Have you ever wanted to track what your WordPress membership site users are doing within your site? What pages are they viewing? Which browsers or OS are they logging-in from? What material are they downloading from the site?
Your off-the-top-of-your-head answer would be Google Analytics, right?
Alas, that’s a WRONG choice. Google Analytics is not an option AT ALL.
Why you may want to track the activity of your membership site users?
We have been using a membership plugin called DAP for almost 8 years now. The technical side of it has worked pretty well for us. We were able to develop our own payment gateway integrations, auto-responder integrations, SMTP integrations, Single Sign On (SSO) to a 3rd party support desk solution.
Except for some hiccups we faced with how it is designed (which is perhaps a topic for another day), DAP has worked pretty well for the most part in the last 8 years.
While most of these things remain under-the-hood for our end-users, my team silently keeps churning features to ensure happy experience for our end users and trainees.
There can be various reasons why you may want to track your membership site users:
- You can pro-actively find their system configuration to provide better technical support.
- You may find out at which video/module the users of your course start to drop-off or start slacking. Such data can be immensely helpful in redesigning a course.
- You may track a member activity within your WordPress site for security reasons.
- Tag them to sell the kind of products they may be interested in. This is exactly what Amazon has been doing with us for several years now.
Why not Google Analytics?
That is the first thought that crossed my mind. Google Analytics is the #1 website analytics solution. It is used by small time bloggers to Fortune 500 companies. BuiltWith, a website that tracks what software is used on websites across the internet, claims that Google Analytics is used on a staggering 27.9 million of the total websites.
I explored further in the direction and I found this policy from Google Analytics
Take note of the policies highlighted above:
- You will not upload any data that allows Google to personally identify an individual (such as certain names, social security numbers, email addresses, or any similar data), or data that permanently identifies a particular device (such as a mobile phone’s unique device identifier if such an identifier cannot be reset).
- If you upload any data that allows Google to personally identify an individual, your Google Analytics account can be terminated, and you may lose your Google Analytics data.
Essentially if you want to track a specific member, Google doesn’t allow you to do that. While Google may have their legitimate and legal reasons to not track users on an individual basis, I, as the membership site owner don’t find anything wrong with it. As long as I am not selling/sharing my member’s data with a 3rd party and have taken their consent during registration, I don’t mind tracking the paid users for their own benefit.
What tracking solution do we use?
WordPress has a mind-boggling 30,000 free plugins in its repository. Add to that, the equal numbers which are not listed in official repository and sold on market places like ThemeForest. With 60k plugins, you can be sure that the problem that you are encountering in your WordPress set-up has been already solved.
This, however, creates its own problem.
The Problem Of Plenty.
Sifting through tons of options to check which of them are able to do EXACTLY what we want and fit within our budget is an humongous task.
We tested several plugins and finally we met WP SlimStats.
- This is a full blown comprehensive tracking solution. As can be seen in the screenshot above, SlimStats can track the visitor activity by WordPress username, IP, country, browser, OS, system resolution, date time and more.
- SlimStats allows me to track user-specific activity.
- SlimStats has been in active development for 10 years now and has 100,000+ downloads on official WordPress repository.
- SlimStats has wide variety of add-ons like Heatmap, usertracking, IP to address converter and more. All paid add-ons comes with one-time payment option with no recurring payments for future updates.
- It is lightweight and highly configurable plugin. WordPress website analytics solutions are generally infamous and known to be memory/CPU hogging so much so that managed WordPress hosts like WPEngine do not even allow them on their servers. Slimstats, however, seems pretty lightweight. It has been over a week that we have been using SlimStats on our membership site. We have not noticed any major spikes in CPU/RAM consumption due to its usage. Having said that, ensure not to keep infinite history of tracking logs and do not keep the SlimStats dashboard open all the time.
How to integrate DAP and WP SlimStats?
Integration between DigitalAccessPass (DAP) and SlimStats is quite straightforward. You just need to enable sync between DAP user data and WordPress. SlimStats will start doing the job.
To setup this integration, go to DAP Admin > Setup > Config > WordPress related fields.
Mark “Sync DAP User Data to WordPress” to Yes and mark “Sync Paid Users Only to WordPress” to No
Slimstats will start tracking your membership site users. The tracked data can be seen in WordPress dashboard.
Over To You
Do you use any tracking solution for your membership site? What is the most important metric for a membership site? What else do you want in a tracking solution? Let me know your thoughts below.
PS: We don’t have affiliation with WP SlimStats in any manner except that we are one of their happy users.