Web Analytics Resources

PushON | August 29th 2008

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

Advanced Analytics

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

Analytics Blogs

  • 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

Blog Analytics

Let’s not reinvent the wheel, here’s Lee Odden’s list of blog analytics tools

Certification and Training

Analytics Software

These are some of the popular Analytics solutions available.

Other Analytics Resources

Social Media Analytics

(List courtesy of Andy Cleff)

It will never be perfect

There are a number of reasons why your tracking will never be a 100% accurate account of what happens to your website in real life. For example, some tracking is dependant on Cookies, and/or JavaScript which are often blocked or deleted (Avinash has a great article on types of Cookies involved in tracking).  And tracking using server logs can vastly overestimate your visitors if each image and page element is tracked as a unique hit.

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.