A few weeks ago I wrote the second part of this article which you can find here. Hopefully this is lighter and less boring than the previous one! :D
Most of the plugins I mention in this article are used by me personally. There are also a few that I don’t use personally but feel that they may help you; I list them separately in this same article. Note that not every plugin I mention here is used on this blog; I have a few other blogs as well where I use them. ;)
5. Stats Plugins: If you are reading this then I don’t really need to tell you the importance of statistics. For non-marketers, watching their blog statistics can be a good pastime, but for marketers, these statistics give valuable data on which they base their future marketing campaigns. By default WordPress does not offer you satisfactory statistics, so you would need to make use of 3rd party plugins to get the desired data.
There are many different types of stats plugins, offering you different kind of stats. Which plugin you use would depend on the type of stats you need! :)
Please remember that using too many statistics plugins can hog on your server resources as well as make your website load slow. Don’t use a plugin unless you really care for the type of stats the plugin has to offer!
=>THE BOREDOM STARTS HERE!<=
a) WP user-online: This plugin basically tells you how many users are currently reading your blog. It also tells you which user is reading what blog post. Users are distinguished by their respective roles (such as Guest, name/username of the user if s/he is logged in or has just commented on a blog post, thereby making him "recognizable").
Theoretically I could easily do without this plugin, because the kind of stats it offers me is hardly helpful in building targeted marketing campaigns. However, I must confess that the stats are fun to watch. When I have nothing better to do, I tend to pass my time by logging into my blog and checking out how many people are currently getting bored on my blog, as well as what article is boring which person! Needless to say, these stats really make me very happy. :)
However, I am otherwise a very harmless guy and don’t stalk my blog readers; come on, I have much better things to spend time on! :D
Here is a screenshot of how many users are currently reading my blog, or shall I say, getting "bored" ;) :
Here is another screenshot that tells me which person is reading what article (and getting bored, that is ;) ). If the person is logged-in into my blog, or has just commented on one of my blog posts, the plugin would recognize him by his name and show up that name in the stats instead of identifying the person as "Guest". I have blurred the IPs in order to protect the privacy of the users:
If these types of stats make you happy, then only install this plugin, otherwise not! Remember that any kind of stats plugin is a resource hog, so the fewer of them you use on your blog the better for you! ;)
WARNING: Not to mention that I have experienced some compatibility issues between WP-user-online and a few other plugins, most notably TPC memory usage and Theme My profile. Whenever I run wp-user-online together with any of those plugins, the admin dashboard of my blog shows up a blank page. Maybe the problem is unique to my blogs (I have encountered this issue on a number of blogs), but it needs to be pointed out. Hopefully the plugin author would fix it soon! ;)
b) Google Analyticator: Among the Google™ Analytics tracking plugins I have used so far, I have found Google Analyticator to be the best, mainly because it is extremely light on server resources. It keeps up with the latest technological enhancements of Google Analytics tracking, thereby enabling you to take advantage of them as they are rolled out! The following screenshot will show you the way I have customized the settings of the plugin; note that most of these customizations are optional, and there are no hard and fast rules regarding them either:
c) Official Statcounter Plugin: This is the official WordPress plugin released by Statcounter for WordPress users. If you want to track your blog traffic through Statcounter then this is for you. There are three things to keep in mind:
i) While creating the "install code" for your Statcounter project, you are asked about the type of counter you want. Here, you should select "Wordpress.org (I pay for the hosting)" option from the drop down list.
ii) The other thing to keep in mind is that if you don’t want to show up in the "visitor statistics" of Statcounter, you should disable the "WordPress admin logging" option. Personally I have disabled this option, but note that it only works when you are logged into the blog as "admin".
iii) To allow the best possible tracking, you should define all the possible URLs for your website – that is, both the www as well as the non-www version of your site URL, as shown in the screenshot below:
d) WP-ShortStat: When I mentioned this plugin to one of my friends, he asked me if this plugin offers any extra statistics not already offered by Statcounter and Google analytics together. Well, the answer is certainly "NO". Now, you maybe asking: "Then why use this plugin at all?". The answer is "CONVENIENCE"!
