Web Analytics Resources

What is Web Site Analytics? 

Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.
– Digital Analytics Association   (More definitions from the DAA)

What is Internet data?  Internet data includes Web site traffic data as well as data from usability studies, transactional database systems, customer entered data, online surveys and Web server performance monitoring systems.  A common misunderstanding is that Web analytics is only about Web site traffic data, not surprising because Web traffic data is the backbone of a Web analytics program.

What is Web traffic data?  As people download, register, buy online, or simply surf Web pages, Web traffic data is continuously logged in the background on Web servers.

What are Web analytic software tools?  There are roughly 80 vendors of Web analytic software tools.  The majority of these tools transform Web traffic data into more useful information through segmenting, filtering, summarizing and reporting.  Other tools enable more advanced testing and analytics techniques, such as real-time multivariate testing.

Successful Web analytic programs are business programs.   No software tool is a silver bullet for success.  Organizations effectively using Web site analytics know the value of Web analytics comes from the actions taken based on the insight that’s derived from the output of these tools.  Analysts (i.e. people, not tools) extract insight relevant to business goals.  Effective processes use this insight to drive meaningful change, iteratively ramping progress forward.

Articles, books, blogs and other resources:

  • Online Communities
    • Search LinkedIn.  More groups every day.
    • Track Twitter hashtag #msure (previously #measure)

And various vendor blogs.

Some Basic Definitions

Logfile: Traffic data is collected on your web servers or your Web host’s servers.  All activity is logged, regardless of whether it is by Web bots or humans. Also referred to as server-side data collection.

Page Tagging: Web pages or elements are ‘tagged’ with JavaScript data collection code. Traffic data is then collected by the code deploying when a page is viewed by a browser.  Also referred to as client-side data collection.

Server-side Software: Web analytics reporting tool available as a piece of software. Processes your website server’s logfiles into more usable and useful reports.

Hosted application:  Web analytics data is collected by software on Web computer servers “hosted” by the Web analytics vendor.  Your Web site pages, images or forms are coded with a page-tagging script.  When the page is viewed, traffic information is sent to vendor’s servers.

More definitions…

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