Book Review: Mining Your Web Site’s Intelligence

From O’Reilly – Most companies measure their web activity because they want to know how well their marketing and advertising budget is being spent. It just makes sense. You wouldn’t want your doctor to recommend a treatment for you after just glancing at you, or your mechanic to tinker with your car based on his gut feeling. As Eric T. Peterson observes in his new guide for beginning to intermediate analytics users, “Web Site Measurement Hacks” (O’Reilly, US $24.95), “Our entire world is run using data collected from the environment around us. Why would you think your web site is any different?”
Peterson also points out that there are plenty of sources for purely
technical information about web data–how to parse logfiles, optimize
server performance, and write cool JavaScript. “Unfortunately, it is
usually the ‘why,’ not the ‘how,’ that leaves businesses hanging,” he
explains. “Web data collection is a simple practice, as is parsing the
data into relatively meaningful buckets. The hard part is the
analysis–figuring out what data is important and what it means relative
to the business problem at hand.”
“Web Site Measurement Hacks” is designed to help readers learn how to gain
insight into how people use their web sites: it offers bits and bytes of
information that can be used to better explore, understand, and unearth
information about how people interact with sites. “There are scripts and
technical tricks,” says Peterson, “but the essence of hacking in this
context is analysis. This compendium of interesting ideas, built upon a
foundation of relevant and important information about how the Web is
measured, is designed to turn you into a sophisticated web data analyst
(or at least push you in the right direction).”