on July 3, 2011
Don Fry once wrote, "Writing Short is a lot harder than long writing. You may remember the famous quip by Mark Twain: 'I apologize for writing you a long letter. I didn't have time to write you a short one.' Writing short effectively takes more thought, knowledge, and design.
How long is short? It has little to do with actual length. A piece can read short or long, regardless of how much space it occupies. By short, we mean it seems short to readers as they read it.
Here's the secret: selection, not compression. You write short by leaving things out, not by mashing things in. So short writing begins with simplifying, adjusting the number of subjects and details for the amount of room."
Don Fry seems to have written this piece after reading "Sams Teach Yourself Google Analytics in 10 Minutes."
Based upon other reviews here in Amazon (without being able to actually page through the books), I ordered this book and three other highly recommended books on Google Analytics.
If one knows little or nothing about the subject, after beginning to read the other books (and getting frustrated), it seems that their authors apparently want to impress you, their colleagues or their clients with their vast technical knowledge and insights, and can eloquently wax on for hundreds of pages with their wisdom. They apparently want you to know that this subject is way too complex for the ordinary Earthling to understand (either that, or they are afflicted with the "curse of knowledge").
This is the ONLY book among the four that I ordered from Amazon that has the DISCIPLINE to tell you just what you need to know about Google Analytics and in a logical sequence, so that you can actually understand it.
This book is a gem! Michael Miller, you are brilliant!
on July 21, 2010
Google Analytics! An amazing, free powerful metrics platform for search engine optimization (SEO) and AdWords (pay-per-click advertising). But can mere mortals effectively use Google Analytics? Can mere mortals even find effective online or offline assistance to help them learn to decipher its riddles, to ponder its mysteries? Michael Miller has taken on the daunting task of explaining Google Analytics to mere mortals, and - in general - he succeeds. I highly recommend his new book, for both mere mortals and more experienced Google Analytics users as well.
As an instructor in SEO and Adwords both online and in San Francisco (just Google Jason McDonald plus SEO and you'll find me), I am always looking for new insights and new books to recommend to the businesspeople and marketers who take my courses, including my free top ten seo tools webinar. Mr. Miller has made my list, even though his approach is very word heavy and could have benefited from some pictures or diagrams. Analytics, after all, can make Microsoft Vista seem well designed!
Mr. Miller takes the traditional book-as-manual approach to Analytics, and he largely succeeds. The book is part of the in 10 Minutes series, but by 10 minutes he means 10 minutes per day. The book begins with how to set up an Analytics account on Google, and proceeds chapter by chapter with some of the most important concepts in Analytics: using the dashboard, tracking visitors, analyzing top content, and even tracking AdWords and ecommerce. Pretty much every important topic in Analytics is covered.
It's a very useful book for someone who already has an Analytics account and is seeking a good lunchtime read to get tips and techniques to then go online and try out on the Google Analytics platform. (By the way, don't miss Google's Conversion University (just Google 'Conversion University' to find that amazing free resource). The only criticism here would be that, unless you are a good reader / slash / book person, it may be confusing to translate Miller's word-heavy approach to what is really a visual user interface. Pictures and diagrams (not to mention videos and online learning) would have been an easier way to explain Analytics step-by-step.
But, all things considered, the book covers every major topic in Analytics at least briefly. Kudos, kudos, kudos, to brave Mr. Miller! I will be recommending this book to my online and real-world students of SEO - those who want a handy overview to the powerful yet mysterious Google Analytics Platform.
on December 6, 2010
This book won't make you a web statistics guru, but it will get you up and running quickly, and help you to understand how to find and manipulate data in Google Analytics. Some especially helpful lessons include discovering complete referrer URLs (not just the main domain name) and tracking file downloads.
Keep in mind that this book shows you how to find and view data in Analytics, but not necessarily what you should be looking for or what the numbers mean.
on July 18, 2011
Recently I joined a corporate IT steering committee and I needed a quick managerial overview of Google Analytics. The basic steps of applying to Google for a free account and using and managing the software were quite clear, even to someone like myself who is not a web administrator and did not have a web site to try it on.
