Taking a look at Jetpack Stats

Let me state upfront that I love Google Analytics. I use it at work in 13 Llama Interactive to measure the effectiveness of the campaigns that my team runs.

That being said, I will try and not be too biased about comparing Jetpack Stats to Google Analytics. As a marketer, the way I look at an analytics package is from an ability to extract a fair amount of data.

However, Jetpack Stats is on top of WordPress and available to all WordPress based sites which are connected to the WordPress.com site. This makes Jetpack Stats primary user base as bloggers.

Let’s see what Jetpack Stats has to offer.

The wp-admin Dashboard Integration

Jetpack Stats puts a nice pretty looking graph on the wp-admin Dashboard. This is how it looks like for my site –

Jetpack-Stats-on-wp-admin-Dashboard

Now, this is fairly similar to the Audience Overview you get when you check out Google Analytics.

Google-Analytics-Dashboard

Straight off the bat, I prefer Jetpack Stats overview as opposed to the one given by Google Analytics. Jetpack Stats also provides me with how my posts have performed this day, this report would be available in GA witin the Behavior section, the Site Content report.

The Top Searches that you see in the screenshot would have been helpful had it been accurate. Unfortunately, Google accounts for the majority of organic traffic on my site, and most of that traffic is encrypted. Thus, these keywords that you see (really, I rank for ‘big ass girl dunes’) are not a complete set!

Jetpack Stats does not talk to Google Webmaster Tools, which now is the only source of this keyword data.

Jetpack Stats Posting Activity

One awesome feature about Jetpack Stats is the posting activity screen –

Jetpack-Posting_Activity

This data is shown with a correlation of average traffic per day as well as traffic per month. You could always get this data in Google Analytics (here is a useful post I had written some time back – Google Analytics for Content Marketers).

It’s just this kind of insights that makes me keep Jetpack around for my measurement requirements.

Jetpack Stats vs Google Analytics

Jetpack Stats is a very lightweight tool and it would be useful for a simple blog. However the minute we enter the realm of finding user engagement and performance marketing, Jetpack simply does not have those features yet.

This is where Google Analytics shines through with its Event tracking.

Having said that, Jetpack Stats is an apt solution for a user who is more focused on the publishing process.

Why you should not play with a live WP site

I do most of my experiments on this blog. Whereas most of the experiments are on content and digital marketing, some tend to be technical.

Yesterday, I was trying out the exceptional Pods framework on my blog. In my haste to try out Pods, I skipped setting up a locally hosted WordPress stack and opted to install it on this blog instead.

Continue reading “Why you should not play with a live WP site”

Correctly using the Read More tag

Read More tag

As a blogger who has been writing for the past 5 years or so, I was always confused about the Read More tag. This is a tag that you will find in your WordPress editor besides the Toolbar Toggle button.

Why would one want to insert their content with this tag? Wouldn’t it fill up your blog content with such intermediate tags and break the reader’s flow? Let’s go find out how to correctly use the Read More tag.

Continue reading “Correctly using the Read More tag”

Taking WordPress to Scale

I originally wrote this post on the 13 Llama Blog.

 

Having your own website and maintaining it has its own set of wins and losses. If your site is not popular enough, that’s a heartburn.

Then one fine day, you get TechCrunched or Mashabled or Redditted – and boom, comes a spike. Or even better, you start doing well on your own and the traffic grows. Soon, this traffic becomes so big, that your existing hosting plan starts creaking and squawking under this load.

This post is for those of you who have a site which has loads of traffic, so much so that the site performance is under impact due to it. Like quite a few of our clients. *Touchwood*

Continue reading “Taking WordPress to Scale”

Some WordPress plugins to Enhance WordPress Websites

WordPress plugins

In a prior post we saw 5 wordpress plugins which you should always install. If you have missed that  article then you can read it here.

In a follow-up post we will discuss some more WordPress plugins. Today’s plugin will be those which I and many other WordPress authors use to enhance the visibility and performance of our site.

WP Super Cache

I am in love with this particular plugin as it has helped me a lot in my WordPress development.