Say you just need a quick view of your blog traffic – the visitors, the referring sites/search keywords through which they found your blog, the most visited posts of your blog, the system specs of the visitors (whether they use Firefox or Internet Explorer, Mac™ or Windows™,), etc. To get all these stats from either Statcounter or Google Analytics, you need more than one mouse-click. Shortstats gives you access to these stats with just one mouse-click, and best of all, the plugin is extremely light on resources.
Of course, you are free to decide whether you need it at all, but if you are a lazy guy like me you might be able to get some good use out of it! Note that Shortstats is not as versatile as either Statcounter or Google Analytics (obviously), so it should not be considered as their substitute! ;)
e) Search Meter: This plugin shows you what your blog visitors are searching for on your blog. Basically, it records the search keywords visitors input into the search box of your blog in order to find information. If you already use Google Analytics to track your blog traffic, you really don’t need this plugin. Instead, just log into your Analytics account, click to edit the respective website profile, and select "Do Track Site Search" under the "Site Search" option. You should also mention the query string used in the search query; on WordPress blogs it is usually "s". Here is a screenshot of the way I have enabled site search for this blog:
Once you enable the site search option, Analytics would start tracking the searches conducted on your blog. Trust me, this way you would get much better stats than search meter could offer you!
=>THE BOREDOM CONTINUES!<=
f) Top Commentators Widget: This plugin lets you reward your most loyal commenters by showing up their names at a prominent place of your blog! Of course, you are free to select the "place" as well as customize the other settings of the widget. Since I have already discussed it at length in one of my older boring articles I am not going to bore you any more here! :D
g) WP-PostViews: This plugin generates a list of the most popular posts of your blog, based on the number of "page views" received by each post. As an example, you can check out my list of popular articles on the right-hand-side of this blog; that list is generated by this plugin! ;)
Even though customizing this plugin is darn easy, I would still show you the screenshots of my customizations just to bore you a bit! ;) As always there is no hard and fast rules about these customizations and more importantly, these customizations are completely optional! :D
i) The "options" page of the plugin (you can access this section by clicking on the "Postviews" link under the "Settings" tab):
ii) The widget options (to access these options, you would first need to drag and drop the widget wherever you like; personally I have placed it on my blog’s right sidebar):
WARNING: Please note that the plugin seems to be incompatible with Ajax Edit Comments. Personally I have not encountered this issue as I don’t use the Ajax comments plugin, but if you do, this support thread is worth looking at:
h) TPC! Memory Usage: If you want to measure the amount of server memory "sucked" by a particular blog, just install this plugin on that blog. :) This plugin is especially great for sites that run on autoblogging scripts, as such scripts usually tend to be huge resource hogs!
By the way, I hope you know how to increase the PHP memory limit of your blog? The default memory limit of WordPress is set at 32 MB, but you can easily increase it to 64 MB, 128 MB or even 256 MB. I won’t recommend setting it above 128 MB, as this may negatively affect the performance of your other websites on that server, as well as the day-to-day operations of the regular server-related functions!
To increase your blog’s PHP memory limit, just open up the wp-settings.php file with PSPad, and locate the following lines in the file:
if ( !defined(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’) )
Here is a screenshot of the same:
Simply change the "32M" value to say, "64M" (without quotes), assuming that your blog’s default PHP memory limit is 32 MB and you wish to increase it to 64 MB.