According to my IT guy any or all of this information could also be made available, with minor adjustments, from our Apache web server. The difference is that with Google Analytics we can choose to monitor individual web pages and with Apache we either monitor all web pages on a site or none, but we don't have to modify our pages. The other advantage of GA is that it comes with a complete set of reports which can be customized. Its a build or buy kind of decision. Since we're not yet sure which information is useful having prepackaged reports would speed our learning curve and with GA we'd have something to work with fairly quickly.
Ch 14 describes "funnels" and "goals". Often a web site will drive you to a particular page - be it a confirmation page for purchase, the thank you page of a survey or the end of an online tutorial or a search for product information. GA counts the number of times each of your "goal" pages are reached. A "funnel" is a series of pages has been designed lead you to a "goal". GA not only tracks the use of funnels, tells you how often the funnel failed (the client started the funnel but did not reach the goal). It can also tell you about "reverse funnels" - alternate routes that people took to reach your goals. There's also an adjustable "push" feature that will email you when a certain number of your goals have been met.
An idea that was an immediate hit with our group came from Chapter 21. By defining the "Page Not Found" page as a goal we should be able to trace back to the referring page and start fixing dead links on our sites. This can be done either with GA or just plain Apache.
There's also a subscription version (described in Ch9-12) which tracks the use of Google adWords, which is one of the main methods Google uses to make money through advertising. With the paid version you agree to anonymously provide information on your traffic including "impressions" and "click through rate" - in return you get information back on how adWords are used in by others in your market segment. IMV it's really quite ingenious how Google sells you back your own information (along with that of your competitors) in order to more effectively market the sale of adWords. I found this interesting, but not relevant to our section of the company.
In summary: Miller's book was able to quickly bring me up to speed on terminology and the capability of the product without needing more than a normal user's grasp of web pages. And if you are a web site administrator or if you've created your own web site for your business there is enough here to get you going. Recommended.
on September 27, 2010
I had the analytics account and checked out numerous books from the library to better understand the dashboard and charts. This is the first book that not only held my attention, but I was able to read past some confusing areas, continue to learn more, and later return to those areas to understand them. I didn't get "stuck" or "overwhelmed."
The only suggestion I have for readers is to locate the chapter (toward the end of the book) on eliminating (or filtering) your own IP address out of your stats. Do this first, before learning to analyze your figures. You don't want to be thinking you are doing well and then see the stats drop significantly when you suddenly eliminate your own visits.
The diagrams and images were sufficient enough that I could read this in the car (waiting to pick up kids after school) and later return to the computer to easily find the topic of interest. I also like the size of the book. I don't know why so many publishers think how-to books must be the almost square 8x7 size. This paperback size makes it very easy to carry around -- take a 10min reading break when you have the chance.
The book is clear, succinct, and jumps right in without all the fluff of lengthy how-to books. You will appreciate the straight forward approach. Highly recommend.
on October 29, 2013
This feels like a self-publishing book, but the information was presented in an easily understandable way and the title was accurate. I guess I could have gotten the info online, but it was nice to have a book in hand as I worked on the computer.
on December 3, 2012
Its title suggests a summary of Analytics, but it is quite detailed and thorough. I must for lay people, and a guide in how to communicate with your webmaster.
on June 28, 2011
Book was very helpful in quickly getting Google Analytics up and running for my website. Extended discussion of features will be useful as I analyze results.
on August 18, 2010
You can spend hours and hours looking through every tab and page and forum and everything else in your Google Analytics account, trying to figure it out and what to do and what it means... or you can buy this book and have it explained in plain English.
Google Analytics is a free tool that provides detailed information about one's website visitors. The product is aimed at marketers, not webmasters or technology people. All referring sources, be they search engines, pay-per-click advertising such as Google AdWords, display ads, email marketing, etc. are covered. For visitors coming from a search engine, the system also reports what they were searching for, as well as what pages they visit on your site, how long they view each page, and where they exit your site. Users can track conversions/clicks.
Per Wikipedia, it is estimated that about 57% of the 10,000 top websites use Google Analytics.