Archive for November, 2008

Google Analytics – oh, the controversy

Monday, November 24th, 2008

This past week was Google Analytics week for some reason. It was in the news and all over the blogs. Controversy *and* good stuff. I, of course, am going to focus on the controversy for this post. Nothing new here, but worth mentioning.

Article Number One. First, read The Disturbing Truth about Google Analytics on iMediaConnection. The post charges that much of the way Google Analytics collects its data is inaccurate and therefore the calculated metrics (i.e., time on site) are inaccurate. The comments were generally negative. Brian Clifton, author of Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics, even said the post was incorrect. Very interesting post and comments overall.
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Twitter – A Different Kind of Conversation

Monday, November 17th, 2008

There have been a ton of posts and news lately about Twitter. The mini-blogging platform has been everywhere. The presidential election was a hot topic (and still is!), hashtags are all the rage, one user raised $10K for a dowry using Twitter, and it’s even seen by the Army as a possible communication tool for terrorists.

Higher education blogs have mainly focused on how Twitter can help as a marketing, recruitment, advising tool. There are so many great uses for Twitter both in higher education and for corporations.

What about us Twitter-users as individuals, though? How does it affect what we do, our sense of community, our sense of professional involvement?

It’s fantastic to talk about Twitter as a tool to help our students and customers. I’m completely on board with that.

Let’s do something that I don’t like to do a lot on this blog, though.

Let’s talk about us!

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Fun with Card Sorts

Friday, November 14th, 2008

So you’re getting calls for information that is readily (or so you think) available on your website. Maybe you’re creating an Intranet and you’re not quite sure exactly how to organize the navigation.

I have two words for you. Card sort.

So what the heck is a card sort and why should we use it? A card sort is a usability test of sorts. It’s a technique used to help organize a website. A user is given a stack of cards with labels on them. The labels are usually navigation labels – page names (or potential page names) of the website. They don’t even have to be that granular. The cards can show topic areas instead of specific page names.

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Omniture vs. Google Analytics

Monday, November 10th, 2008

During the past week, there was quite a lively debate going on at the Web Analytics Forum on Yahoo! Groups. Paul Holstein, who blogs over at Web Analytics Demystified, started the conversation by asking people the simple question, “Why do we still need Omniture?”Omniture vs. Google Analytics

Sidebar: For those of you aren’t familiar with Omniture, it is a proprietary web analytics tool. It’s like Google Analytics, but more robust and, therefore, more complex.

Since there are so many schools that use Google Analytics, I thought I’d share my thoughts. If you don’t want to read through the entire Yahoo thread, Paul listed a summary of the comments on this blog post. I’ll give a readers digest version here – focused mainly on features higher ed sites might use.
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What’s in my RSS reader? – October 2008

Friday, November 7th, 2008

I’m a little late this month (I completely missed October), but here is the most recent installment of What’s in my RSS reader? This time I’m focusing less on higher education websites and more on the customer (yes, all you higher ed sites, your students and users are your customers!) and social media.

So, here is my list for the month of October, 2008 (I know, I know, it’s already November) …
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The Election and Statistics

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Election day is hours away and I still can’t believe it’s here. I’ve never been so excited about an election in my entire life. No matter which side you’re on, this will be such an energizing *and* exhausting day. The first time I voted was back in 1992 (H.W. Bush vs. Clinton) and since then I cannot remember such an energized and anxious campaign on either side.

What’s also exciting is the use of “statistics for the common folk” as I like to put it. Everything in this campaign has been measured from every angle possible.
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