This is work in progress, but I’m compiling a list of blogs, software and plugins that help make Web Analytics less painful.
Analytics installation has been the bain of my life this month, so I’ve been reading up on the topic more than usual.
I’ll focus heavily on Google Analytics, as this is my poison of choice, but will develop this to include more resources for alternative Analytics solutions further down the line.
If you have any suggestions, or would like your site to feature, then please add a comment & I’ll update the list… if I like it.
Introductions & Explanations
Analytics Installation Guides
- Google Analytics Installation Guide – By Google
- Google Analytics Installation Guide from Epic One – Much more clear than Google’s Effort
- Exact Pay Per Click keyword reporting (will tell you what phrases you pay for when phrase/broad matching)
- Track your phone calls within Analytics
- Web Analytics Can Track Offline Campaigns
- Tracking Offline Campaigns (ROI Version)
- How to track 301 redirected websites
- Using Google Analytics to track “exit links” (which external links people use on your site/where they go next)
- Tracking Google TV Adverts
- Tracking traffic from a Twitter Campaign
- Track Downloads (e.g. PDF, AVI, Excel, or WMV)
- Track your Email campaign
- Track your 404 pages (error not found)
- Get the exact page of your referring url
Check Analytics Is Installed
- SiteScan – Diagnostics tool that produces a report for each page of you site
- WASP – Plugin for Firefox
- GA? – Very simple plugin for Firefox
- JU2 Esense Analytics Blog – News, tips and links to resources helping you make use of data.
- Hurol Inan – Short, easy to read tips
- Occam’s Razor – Excellent blog about Analytics, very Google oriented
- Epic One – Great tips & tools from an agency specialising in Analytics
- Visual Revenue – open minded, with info on a variety of analytics tools – veering towards Yahoo
Let’s not reinvent the wheel, here’s Lee Odden’s list of blog analytics tools
Certification and Training
- Web Analytics Association Certification – this is likely to start in early 2009
- E-Consultancy courses – based in the UK
- Conversion University – Online resources by Google
These are some of the popular Analytics solutions available.
- Google Analytics – Free analytics package
- Google Urchin – Server side paid for analytics package
- Indextools – acquired by Yahoo
Other Analytics Resources
- Web Analytics Discussion Group (on Yahoo! Groups)
- E-consultancy Web Analytics Section
- Great presentation by Yahoo [PDF] – Don’t just report, take action based on results
- Lesser Known Features Of Google Analytics
- Introduction To Analytics For Non Profit Organisations – (useful for profit making organisations too!)
Social Media Analytics
- Beyond Analysis
- Nielson Buzz Metrics
- SEER by VML
- Sentiment Metrics
(List courtesy of Andy Cleff)
It will never be perfect
However, most of the large errors and inaccuracies with Web Analytics will be down to the installation rather than the tool itself. So take the time to check your work, using tools mentioned above, and cross referencing with the number of enquiries/purchase actually received.
I love the quote by June Li, who says:
“Complaining about the inaccuracy of web traffic numbers is almost like complaining about weather forecasts. Yes, weather forecasts are inaccurate. We still want those forecasts even though we know that they’re not 100% accurate.”
If you compare the accuracy of tracking an online campaign to a magazine or television advert for example, I think it puts it in perspective.
Other than setting up specific phone numbers or offer codes, how do you know what advert the consumer saw and on what channel?
Analytics can be an utter nightmare to get right, but it’s really worth it because otherwise you’re just playing in the dark.