WordPress.com is a wonderful free tool, if you can put up with their ads appearing on your content. The analytics, however, are very basic and soon prove a source of frustration if you get any kind of decent traffic levels.

You can of course upgrade to self-hosted WordPress and install any number of analytics tools and your own ads as the javascript code will not be blocked.

However, if you’re not ready to make the leap, then there are still ways to improve your analytics at no cost. There are others available, but I’m using the Statcounter WordPress.com service. The free version is limited and again not the most sophisticated of tools (referrers are blocked I believe due to lack of javascript), but it’s a step up from the default WordPress analytics service.

Essentially, you create a text widget and add the code to the permanent sidebar and away you go.

Instructions are here, but I’d be interested to hear of other and better services.