Book Review – Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik

Web Analytics: An Hour A Day CoverLast Christmas, I picked myself up a copy of Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. (I read about 50 marketing and ecommerce blog feeds each week, so it’s a real treat to read top-notch marketing material offline from time to time). And now with the warm and sunny weather, I’m finding myself sneaking outside for around an hour a day to give it a second run through.

Since we’re having Avinash as our webinar guest this month, I figured now’s a good time to share my review of the book with Get Elastic readers.

Who It’s For

Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik is a great primer on web analytics for any webmaster, business owner, programmer or marketer. You don’t have to be a techie to “get it.” In fact, if you’re not a techie, you should read it simply to understand the basics of how data is collected on the web.

Because web analytics is as much art as science (perhaps more so), even seasoned web analysts can glean from Avinash’s strategies, tips and tactics. Plus, page 85 to 92 is all about what makes a great web analyst (aren’t you curious?), and there is an advanced analytics chapter that is sure to challenge your thinking.

Although Avinash is Google Analytics’ ambassador, it’s not a Google Analytics guide, nor is it biased to any particular analytics tool. The principles can be applied to free, mid-sized or enterprise tools.

Format

Web Analytics: An Hour a Day starts off with a few chapters to bring you up to speed on what analytics is, the different tools available and how they work, types of data and common challenges of web analytics. You’ll learn the “what,” the “why you should care” and the “what you should care about” of each item.

This is followed up with invaluable advice on what to look for in a Web analyst, a detailed guide to choosing the best analytics solution for your business (without finding out after spending a ton of money that it was the wrong tool) and how to ensure your tracking is set up properly.

Once you’re settled with your tool, the book continues with an 8 month plan for understanding the major capabilities of web analytics in — you got it — an hour a day. Each day you’ll do a little bit of reading, and the rest of the hour you’re hands on with your data. Kaushik covers all the bases – SEO, search engine marketing (PPC), internal site search, email marketing, multi-channel marketing, blogging and RSS tracking.

The content in Web Analytics: An Hour a Day is valuable for anyone who is involved in ecommerce – even if your title is not “Web Analyst.” Just like you must understand financial statements and balance sheets, even if you have an accountant, Web Analytics: An Hour A Day will help you understand your analytics data and reports.

Win a Copy of Web Analytics: An Hour a Day

If you haven’t read Web Analytics: An Hour a Day (or even if you have), please sign up for our upcoming Webinar, Thursday, July 17. Avinash will be presenting 3 Things to Die For: Web Analytics Unleashed, and every participant is eligible to win one of 6 signed copies of Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. And if you have a burning question for the analytics master, this is your chance as there is time for questions at the end. For details, and to sign up click here.

You’ll also do yourself a favor by checking out Avinash’s blog Occam’s Razor. It’s top notch content, and he responds thoughtfully to every comment and email. There’s an archive of podcasts and other media coverage on his blog, which will tide you over until next Thursday.


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11 Responses to “Book Review – Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik”

  1. The review sounds promising and just based off the most recent post that I read from Occam’s Razor it’s probably PACKED with info and tips- the post was on the long side, but covered a lot effectively, like a chapter in a book.

    I just found your blog (Get Elastic) the other day indirectly through Twitter. (Was bored so I started playing around with Twitter; Googled top twitter add ons; found the Twitter Toolbox on Mashable; clicked into twitterposter.com; looked for the most followed poster; found Guy Kawasaki; didn’t know who he was, Google him; found a WSJ article on him; that lead to another WSJ article, “15 Entrepreneur Blogs Worth Reading”; found Get Elastic and have been reading ever since. Phew!) I started with the ICHC post and used that to branch off into meaningful archived posts.

    Gotta say, I’ve quoted you/referred links of your posts to my boss and clients 3-4 times in the last 24 hours to better explain a topic/concept I was talking about. Bang up job.

    I even started a new folder in my RSS reader called “Feeds I actually read” to separate you and a select few others from the thousands of headlines from the 71 other feeds at one point I was convinced I NEEDED TO READ ALL THE TIME.

    Anyway- I really like the site and definitely will continue to come through the archives and read the most recent stuff.

    (BTW, do you know of any tool out there that can track users the way I told you. Basically the chain they followed to get to you?)

  2. Hello Adam, welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment.

    That’s the kind of qualitative analytics no tool can capture (for now) but I’m sure Google’s sitting on enough data it could cough that info up if it wanted to…but don’t quote me on that.

    I know Google’s been working on its super top secret mind-reader project called “Noodle” (codename lasagne) for 18 months now, I’m expecting the Beta to appear in Google Labs soon enough. (And you thought Google’s motto was “Don’t be Evil?”)

    Okay, I just made that up but it will be interesting to see what kinds of tools will be available in the next 5 years – or sooner.

    The other option is site surveys like Avinash/iPerceptions 4Q product, if you could tweak it to say “how exactly did you find this blog/website” you could ask the question, but participation will be low. Most people won’t remember exactly how they find you if it’s a complicated click-trail like yours.

    So thanks for the feedback Adam. That made my day :)

  3. Duane Shima says:

    I picked this book up a month ago recommended by my Google account rep and been hammering through it in between my new born’s nap times (about half way through). The book is a very easy to read with actionable insights at the end of each day/session/chapter.

    I’ve been looking for some new approaches to analyzing our PPC data and this book has opened up new ideas for me to explore and test. To echo what Linda posted, this is a great foundation for anyone looking to sharpen their web analysis game.

    Great Post!

    Duane

  4. rich page says:

    This book is truely amazing – it really helped to change my outlook on web analytics. And don’t be fooled by the title either, its got some very advanced analytics principles and best practices in there. I also have a different style review on this book too on my web analytics blog, check it out:
    http://rich-page.com/web-analytics/think-you-know-web-analytics-read-this-book/

    Great review Linda!

    Rich Page

  5. Thanks for the review, this looks like it could be very helpful. I’m not a web person, but I do run my website and do try and promote it and my books, but you can only wear so many hats. I’m hoping this will give me some clues and understanding to all of the information I have access to, but don’t know how to use (i.e., Google Webmaster and Analytics). Thanks again.

  6. [...] Search Engine Strategies San Jose, 2008, I caught up with Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics An Hour A Day, Google Analytics evangelist and Elastic Path webinar guest, and asked this very [...]

  7. yah its definitely will be the complete guide of google analytics tour. Thats gr8..

  8. Yahoo’s Web analytics tool upgrade takes a non-Google approach.Did you know that Yahoo has upgraded its Web analytics tool with a new version that adds functions and makes it available to search and display advertisers working with the company. While some coverage has implied that the new product is a sign that Yahoo is attempting to compete with Google in this sector, analysts say the company is actually trying to focus its analytics efforts with a different approach.

  9. I’ve been looking at web analytics recently. Google Analytics is good but I am currently trying to create my own solution.

    I was each visitor’s site ‘path’ to be recorded and available to me if I wish as well as an overview. For example, I want to be able to see if weekend searchers go for a certain type of products compared to weekend searchers and so push the right kind of products.

  10. Asbar says:

    i m Working with adwords for last 5 Year and finally i have made a masterpiece which contains all the solution about Adwords Soo Do me Feedback soo i can make it Better for you people to understand.

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