All webmasters know that the site response time is an essential part of your Website SEO as well as site statistics. Studies say that most visitors don’t like to wait for more than 10 sec while the site keeps loading. This is one of the main reason behind scrapped articles which results in higher Bounce rates.

WP Super Cache helps you reduce the site load time by serving your site from cache to the visitor. This plugin serves your dynamic site as a static HTML website to the visitor. Thereby reducing the load time significantly. It also has an compress pages option which compresses your JS, Images and other scripts and html adding to the site reduction.

Following are recommended settings in the plugin

  1. PHP caching.
  2. Compress pages.
  3. Don’t cache pages for known users.
  4. Cache rebuild.
  5. CDN support.
  6. Extra homepage checks.

This plugin helped me achieve a Pagespeed of 87 from 81 which is at significantly higher side of the marking being a WordPress news/articles website.

 

WassUp Real Time Analytics

wassup real ime analytics

Wassup is my personal favorite Analysis plugin and I’ve been using this plugin for the past 2 years. Wassup provides almost realtime analysis of the visitors. This plugin comes with a dashboard widget giving an idea of the traffic and online visitors.

When we visit the plugin settings page it provides much more in-depth details of the visits. It provides

  1. IP
  2. Pages visited
  3. Type of visitor (Spam, Spider, Bot, Human etc.) and much more info.

My personal experience shows that the plugin provides almost same statistics as the Google analytics just this is a compact version and worth a try.

 

Adminimize

This particular plugin is most helpful when there are more than one contributors to the site or you are developing a website in which you required to display only certain menus to the user as they may not require most of the menu.

Now WordPress does offer some default role based accesses, however, I have noticed that more often than not these roles are not completely usable.

Adminimize Options

Above image is sufficient to give you a hint at what this plugin is capable in doing.

 

Enable Media Replace

enable media replace plugin

This is a real helpful plugin. Most developers have a habit of uploading new content on the site when any wrong media files are uploaded. But mostly they forget to delete old incorrect files. Enable media replace helps in such situation.

When installed and activated this plugin puts a  Upload new File button in the media file .

This can be found in Media →Media File Name

In this it allows to replace the media file with the new one and also it replaces all the references of the old file in complete site with the newer file.

 

NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster{SNAP}

snap

SNAP is a very helpful plugin for connecting all the social media to the wordpress blog. All the SMO’s out there love such plugins as these reduce their efforts.

WebMaster have to just write the article. SNAP will automatically post the said article to all the connected and configured social media accounts.

Following is the networks supported by the plugin

Blogger/BlogspotDelicious.
DiigoFacebook
FriendFeedInstapaper
Google+ (with third party API library)LinkedIn
LiveJournalPinterest (with third party API library)
StumbleuponTumblr
TwitterPlurk
vBulletinvKontakte(VK.com)
WordPressYouTube

Free version of the site allows adding only a single account of all above mentioned social sites.

WordPress Security Plug-ins

I had earlier written about the top 5 Plug-ins that I use with WordPress, and I realized that I had not talked about any Security Plug-ins!!

So let me share this out in the open with all of you, I like all the other webmasters value security … very, very much. Why? Well, it keeps my mind at ease knowing that my site is a bit secure from all the malicious entities and bots out there looking to spam my site.

Having said that puts my mind at ease, I do use a security plug-in with my blog (you are most welcome to check – Do not take this as an open invitation and consent to do intrusion on the site though !!).

This is a beautiful visualization that I found on the interwebs, and thought that I might re-share this with all of you. In case if you do not use a WordPress Security plug-in, please do so at the earliest! In case if you do, check the below infographic to see whether your plug-in makes the top 10!

WordPress Security Plugins

5 WordPress Plug-ins you should Install

WordPress plugins

I have been working with WordPress for more than four years now, both as a personal blogging platform and also as a full fledged Content Management System for websites. It’s been a great four years, right from the day I found the awesomeness of WordPress to the multiple releases on WordPress and the day I started regularly contributing on one of the major WordPress forums.

Any WordPress user worth his salt will know that the full power of the CMS platform is behind it’s series of plug-ins and that’s what this post is about. The top 5 WordPress Plug-ins I always install whenever I deploy a WordPress based site.

