Interested in a Google Analytics alternative for your WordPress site? Google Analytics is generally most webmasters’ go-to tool when it comes to website analytics. But it’s far from the only option in your arsenal.
There are some great alternatives which might even offer you a more user friendly analytics experience, especially if you’re not taking advantage of Google Analytics’ advanced features like event tracking (though it’s actually pretty easy to add Event Tracking with a plugin nowadays).
Additionally, some of these Google Analytics alternatives offer better privacy because you’re in full control over your data instead of forking it all over to Google.
In this list, I’ll include both standalone analytics tools that integrate easily with WordPress as well as dedicated WordPress plugins. I’m also going to limit this list to free Google Analytics alternatives. There are some great business-focused analytics tools, but many of those are out of reach for regular users.
Let’s jump straight in…
Piwik is an open source, self-hosted Google Analytics alternative. In terms of raw functionality, it’s one of the most viable alternatives because its feature list stacks up surprisingly well.
Some alternatives to Google Analytics have feature lists that don’t quite match up with Google Analytics. But Piwik has most of the features WordPress users need, including advanced tracking like:
- Real-time updates
- Custom dashboard reports
- Goal/conversion tracking
- Event Tracking
- Site search analytics
- Custom dimensions
- Site speed reports
- Campaign tracking
And it also has premium add-ons that can give you heatmaps, session recordings, A/B testing, form analytics, and other helpful tools.
- All of your data is stored on your own server with self-hosted Piwik. Better for privacy.
- Personally, I think Piwik’s interface is more user friendly
- Unless you pay for a cloud hosted version, you’ll need to install your own version of Piwik on your server. It’s pretty simple, but still may be too complicated for beginners
How to Get Started With Piwik
To configure Piwik with your WordPress site, you’ll first need to install self-hosted Piwik on your server. Then, you can add the Piwik tracking code just like you would add the Google Analytics tracking code to your site. There’s also a free WP-Piwik plugin which can help you add the code and get in-dashboard reports.
Clicky is a popular freemium Google Analytics alternative. I used to be a paying Clicky subscriber back in the day and genuinely enjoyed the service. For a regular webmaster, I think Clicky makes it easier to access important information than Google Analytics does.
It’s not as full-featured as Google Analytics in the free version, but most people don’t even scratch the surface of Google Analytics’ functionality anyway. So unless you’re a power Google Analytics user, Clicky may well make your analytics more accessible.
- The best real-time report I’ve ever used. It’s addictive
- A superior bounce rate calculation
- Simple interface that puts important information front and center
- While there is a free plan, you have to pay for features like outbound link tracking, goal tracking, campaign tracking, and more. Those features are free in Google analytics
- You still have to hand your data over to a third-party
How to Get Started With Clicky and WordPress
To get started with Clicky, you need to create a Clicky account and then add the tracking code to your WordPress site. You can either add the tracking code manually or use the free Clicky by Yoast plugin for some more control over the tracking code.
3. WordPress.com Stats
As a WordPress user, there’s a good chance that you’re already familiar with the WordPress.com Stats functionality that comes bundled with the Jetpack plugin.
If you’re not, it’s basically a lightweight analytics solution hosted on WordPress.com’s servers. You don’t have anywhere near as much tracking functionality as Google Analytics, but if all you want to do is see which of your posts are getting the most traffic, as well as where that traffic is coming from, then WordPress.com Stats packs enough punch to get the job done.
WordPress.com Stats Advantages
- Simple interface that’s easy to use
- Integrates easily into WordPress dashboard because it’s part of Jetpack
- Doesn’t confuse you with tons of different reports (for beginners)
- If you’re serious about analytics and optimization, WordPress.com Stats doesn’t offer as much tracking as other tools
- Your data is still stored on WordPress.com’s servers
How to Get Started With WordPress.com Stats
To use WordPress.com Stats, all you need to do is install and configure the free Jetpack plugin.
4. Yandex Metrica
I first learned about Yandex because I worked at a company with a bunch of ex-Yandex Russian co-workers. Did you know that Yandex is one of the few companies in the world to out-compete Google in its own country when it comes to search? Neat fact!
Like Google, Yandex also has their own free analytics tool called Yandex Metrica. We used it at my company so I got a first-hand look at the interface with tons of data and...I actually really like it.
Two of the biggest pluses are:
- Built-in form analytics
- Built-in session recordings and heatmaps
But it also has an interface that makes it easy to get at important data.
Yandex Metrica Advantages
- You can replay complete visitor sessions
- Built-in form analytics and heatmaps
- Intuitive interface
Yandex Metrica Disadvantages
- You still have to give your data to a third-party
How to Get Started With Yandex Metrica
To get started, you need to create a free Yandex Metrica account. Then, you can either manually add the tracking code to your site or use the free Yandex Metrica plugin.
5. Slimstat Analytics
Like WordPress.com Stats, Slimstat Analytics is dedicated 100% to WordPress. It’s a standalone WordPress plugin that gives you a bit more detailed analytics data than WordPress.com Stats.
You can use filters, track outbound links, and view real-time visitors.
Beyond that, you’re in full control of your data as it's stored in your WordPress database. I confess I don’t know enough to provide you with a full explanation of the implication of that on performance - but the Slimstat team says that storing 10,000 records only takes up 10MB. So unless you’re running a high-traffic site, that doesn’t seem too bad.
You can also purchase a premium add-on that lets you use an external database. Other premium extensions offer functionality like:
- Email reports
- Cookie tracking
- And more
- Integrates into your WordPress dashboard
- You have full control over your data because it’s stored on your server
- Simpler interface in comparison with Google Analytics
- I couldn’t find any way to track conversions or goals
- You need to install third-party tools to get geo-tracking and browser/operating system tracking
How to Get Started With Slimstat
Slimstat is a standalone WordPress plugin, so all you need to do to get started is install and activate the plugin.
Which Google Analytics Alternative Should You Choose?
While I think all are viable alternatives, I’m going to narrow it down to three to four recommendations based on certain criteria.
If you just want basic stats about your traffic, then install WordPress.com Stats and call it a day. Yes, it’s not as deep as Google Analytics - but that only matters if you’re actually planning to take advantage of all of Google Analytics’ functionality.
If you want to use GA's raw data in your WordPress backend AND you are a WPEngine customer, take a look at their Content Performance option.
If you don’t mind handing over your data and want something that can rival the power of Google Analytics and is quick to setup, then go with Clicky or Yandex Metrica.
And finally, if you’re willing to set up a self-hosted Piwik install, Piwik gives you full control over your data and deep functionality. It just requires that you get your hands a little dirty.
Now over to you - do you have a favorite Google Analytics alternative? If so, share it in the comments, please!