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Why has traffic to WordPress sites plummeted?

Traffic to WordPress sites
Sharp fall: WordPress isn't tracking site traffic properly

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It probably hasn’t, but if you rely on WordPress’s own Jetpack stats to measure your site’s traffic, you may have noticed a dramatic drop in traffic to your site in recent days. Certainly, we’ve seen our Jetpack-reported traffic more than halved here at BTQ. So what’s going on?

A pain in the AMP

It seems a recent update to the AMP plugin has meant that pages served in the mobile-friendly format are no longer being tracked by Jetpack.

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, and is a stripped-back format designed to accelerate page load times on mobile devices. It’s a Google-backed standard and Google rewards sites that use AMP by pushing their stories higher in Google searches performed on mobile devices. It’s critical to traffic on sites such as ours. 

However, a recent overhaul of the official plugin that creates AMP pages for WordPress has broken tracking. Any AMP pages served to visitors are no longer being counted in Jetpack stats. If you use an alternative analytics package, such as Google Analytics, you should notice your site traffic is still at normal levels.

According to the technicians working on the problem, the new version of AMP isn’t being detected by the Jetpack stats package. If you’re a technically-minded site owner, you can see a discussion of the problem here. (Weston Ruter, who is contributing to that thread, works for Google and develops the AMP plugin for WordPress.)

The bad news is that a fix is going to take some time to roll out. A message we received from WordPress support said that “the fix for the AMP stats issue is being developed, but the release would most likely be around January 10 with the release of Jetpack 6.10”.

In other words, WordPress site owners, it’s going to be lonely this Christmas. 

Now read this: How can I import a website into WordPress?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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