There are so many great resources out there for every level of expertise in web analytics. I certainly won’t get to them all in this post – I probably won’t even scratch the surface. In this post I’ll go over what, in my opinion, are the “must have’s” to get started with web analytics – especially for those of you in higher education.
Although you can buy many books (there are quite a few out there now that are phenomenal), you don’t have to spend one cent if you don’t want to (or can’t!). There are so many free resources that could keep you busy researching for years.
For general web analytics, Avinash Kaushik’s blog, Occam’s Razor is probably the best, hands down. Avinash is the most popular, and, I’ll dare say, one of the most knowledgeable people out there in the web analytics field. He’s the “Analytics Evangelist” for Google and does so much more. What’s great about Aninash’s blog is that he talks about web analytics in non-analyst terms. He tries as much as possible to use common terms that *all* website owners can understand and use. Even those starting out can absolutely follow his posts. He gives specific examples of everything he talks about. His blog is full of fantastic content from the very basic to the very advanced. If you are new to web analytics or you are an expert, there is something there for you.
Although there are endless blogs about general web analytics, there are precious few geared specifically toward higher education (or any other *non-ecommerce* sites, for that matter). If I have one gripe about web analytics resources, this would be it. Too many resources are geared toward e-commerce, in my opinion. But, that’s an argument for another post at another time.
Kyle James has a great blog called .eduGuru about web analytics and web development for higher education. Kyle has some guest bloggers that write for his site as well. For those of you in higher education, his site is a fantastic resource. He goes way beyond web analytics into web design, development, SEO, and much more. Kyle started his blog back and January. I am a relatively new reader of his blog, so I find myself reading his new posts *and* archived posts almost daily.
Let’s move onto some books. For those beginning in analytics, and by that, I mean *actionable* analytics, not just reporting, Avinash Kaushik’s book, Web Analytics An Hour a Day is a must read. What’s great about this book is that it takes you from the fundamentals with specific examples of “what’s in it for you.” He also gives specific examples of how analytics can benefit specific types of websites. If you have not read this book, read it! I know I keep mentioning Avinash (his blog, his book), but his writing is so user-friendly and relevant to *any* website owner I think it’s important to emphasize it.
For those of you using Google Analytics, a great book to read is Brian Clifton’s book, Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics. I just bought this book about three weeks ago, so I have not read the entire thing, but so far it’s fantastic. I used Google Analytics when it first came out, but hadn’t touched it until I implemented it on some sites I set up for a friend about a year ago (we use Omniture’s SiteCatalyst where I work now). This book has helped me get back into the GA grove as well as Kyle James’ blog. Kyle has great info about using Google Analytics.
Enough resources for now. I will absolutely post about others later. Begin with those, though, and you’ll get a great start. Do you have any favorite web analytics resources?