No, that’s not a typo. These are stats provided by Automattic rather than merely stats that are automatic. For some time now, people with blogs hosted at wordpress.com have had the benefit of a free statistics display. Not using the service myself beyond having created a test site there a while ago, I hadn’t looked into this, but people did speak highly of it.
It installs like any other plugin, but you need to get an account (not necessarily a blog) at wordpress.com. Once you’ve got the account, you will have access to your API key, which you can then enter into the configuration of your own WordPress site. Got that? It’s caused a lot of confusion for people using the Akismet anti-spam plugin, for reasons that I’m not entirely sure of, but I suspect involve not reading all the instructions.
Once installed, it pops a little image onto all your WordPress pages, which links back to their servers. Paranoid people who don’t like third-party images might start squealing about “web-bugs” at this point. I tend to ignore such silliness myself…
Give it about 20 minutes, then you can log on to your wordpress.com account (there will be a link in your WordPress Dashboard. From there, you will see which individual posts are getting the most visits, what people have been searching on to reach your site, and overall visitor numbers.
I installed it this afternoon and it’s already showing useful stuff. It’s not as detailed as the heavy-duty “real” stats I have running, but for a quick summary of what’s going on with my WordPress site, it’s pretty damn nice.
Give it a try.