Blunt GA, A Better Google Analytics Plug-In For WordPress

With a degree in computer information systems from Mohawk Valley Community College, John worked for small businesses and performed freelance work before joining Site-Seeker in 2007.

In this entry I am going to talk about the Google Analytics WordPress plugin used by Site-Seeker.

The first thing I want to talk about is the name Blunt. My goals when creating any piece of code are:

  1. It serves a specific purpose
  2. It does not do anything beyond that purpose
  3. the code is easy to understand and modify
  4. the interface is easy to understand and use by others

Like me, I want my software to be simple and to the point, or Blunt. So that’s why I chose the name.

So what was is the point of this plugin? Aren’t there enough plugins out there already that install GA? What we at Site-Seeker needed and my goal was to create a plugin that automatically installs Google Analytics on all pages of a site and tracks everything that we want to track on most sites.

  • Install Google Analytics
  • Track Page Views
  • Track Document Downloads (anything other than an HTML page)
  • Track clicks on Mailto Links
  • Track clicks on Outbound Links (links to other sites)
  • Track clicks on links to named anchors (#)
  • Track views of special (conversion) pages
  • Allow some simple form submission tracking (only for completeness, see below)
  • Allow events to be tracked as Events or as Virtual Page Views
  • Allow Cross site tracking and Cross site Linking

While there are other plugins that allow many of these things, most do not do them all, especially not free plugins.

What It Does

This plugin will allow you to track any link on a page. That means anything that looks similar to:

<a href="some-link">some link txt</a>

It will also allow you to track form submissions, however, this was only included for completeness of the plugin. At Site-Seeker we do not look at how many times a form is submitted. The reason for this is that this does not tell you if the submission was successful, only that someone clicked the submit button. It is better to track only the submissions that were completed.

You can get more details at the WordPress Plugin Directory. All the documentation on the plugin is there and if you have a question don’t hesitate to post question in the support forum.

What It Doesn’t Do

There are other plugins out there that connect to GA and pull data into your admin. I don’t do this and I do not see any point in doing so. The best place for you to get the Analytics data you want on your site is to log into GA and look at it there. Unless I wanted to build a large interface inside the WP admin to do everything you can do by logging into GA. Again, I don’t see a reason to do this. Google has put a lot of time and effort into the GA user interface, seems a shame to not use it and foolish to try to reproduce it.

This plugin will is also not capable of adding eCommerce specific tracking information. This is something that needs to be integrated into the display of a shopping cart and checkout system.