The reason why I chose these plug-ins as the top 5 is because they resonate very well with the top 5 things that you need to do when you launch a site.

Jetpack

Jetpack plug-in by Automattic

This is the ultimate plug-in by the good folks who made WordPress, Automattic. It comes jam-packed with some awesome set of features such as –

  • Social Sharing options below your post
  • Stats embedded within your Admin Dashboard
  • A mailing list functionality to email your subscribers your post content which you publish to your blog
  • Auto-sharing functionality to share your post’s link to your favourite social networks
  • A beautiful carousel for browsing through a series
  • A mobile theme adapter which ensures that your site looks great on mobile clients as well
  • You can connect your app to WordPress.com and manage all of your WP stacks through one location

The awesome part is that the Jetpack team keeps adding to the amount of features available – you can download the Jetpack Plug-in here.

A word of caution here, do not activate any more features than what you actually need! If you do, that increases your script size … ultimately increasing your web page loading times!

WordPress SEO

WordPress SEO Plug-in by Yoast

There are a lot of SEO plug-ins out there in the WordPress community, but THIS is the ultimate plug-in that you have to install. A couple of years back, if you would have asked me to recommend an SEO plug-in, I would have recommended All in One SEO, but trust me folks, WordPress SEO is so much better! In fact I think it’s the cat’s paw of free SEO plug-ins.

The good part that I liked about this plug-in over all the other plug-ins, is the level of granularity to which you can go to control your on-page SEO. It is also linked to LinkDex which gives you a clear understanding of how your on-page optimization is changing with the content level changes that you are doing for each and every page. This plug-in has been authored by Joost de Valk (aka Yoast) who simply rocks when it comes to SEO and WordPress, he has contributed to some of the best plug-ins to the WordPress community.

Google Analytics for WordPress

Google Analytics for WordPress plug-in by Joost de Valk

I cannot sing enough paeans of Google Analytics. However to add and edit a WordPress theme could be quite difficult if you do not know HTML or do not want to edit your theme (since they frequently update and you end up having to enter your Google Analytics code again and again). This plug-in helps you avoid this by giving you a simple method to integrate Google Analytics code in your WordPress theme.

If you do go ahead with this plug-in and you use Google Analytics, then this is the best Custom Dashboard that you can immediately use. The Custom Dashboard has been created by Yoast for the users of his plug-in, it works very well only if you use the plug-in. Otherwise most of the data reported might be misrepresented.

Google XML Sitemap for Images

This plug-in and the next one are created by an Indian, and I find them pretty awesome. Amit Agarwal has created a simple image sitemap generator plug-in which creates an image specific sitemap for your WordPress site. The reason I rely on this plug-in is simple … search engines index content on your site. If you are running a WordPress based site, then you would be using good images for illustrations for your posts. These images are a rich source of higher SERPs on different search engines.

All of us know that Google shows images when you search, having well optimized images and submitting them in a separate sitemap ensures that your images get indexed by Google and other search engines. What that means is that your content slowly starts ranking higher.

Google XML Sitemap for Videos

The Video sitemap Plug-in is also an excellent plug-in to install if you are embedding videos on your site often. Videos rank higher than images which in turn rank higher than simple links when Search Engine Results are being displayed. Having a mix of rich media helps a site.

Ensuring that this rich media is correctly submitted to search engines and getting those indexed is the main trick in getting good search results.

Bonus – Akismet

Once, your WordPress site begins attracting site traffic, people and spammers will start coming to your site. They will leave behind comments on your pages and then it will be difficult to judge whether the comment is a good comment by someone who actually appreciates your site or is it by some spammer who wants a backlink to their site.

This is where Akismet comes into picture. I mentioned this plug-in as a bonus and have not included this in my top 5 only because this plug-in comes default installed in WordPress, but you still have to activate it and submit your Akismet key.

Remember one thing, when you launch a WordPress plug-in do not go haywire and install many plug-ins. They eventually slow your WordPress install, so chose carefully and only make do with those plug-ins that you really need.

What are the top plug-ins that you cannot go without when you deploy a WordPress based site?