Thursday, March 30, 2017

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

Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik book review

I know this isn't my typical book review, but I wanted to post and see what the interest levels are anyway.

For months now, I have been very slowly reading through this Web Analytics book. This book took me so long to read for two reasons.

The first was that I read it mainly during my company allotted 2-hours per week of professional development time.

The second was because if I came across something I wanted to actually try and not just read about, I jumped onto the computer and sometimes got distracted for the remainder of my professional development time for that day.

So let's dive into my full review!

Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik 

Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik book image

This book, while some of it is super outdated, is also really helpful and motivating.

NOTE: This book was published May 29th 2007, and I read it in 2016/2017.

The tone of the book was perfect; It was professional with a splash of humor here and there. The humor really helped me to stay engaged in the reading.

The information itself is really helpful. Like I said above, some of it is outdated, but many, many times I found myself jumping on my computer to try something that the text suggested. There is a lot of really great insight in this book!

Some of the main topics and passages that really stuck with me include:
  • Analysts must have a customer-centric view that enables them to think like customers. 
  • Customer-centric web design is key- you must shift from "the site visitor needs to do what I want them to do" to "the site visitor is doing whatever they wanted to do" and having success. 
  • Report creators and analysts are different- the ability to see the big picture is what an analyst does.
  • Everything starts with objectives and desired outcomes; "Tell me your objectives and I'll tell you what insights I can provide with the data I have."
  • Data will never tell you the why.
  • A dashboard=1 single page, any long and that's a report. 
  • "In reality, a while bunch of traffic for most websites comes from the top 20 or so key phrases."- are you optimizing for those 20?
  • The upward trend in user wariness with paid campaigns puts the focus back on SEO.
  • PPC can deliver visitors, but often it comes at a great cost and is suboptimal for building long-term relationships with customers... you are "renting" traffic. 
  • The three greatest survey questions ever: 1) What is the purpose of your visit to our website today? 2) Were you able to complete your task today? 3) If you were NOT able to complete your task today, why not?

Tips I also loved included:
  • The So-What Test: Ask every metric that your report on the question "So what? three times. If you don't get an answer by the third ask, you have the wrong metric.
  • Check "PPP Campaign Cannibalization Rates" to make sure you aren't paying for traffic you already got organically in the past- test by going dark with PPC.
  • Not every visitor is there to buy, so don't focus on single-goal or website travel funnels. That's not how people make decisions. 

Useful links that really stood out to me:

Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik tab photo

My final thoughts:
Please keep in mind that these are only the lessons and URL's that really stood out to me. This book is full of hundreds of others.

I would highly recommended purchasing this book so you can highlight and add tabs to mark important pages that you want to go back to again later on!

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