’s tricky to learn to use.

      Yeah, referral spam is a big issue. Adam linked some great posts that should hopefully help you out with it. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

  • Toby A.

    This post is so informative, thank you. I use Google Analytics. It’s a bit intimidating, but I learn a little each time I use it. SumoMe Heat Maps is such a great tool. It helped me figure out which widgets were taking up valuable space on my sidebar.
    Off to share!

    • Glad you found Keri’s post helpful, Toby. I know what you mean about Google Analytics. It’s super powerful but takes a while to learn.

      Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    • Thanks, Toby! I love heatmaps, too, and that’s a great use for them. Without them, it’s hard to know what’s working & what’s not.

  • Hi Keri,

    Thanks for sharing these 7 analytics tools with us. I’m actually quite passionate about analytics and I think it’s an often over-looked aspect of building your online presence.

    I guess everyone knows about Google Analytics, but like you say, it can be a little overwhelming at first. I’m a fan of Clicky too and have a post planned on that soon.

    Thanks for introducing a few new tools here, I particularly like the look of KYA. I think what is apparent is that there isn’t just one tool to give you a complete picture – you need a combination.
    – David

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for checking out Keri’s post.

      Looking forward to checking out your post on Clicky – I’ve been using it for about 12 months now. Love the simplicity.

      Great point. There isn’t a one glove fits all solution just yet.

      – Adam

    • You’re welcome, David! I was impressed with KYA as well.

      I think just the idea of analytics can be overwhelming for creative-minded bloggers. The look of a tool like Google Analytics makes it even more intimidating! That’s why I love Clicky & KYA. But you’re right, using more than one tool can help you to really dig in to the data and get a more complete picture.

  • Lilieth V. Harris

    Thanks KeriLynn for this post, certainly has provided me with some very useful information, very greateful.

    • Hi Lilieth, so glad to hear you’ve found Keri’s post useful. Let us know how you get on with these tools.

      – Adam

    • Thanks, Lilieth! I’m glad you found it useful. Which analytics tool are you using on your blog?

  • Hi KeriLynn,

    Thanks for putting this together for us and breaking it down the way you did. I agree, looking over our analytics can be a bit boring but it’s something we should be doing. I use Google Analytics and I’ve tried Sumome Heat Maps but the others are new to me.

    I like the sound of KYA and the fact that it has a WordPress plugin will make it easy for me to access on my dashboard.

    Thanks again for sharing. Have a great week.

    Cori

    • Glad you found the post helpful, Cori! Having a WordPress plugin definitely makes it easier to get started, and it’s so convenient to have access to your analytics right from your dashboard. I’m a big fan of any tools that make analytics more fun & interesting 🙂

  • Thanks for such a complete list, I use some of these but there are quite a few that I haven’t tried yet like Clicky and SumoMe Heat Maps. I actually quite like analytics, I just wish I had more time for them!

    Suze
    http://www.luxurycolumnist.com

    • You’re welcome, Suze! If you’re already into Google Analytics, I’d recommend checking out the HeatMaps first! I think you’ll find it fun & super helpful 🙂

  • Between you and http://blogelina.com I have the best tools in my arsenal! I always visit your blogs for resources and inspiration and ALWAYS leave fulfilled with a wealth of knowledge. I have saved this and placed it in my Blog binder. Thanks!

    -YoSantana http://yosantana.com

    • Awesome! So glad it was helpful for you, Angela 🙂 Good luck getting started with analytics – let us know how it goes!

  • Awesome list of tools….I can tell that you did your homework…I never heard of OpenWebAnalytics…Gonna check that out now! Thanks…

    • Thanks, Andre. Good luck with OpenWebAnalytics! I think for technically-minded people, software like OWA is great for its flexibility.

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