9 Ways to Give WordPress Blog Contributors Helpful Stats About Their Posts
Having different contributors to your blog is a good thing. It allows different voices to be heard; different perspectives. But what if their content misses the mark? What do you do if the writing is great but the content isn’t resonating?
Keyword research is one way to address this issue. Visitor surveys are another. Basically, the more feedback you can collect about your industry and from the people in it, the better. But sometimes even all of that isn’t enough. Sometimes, you simply need to provide your contributors with stats.
The statistics I’m talking about here are of the post views variety. Giving your contributors a head’s up as to which of their posts are performing well and which ones barely crossed the finish line can be incredibly helpful. It shows your writers what types of content best connects with your target audience. It can help them figure out what structures work as well.
Over time, providing helpful stats like these can help turn your sometime-contributors into full-time members of your by equipping them with the info they need to make smart content decisions.
Today, we’re going to discuss some ways you can give your blog contributors helpful stats about their posts through the use of code snippets and plugins.
Add Post or Page Stats to the Dashboard
So you want to let your contributors view important stats about their posts? Great! But before you work on adding this information to all the right places, you first need to add the capability to show statistics in the first place to your WordPress dashboard. This is actually very easy to do and usually just involves installing a plugin that you’d already use anyway.
The first plugin I’d recommend using is Jetpack. I mean, this is the plugin that lets your site integrate fully with WordPress.com and provides a whole host of features all jam-packed into one reasonable tool.
Like I said, you probably already use this one anything, so it’s no skin off your back to simply enable the Stats module.
Once turned on, Stats will show you how many visits your site receives in a handy little bar graph. It also shows you your most popular posts, the top searches people used to land on your site as well as your top referrers, site subscriptions, and what people are clicking on. With WordPress.com integration enabled, you can also view your visits by country.
Another plugin option is Google Analyticator. Assuming you have a Google Analytics account already, this plugin makes it super simple to integrate it into your site and to display a widget on your dashboard that provides an at-a-glance look at site performance. You don’t have to manually insert the Analytics code into your site—the plugin does that for you.
The included dashboard widget displays up to 30 days worth of visitor information, site usage info, top pages, top referrers, and the top searches. A front-end widget can also be enabled to show visitor statistics information to your visitors. It also includes download link tracking, shortcodes, site speed tracking, and more.
Installing one of these plugins will give you a look at how your site is performing and can give your contributors a bird’s eye view of what posts and pages are performing the best.
Add Post Views to Site’s Front-end with Code
Many plugins overdo it on features. I mean, let’s be honest here. But if you want to display a post view count without resorting to a plugin, what are you to do? Why, use a handy code snippet, of course. According to WP-Snippets, the following mini-tutorial will make it possible to add a post view counter to your site’s front-end. It’s super simple. Before you begin make sure you backup your site and create a child theme. Never make modifications directly to your theme’s functions.php file without performing these steps first!
Add the following code snippet to functions.php
Next, add the following to single.php:
<?php setPostViews(get_the_ID()); ?>
And finally, paste the following where you want the post views to be displayed on your site:
<?php echo getPostViews(get_the_ID()); ?>
Another option is to specifically call on Jetpack statistics and display those per post or per page views on the site’s front-end. WP Hosting has a nifty tutorial on this that puts very simple code from the Grand Rapids WordPress Developers Group into practice. So again, make a backup of your site and make sure you’re working on a child theme before you begin.
You first need to add a code snippet to your theme’s functions.php file. It will call directly upon the stats_get_csv function in Jetpack to query how many times a post has been viewed. Insert the following code:
Then, all that’s left to do is to display the post views where you want them to appear. This method of inserting post views is very similar to the one we talked about earlier. Only in this example, this snippet calls on Jetpack stats and uses the Twenty-Thirteen theme, specifically. It is completely adaptable to any theme of your choosing, however:
Add Post Views to Front-End with Plugins
If fiddling around with code is not your idea of a fun time, there are plugins that’ll do the job, too. There are several available but the following three are currently the best options:
This straightforward plugin makes it easy to keep track of real-time post views. It provides statistics for individual posts and will display post views by visitor. Once installed, this plugin adds a widget of your most popular posts to your site’s sidebar. Plus, you can display the post view count within the dashboard on the All Posts page through the addition of a “View count” column.
WP Postviews is a very straightforward plugin that lets you display how many times a post or page has been viewed on the front-end of your site. You can also control who sees these view counts. You can configure the plugin to show post view counts only for registered users (more often than not, this refers to your contributors). Or, you can show them to the public if you’d like. You can even exclude bot views so search engines don’t index view counts (and so bot visits don’t add to the tally).
We actually wrote a tutorial about using this plugin that walks you through setup quite nicely.
Another plugin worth considering is the Post Views Counter, which lets you display view counts for posts, pages, or custom post types. You can enable post views on different post types, search for posts according to view count, and exclude counts from bots, registered users, and those with specific user roles.
You can also set the post views if you want and display all of this data via a dashboard stats widget, too. You also have the ability to choose where post views are displayed on the front-end via shortcode placement. This plugin is compatible with W3 Cache, WP Super Cache, and WPML.
Display Posts By Number of Views
Displaying post views for individual posts is a great idea because it gives your contributors solid numbers to see what types of content resonates the best with your site visitors. However, these post view counts can be a bit difficult to process when appropriate context isn’t provided.
That’s why I think it’s a good idea to display views for individual posts and to create a widget that displays posts by the number of views. This shows your contributors which of their posts are performing the best in relation to how all posts are performing.
There’s a nifty tutorial at Code Tuts+ that allows you to display the most popular posts by views in both the dashboard area and on your live site. The tutorial is a little dated but worth a look. It basically involves creating a plugin that calls up information from a database. In this case, that information is post views. The end result is a nice little widget that includes the post view count.
If you want to skip the code tweaking and just use a plugin-based solution, WordPress Popular Posts is a good option. It creates a widget that you can insert in your site’s sidebar that lists out your site’s most popular posts. It also displays the view count for each post and the number of comments. It includes a bunch of other parameters you can set as well like a time range from which to display posts, custom post type support, thumbnail images, custom layouts, multisite support, WPML support, and more.
Hopefully after reading this post, you’ll understand that it’s actually not all that difficult to provide your blog contributors with handy statistics on their posts’ performance.
You have some good options for displaying those stats within the dashboard and on your site’s front-end. Whatever option you choose, you’ll be doing your writers a service. Because knowledge is power, right?
Do you offer stats like these to your site contributors? Did I miss your favorite plugin or manually-created option? Feel free to share below.