Here is a blog article that explains the whole process in great detail.
i) Pretty Link: Shorten, track and group your long, ugly affiliate links. Of course, it can be made to work with your own product links too and in fact, just about ANY type of link! While I love the "grouping" feature of the plugin, it lacks two very important features that are indispensable for affiliate marketers:
a) The squeeze page bypass method: With almost 80% of ClickBank merchants using a squeeze page as "pitch page" for their products, you stand to lose sales if you don’t send the visitor directly to the product sales page by bypassing the squeeze page. This feature can also be used if you wish to bypass the product salespages and directly send the visitor to the product’s order link/checkout page. On the flip side, bypassing the merchant’s default pitch page is a violation of Clickbank’s TOS (funny they don’t regard the use of "squeeze page as pitch page" as a violation), and may get you penalized (so I have heard); however, personally I am yet to face the "hammer", and I do use this technique for a lot of products.
b) Split testing: This is yet another feature missing from Pretty Link, and again it is a must-have tool for any serious marketer, be it affiliate or merchant. To make it as simple as possible – without split testing two links, how would you know which of them is more profitable for you? ;)
In case you don’t know, there is also a "PRO" version of the plugin, called "Pretty Link Pro". I am not sure if that version offers the above two features, as I have not used it yet! If it does not, then I suggest that you don’t buy it. Instead you can get an alternative link tracking software called Ultramaxed Gold for the same price as the Unlimited Site License of Pretty Link Pro ($97). This software is what I mostly use to cloak and shorten all my long, ugly links. It offers the two must-have features I discussed above. Here is a sample link cloaked by Ultramaxed Gold (unlike other link-cloaking softwares, these cloaked links are actually search-engine friendly; I know because several of these links get indexed in Google ;) ):
As you can see, I walk the talk hehehehehehe :D
On the flip-side, you won’t find the "grouping" feature of Pretty Link here! :(
You can call it a "pitch" or whatever you like, but I truly love this software tool. Best of all, you won’t need to install WordPress to make it work; it works fine on any type of site! And of course, I am one of its authorized resellers! ;)
j) WP Stats: If you want to know about the types of stats you can show with this plugin, just take a look at my stats page. As my blog already has a sitemap, the stats page is just a duplicate page I don’t want Google to index, so I have made it "noindex". If you don’t understand what I mean, you can check out my boring article on SEO meta tags! ;)
More importantly, ask yourself if you are really willing to reveal all those "secret statistics" about your blog to the public; if not, then this plugin is not for you! ;) (kidding)
Plugins I Have NOT Used Yet: So far I have told you about the plugins I have used personally. However, I want to drag this article a bit further so I would also mention some plugins which I have not used yet; if you really wish to try them, I suggest that you install them on a test blog first. Add them to your production site only if you are happy with the test results! Keep in mind that while good plugins can power-up your blog, the bad ones can mess up the same blog in a big way!:)
PostStats: From the plugin’s description: "[Shows] Statistics about posts length and reading time on dashboard and/or sidebar widget (see screenshots). Optionally, displays additional statistics before each post."
StatPress Reloaded: From the plugin’s description: "This plugin (a highly improved fork of StatPress) shows you real time statistics about your blog. It collects information about visitors, spiders, search keywords, feeds, browsers, OS etc.
Once the plugin StatPress has been activated it immediately starts to collect information. Using StatPress Reloaded you can see your visitors actions while they are surfing your blog or check which are the preferred pages, posts and categories. In the Dashboard menu you will find the StatPress Reloaded page where you could look up the statistics (overview or detailed). StatPress Reloaded also includes a widget you can add to a sidebar (or easy PHP code if you can’t use widgets!)."
FYI, StatPress Reloaded is known to be in conflict with Official Statcounter Plugin. Of course I don’t think you would need both the plugins anyway! ;)
To conclude, I think this article would have really ended on a mundane and boring note if not for the "pitch" at the climax, what say ya? ;) (kidding)
=>THE BOREDOM ENDS HERE, FOR NOW!<=
As always, if you are happy with this boring article, please click here to post a nice comment. Thanks :D
To be continued…
Disclosure: ArindamChakraborty.com is affiliated to Pretty Link Pro.