Archive for 2008

Any publicity is good publicity, right?

Almost.

Some ‘publicity’ can be bad. Now, compliments of blogs and social networking sites, it is easier than ever for employees to get a jab at employers and clients even if they don’t mean to. Some companies have used this as excuse to ban employee email usage and worse; but others, such as IBM, have chosen to develop a set of employee guidelines to set tone for employees and to embrace rather than negate these new venues.

Nice. Now the rest of us have a model to follow. Leave it to ‘stodgy’, ‘old’ IBM to address this emerging issue with style.

Who, what, when, where and why

Yes, the old 5 “w”s apply to web analytics too!

Turns out that in web analytics, we need to know who will receive the reports, data and insights gained from our analytical efforts; we need to know what information we should share (dependent on ‘who’ and ‘when’); we need to know where, as in where do we make this data known to our ‘whos’ so that we can ensure it is used and valued; we need to know when to share our findings; and we need to know why we’re expending all the analytical effort (as in what do we hope to learn?) and why site visitors behave the way they do when on site.

As you can see, the web analyst’s assignments aren’t much different than a news reporter’s or a detective’s. Read well-known analytics expert Jason Burby’s complete blog post. Enjoy!

Google Analytics vs. Everybody Else

I just found this interesting blog post at WebAnalyticsWorld which has links to compare Google Analytics to many other web analytics and stats packages. Some of these comparisons are better than others, but they all make for good reading and go a long ways into understanding the long tail of web analytics (check out the vendor list at WebAnalyticsBook – more than 100 vendors and growing!). Cheers!

Almost magic (but not PFM…)

It seems that WebTrends has made a neat tool publicly available recently, the WebTrends SDC Tagbuilder! I think this tool will make SDC a lot simpler for WebTrends users. This little app will help analysts build custom Source Data Collection (SDC) tags with rapid precision.

Size Matters. Or, Rightsizing Your Web Analytics

Many people I speak with regarding web analytics wonder if they have the right solution. Free solutions such as Google Analytics can get you a lot of insight, but how do you know when it is time to upgrade to a full sized solution such as [fill in the blank here: WebTrends, Omniture, ClickTracks, etc.]? Judah Philips over at Web Analytics Demystified blogs about the topic in two parts.

Judah highlights Custom Reports as one feature which sets apart the free or economy solutions from the full-featured products. I’ve had the good fortune of working with the WebTrends custom reporting feature and I used it to gain customer behavior insight many times. I’ll write about those experiences soon.

But is it a hack?

I think of it as enhancing, instead! Search engine marketer (and web analytics practitioner) Peter van der Graaf discusses enhancing Google Analytics without JavaScript and Tweaking and filtering GA. These blog posts aren’t so recent, but they are new to me and relevant to anyone still using Google Analytics ‘out of the box’.

A Crawler’s eye view…

Think of it that way – it’s a view of your site as a crawler sees it. I’m talking about a service called crawlscore which promises to give you a report of what your web site looks like from a search engine crawler’s point of view. The idea is that you’ll use this as one of the tools in your bag to help you optimize your site for search. It seems the pricing is reasonable. I’ll write more about this product after I try it out on site(s) I support.

I wouldn’t recommend total reliance on a product like this because no one will ever truly know the algorithms behind a search engine’s processes for crawling and post-crawl processing, but this tool combined with other common-sense SEO best practices may help you promote your site by achieving better positioning in search results. Once of these best practices is to get your site’s html coding syntactically correct once you determine the best html document header to use. And that’s at least a couple blog topics!

On-site search: for better or for worse

I just came across another discussion about on site search. This one is rather thought provoking as it asks the question: would there be times when you wouldn’t want site visitors to use your on site search facility. Of course we all want to think site designs and site navigation are so wonderful that no one would need to search, but unless a site’s internal search engine was so poor I can’t think of another reason not to want visitors to search.

What do you think?

Be sure to read the linked item on Avinash’s blog about internal site analytics for another perspective!

The WebTrends Outsider

Wow – what good fortune I had today surfing around looking to learn more about WebTrends! I came across a very new blog called WebTrends Outsider and it seems to contain many interesting posts explaining some of the product’s best and/or little-known features. I look forward to linking to items there and commenting on them as well.

One of the first things I suggest to people I talk to who have questions about their web site metrics is to use some of the great free tools such as Quantcast to get a baseline read on site audience. Another similar tool is Alexa, but I trust Quantcast a lot more because it allows more control and will display real life data when you install their free tag on your site and become ‘Quantified’. Within a few days of installing the tag, data will start to appear on the Quantcast site for your domain.

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