Do you track your site’s statistics on Google Analytics, or are you like me and find it too much of a hassle to trudge on over to Google Analytics, log in and navigate the complicated user interface to view your reports? Would you like an easier way to view those stats, or see where people are clicking on your home page? How about having easy to spot share buttons and contact forms on your site? Oh, and while we’re at it, what about a way to connect those forms to your email list, or help build your list in general?
And finally, wouldn’t it be nice to have all that in your WordPress dashboard when you log into your site with one plugin to rule them all?
Don’t worry, you won’t have to walk to Mordor to make that happen.
First Things First, What’s a Plugin?
Plugins are applications you install on you WordPress site to increase the functionality. With them, you can install contact forms, shopping carts, photo galleries and so much more. Chances are if you have a need for a specialized function, there’s a plugin that can do it.
Say Hello to Sumo
Sumo is one of those plugins that will help make tracking your stats and your visitors’ experience much easier. It’s like getting a dozen plugins all in one. Click here to visit the site and download the free version.
After you’ve downloaded the plugin, installation is easy. Go to Plugins>Add New in your dashboard’s sidebar, then upload and install the zip file. Click “Activate” and you’re almost ready to go. The first time you use Sumo you’ll be asked to establish an account. Go ahead and do that, you’ll use this to set up the plugin on multiple sites if you have them.
From that point on, you’ll see a big green button in your main dashboard panel. When you click on that, the interface opens up and you’ll see this:
Clicking on My Apps will take you to the next screen where you’ll choose which applications you want to use. With many free plugins you only get a few of the applications, but not with Sumo. The only two apps not included in the free version are Integrations for connecting your signup forms to your email provider of choice (AWeber, MailChimp, etc.) and Dashboard, for viewing all your app stats in one place.
For our purposes, we’re only using a handful of them; Google Analytics, Heat Maps, Share, and Contact Form.
Real Time Overview
After you’ve installed Sumo and activated the Share, Contact Tab and Analytics you’ll be able to see them on your site:
- Contact Tab
- Real Time Stats
- Heat Map Button
The locations of the tabs and such may be different, depending on where you decide to put them when you configure each app. The real time stats in the corner will only be seen by you and not your visitors. The share buttons and contact tab will follow your visitors from page to page, serving as a constant reminder to share a page or post if they like, or to easily contact you without having to leave the page they’re on.
I have to say I liked this app in the plugin the best. It was easy to activate. I turned the app to “On” from the app list in the dashboard screen, then clicked on that app to open it to the settings. Sumo makes it easy to get going. The settings process will ask you for your Google login and then search for all the Analytics codes you have and give you a choice in a dropdown menu to pick the one for the site you’re on (this is where your Sumo account comes in, these options will follow you from site to site where you have Sumo installed). Choose the correct code and save and let the app do its job. In no time you’ll see stats, including which pages and posts visitors click on the most.
First, what is a heat map? A heat map is an imprint of where people click the most on any given page. The brighter the spot, the more it’s clicked on. In the example above we see that Services, Portfolio and Get In Touch are the most commonly used.
To activate this app, turn it On in your main Sumo dashboard, then get out of there and go to the page you want to record (otherwise you’ll be heat mapping your WordPress dashboard). In your Sumo tab (#4 in the upper screenshot) click on the crown button to open your Sumo dash and go back into Heat Map. In there, you’ll be asked to start recording the page you’re on. Once you start recording, that becomes a new campaign. Repeat this process on other pages you want to record, like for example if you have a landing page for a new promotion and you want to see where people are clicking most.
The only issue I have is when I have a heat map open and I want to close it. There doesn’t seem to be a button to do that, so I simply refresh the page and it goes away.
The contact tab is another great feature. How many times have you been on a site and want to contact the owners and can’t find where to do so? For the visitor, that’s nothing short of frustrating and they’re gone; for the site owner, that’s a potential sale lost. Having a contact tab follow the visitor from page to page keeps that feature right at their fingertips and its a no-brainer. You can also style the pop up form with a few different font choices and plenty of color choices.
Blue Sun’s Rating of Sumo
Overall I have to give Sumo a five out of four stars. It’s easy to use and install, got me monitoring my Analytics again, and helps us keep our site goals on track. One other plus we don’t see here is Sumo’s customer service. I had emailed them about an error that popped up and they responded within an hour. They were courteous and kind and helped solve the problem.
Sumo also sends out a newsletter with amazing offers for other plugins, apps, workshops and more. Over the last couple of years we’ve gotten a great deal on stock photography from Depositphoto, and Scrivener (also click here to see our review of Scrivener) for $20 through Sumo. Even better is when you share these deals and someone buys from your affiliate link, you earn Sumo bucks toward your next purchase. The Depositphoto deal alone paid for itself in no time. Our first purchase of 100 photo credits for $39 had enough people click on it that we were able to buy another set of 100 credits. The credits also have no expiration date, so we just keep stockpiling them.
For a free plugin, Sumo offers you a lot of tools you’ll find helpful in your everyday site management duties.
Are you already using Sumo? Tell us in the comments how your experience has been, we’d love to hear from you!