Web analytics are an important part of running a website, at least if you want people to see your site. And if you don’t want people to see it, it probably shouldn’t be on the Internet in the first place.
Analytics allow you to see who’s viewing your site, and how, and when. There are plenty of tools that can provide you with this information, and I generally recommend using a mix of a couple such tools for a more comprehensive and (probably) more accurate look at viewing data.
WordPress has its own analytics tools built into Jetpack, but Jetpack has more than a few bad reviews, so I thought I’d explore other options, starting with WP SlimStat.
SlimStat provides real-time analytics about who’s viewing your content, which content they’re viewing, and where your viewers are arriving at your page from, among other things. I think my favorite part of the SlimStat plugin is that interface is completely customizable. You can drag and drop windows and even hide the ones you don’t need. No digging through irrelevant charts necessary.
The only potential hangup: SlimStat uses HTML5 canvases for its charts. This means that SlimStat won’t work for you if you’re using IE8 or older. If that’s the case, dishonor on your cow. Update your browser, for pity’s sake.