Add analytics to WordPress site and increase privacy settings

Use an alternative to Google Analytics in WordPress

Anyone with a website wants to know how many people visit it and which articles are read the most. Google Analytics is the obvious way to discover this, but Koko Analytics has advantages.

There is no doubt that Google Analytics is a very good and very powerful tool. If you want to know everything about the traffic that your website or blog gets and want to dig down into the behaviour of your site visitors, this is the tool to use.

Go to the Google Analytics website and you can sign up for free and get some code to insert into the pages of your website in order to provide the visitor data for analysis.

This immediately presents problems for some people and some less technical website owners and bloggers don’t know how to do this. A common question in forums and social groups is “How do I install Google Analytics.” Some technical knowledge is required in order to insert the code in the right place in your website. Some people get it wrong and either no visitors are recorded or it results in figures that are obviously wrong.

Another problem is that it provides Google with data about the visitors to your website. Some website owners and bloggers may have privacy concerns with this, and visitors to your site may not want to share information with Google either. Some people may install tracker blockers to stop scripts like Google Analytics from working.

Alternative to Google Analytics

Koko Analytics is a free open source plugin for WordPress that addresses these two points. It is simple and easy to use, and it is private. Koko Analytics is an alternative to Google Analytics that you may prefer.

Simplicity: Koko analytics does not require any configuration or setup. It just works and it can be used by anyone regardless of technical knowledge.

Privacy: No external services are required, data is kept on the site and is not shared with anyone. Visitor data is private and there are no GDPR or other privacy worries.

Install Koko Analytics

  1. Click Plugins in the WordPress sidebar
  2. Click the Add New button
  3. Enter ‘koko analytics’ into the search box
  4. Click Install next to Koko Analytics
  5. Click Activate next to Koko Analytics

That is all there is to installing and setting up Koko Analytics. If you can install a plugin and activate it, you can use Koko Analytics.

Use Koko Analytics

Once it is installed and activated, the plugin starts recording the traffic to your website or blog. It counts how many people visit it and how many pages they view. Page views is always higher than visitor numbers because some visitors view more than one page.

Koko Analytics on the WordPress dashboard
Koko Analytics WordPress dashboard widget

A dashboard widget shows a brief summary of the site’s visitor numbers and page views in the form of a bar chart. As the mouse hovers over a bar, a panel pops up to show the date, visitors and page views counts.

This is useful and every time you log in to your site’s admin area, you can immediately see the most important statistic – the number of visitors your site is getting.

Koko Analytics dashboard in WordPress
Koko Analytics WordPress plugin details screen

More information is available and you can go to a details page. There are two tables and the first lists the URLs of pages with visitor and page view counts. You can immediately see which pages are the most popular on your website and how many people have viewed them.

It is automatically sorted with the most popular at the top and it is valuable information. You can see which topics resonate with your visitors and which ones need some work and improvement.

The other table shows where people came from. It shows where your site gets most of its traffic and it may be Google, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook or somewhere else.

No only does it show traffic from search engines, it shows which search engine and this shows which part of the world your visitors come from, such as US, UK, Australia and so on. It lists visitor counts from google.com, google.co.uk, google.com.au and so on. It also lists DuckDuckGo, Bing and other search engines.

It also goes as far as to list which Pinterest pin people clicked to get to your site. Pinterest visits appear in the table as a link and you can click it and see the pin that generated the traffic to your site. Once again, this is very useful information. Have you always wondered which pins generate site traffic? You can see it here.

For those worried about privacy, this is about as detailed as it gets and there is no information about individual people. You only see how many views a page got and how many people came from each referrer, like Google or Pinterest.

Koko Analytics settings

Koko Analytics WordPress plugin settings

There are few settings and the ones available are very basic. This is intentional and is to keep the plugin as simple as possible. One setting you should immediately set is to exclude logged in people like yourself and other site members from being counted.

A cookie is optional. It is used to distinguish between unique visitors and page views. One person could read half a dozen pages for example, and with a cookie, visitor and page view counts will therefore be different. Without the cookie, only page views is available.

Disabling the cookie means slightly less information, but also greater privacy for your site visitors. With no cookies, no third party access to data, no third party tracking and so on, you boost visitor privacy. This could be important to you and your site visitors.

One final setting is the default date period. Your visitor statistics can be for today, this week, this month, the last 28 days and so on. It is a personal preference which date period you select.

Conclusion

This is not a competitor for Google Analytics and it does not even come close to matching its features. There are many website owners that need a full and comprehensive data set that shows detailed information about site visitors. There are also plugins that enable this information to be shown within WordPress, such as Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights and Google’s own plugin Sitekit by Google.

Koko Analytics is for people that want something that is simpler for themselves and more private for their visitors. It succeeds with both and it is hard to see how it could any be simpler or more private.

It is possible to use Koko Analytics and Google Analytics, so you can have simple data viewable in WordPress and comprehensive data at the Google Analytics site should you need it.

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About Roland Waddilove 392 Articles
Roland Waddilove is interested in technology: Computers, phones, gadgets, software and internet. Long ago he worked on computer magazines, but is now mostly a tech writer for the web.