Why you don’t need to use a plugin for Google Analytics (GA4) on your WordPress site

Please note: It is recommended to test this plugin on a development site before using it on a production site. Once the plugin is activated, check that Google Analytics is tracking correctly by reviewing your GA4 property in the Google Analytics interface.

Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that provides website owners with detailed insights into how visitors interact with their site. While there are many plugins available for WordPress that claim to make it easy to integrate Google Analytics into your site, the truth is that you don’t actually need a plugin to get the job done. In fact, using a plugin for Google Analytics on your WordPress site can actually introduce unnecessary overhead and complexity.

The first issue with using a plugin for Google Analytics is that it requires you to install yet another piece of software on your website. Each plugin you install can slow down your site and increase the risk of conflicts or security vulnerabilities. While some plugins are essential, like security or caching plugins, using a plugin for Google Analytics is not necessary.

Another issue with using a plugin is that it adds an extra layer of complexity to your site. Instead of simply adding the Google Analytics tracking code directly to your site, you have to rely on the plugin to handle the integration. If something goes wrong with the plugin, it can be difficult to troubleshoot and fix the issue. Additionally, if the plugin is not kept up to date with the latest changes to Google Analytics, you may experience problems with your tracking data.

On the other hand, installing Google Analytics without a plugin is a straightforward process. All you need to do is create a Google Analytics account, copy the tracking code, and paste it into the header or footer of your WordPress site. You can use a plugin like Insert Headers and Footers to easily add the code to your site.

By installing Google Analytics directly on your site, you can ensure that you have complete control over the tracking process. You can also be sure that the tracking code is up-to-date and working correctly, without having to rely on a third-party plugin.

In conclusion, while plugins can be a great way to extend the functionality of your WordPress site, using a plugin for Google Analytics is not necessary. Installing Google Analytics without a plugin is a simple and effective way to get the job done without introducing unnecessary overhead and complexity to your site. By taking control of the tracking process, you can ensure that your website is accurately tracking visitor behavior and gaining valuable insights that can help you improve your online presence.

Here’s a basic Google Analytics 4 (GA4) plugin:

 * Plugin Name: Google Analytics 4 Enqueue
 * Plugin URI: https://yourpluginuri.com/
 * Description: A simple plugin to enqueue Google Analytics 4 on your WordPress site.
 * Version: 1.0
 * Author: Your Name
 * Author URI: https://yourauthoruri.com/

function ga4_enqueue_script() {
    $measurement_id = "YOUR-MEASUREMENT-ID"; // Replace with your own Google Analytics 4 Measurement ID
    $script_url = "https://www.google-analytics.com/g/tag/js?id=" . $measurement_id;
    wp_enqueue_script( 'ga4_script', $script_url, false, null, true );
    wp_add_inline_script( 'ga4_script', 'window.gtag = function(){dataLayer.push(arguments);};"dataLayer",arguments);gtag("js", new Date());gtag("config", "' . $measurement_id . '");');
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'ga4_enqueue_script' );
  • The $measurement_id variable is used instead of the $ga_code variable, and it should be set to your GA4 Measurement ID.
  • The $script_url variable is updated to point to the GA4 script location.
  • The wp_add_inline_script function is updated to include the GA4 initialization code, which uses the dataLayer variable instead of the gtag function used in the GA script version.

Note that while this plugin will enqueue the GA4 script, you’ll still need to configure your GA4 property and create any necessary tags and triggers in the Google Analytics interface to start collecting data.

To use this plugin, simply create a new file in your WordPress plugins directory, name it something like google-analytics-enqueue.php, and paste in the code above. Then, activate the plugin in your WordPress dashboard, and replace YOUR-GA-CODE with your own Google Analytics tracking code.

That’s it! Your Google Analytics tracking code will now be enqueued on the front-end of your WordPress site.