After being asked by one of our subscribers “What are the best resources for learning web analytics?”, we decided to compile a list of the best web analytics resources we could recommend, and made it into this article.
Web analytics is made up of three major components: tracking, reporting and analyzing. Having worked in all components at various times over my last 12 years as a web analyst, I know a thing or two.
We present to you our list of the best 19 web analytics resources we recommend to learn web analytics.
Let’s Start With The Best Web Analytics Books to Learn From
This book was written in 2007 so you’d be forgiven for discounting this book as outdated. Yes, the examples and screenshots included in it are pretty old, but Avinash has a great way of explaining the main concepts in a way that they stick with you. This book can serve as a great foundation to build upon.
We also highly recommend getting the sequel of the first book.
Avinash is very well known in the web analytics community as being the person who said “web analytics is easy” when everybody else was saying it was hard. His second book is a great step toward making things easy for people entering the field. So if you’re starting your web analytics journey, these books would be your best bet.
Another great web analytics book revolves around the Lean Startup movement
Thecore idea behind Lean Analytics is this: by knowing the kind of business you are, and the stage you're at, you can track and optimize the One Metric That Matters (OMTM) most to your business right now.
Ben and Alistair do a masterful job showing us how to use data and metrics to peer through the haze of uncertainty that surrounds creating new businesses and products.
The Google Analytics YouTube Channel is an amazing place to start! Not only do they give you insights on the latest features of the Google Analytics platform, but they post amazing interviews with case studies and examples, teaching you how to get different reports and how to use each one.
Analytics Academy and Web Analytics TV are two of my favorites YouTube series. They’re forever green content that does a great job of diving deep into concepts and turning them on all sides. They often have answers to some really difficult questions!
The Best Web Analytics Blogs to Read
Blogs tend to be some of the most widespread web analytics resources out there, that’s why we decided to pick only our best recommendations.
Of course, we are a little biased when it comes to this section because we're quite proud of our blog.
We eat, breathe, and sleep data analytics so we know that what we're putting out there is great. We're always running experiments to test hypotheses and sharing the insights that we find, making our content unique. If you want to receive these experimental insights directly to your email inbox, I invite you to sign up for our Newsletter: Data Diary.
We also know for a fact that we are not the only blogs out there with quality web analytics content. So we will lay out for you some of the other blogs that we consider are worth your while:
Do you remember Avinash Kaushik? The guy who wrote the first two books we recommended at the beginning of this article. Well, the cool thing about him is that he doesn't know how to stop.
His web analytics blog Occam’s Razor is regularly updated with some of the most thoroughly researched and documented web analytics articles around. When I first started learning, his blog helped me gain a much better understanding of the power of web analytics.
For learning about tracking implementations I specifically recommend checking out the web analytics blog of Simo Ahava, where he publishes some of the best hacks in the industry.
You’ll notice that he dedicates most of his articles to Google Tag Manager and not Google Analytics but the reality is that you can’t really have one without the other if you are into advanced tracking implementations, so don’t let that stress you out.
If you’re looking to accelerate your learning and become an expert Web Analyst as soon as humanly possible, then you should consider a web analytics course. Different courses will have different prices, some will be expensive and some will be free.
The UBC Sauder School of Business for example offers courses and certificates in different areas including web analytics. While it’s a much higher price point than usual, you get extreme value from formal education courses like this one.
You can also opt for a more generic course website like these two, that sells certificate courses on many different subjects. These courses can be a more affordable option that still has a lot of value for its students.
Finally, our biggest web analytics resource recommendation for courses would have to be Google Analytics Academy, a bundle of 6 online courses on web analytics that will substantially level up your analytics skills for free.
Listening to a Podcast to Learn Web Analytics Anywhere, at Any Time
Over the last few years, we have seen podcasts become a popular form of consuming content.
The fact that you can now listen to content is extremely valuable because it opens doors to learning while doing something else, like driving to work or working out.
That’s why we decided to include one powerful and effective podcast in our list of web analytics resources:
Chances are that if you look up that question on a site like Quora, you will find an answer right away. Even when you aren’t able to find a quick answer, you can always be the one to post your question and get the right answer directly from a professional.
The web analytics topic on Quora is visited by some of the best web analysts in the world and some answers are well detailed and backed with data. These types of sites are also a great place to find benchmark data and links to resources that can help you be better at what you do.
Another Web Analytics Community where you can ask questions is Reddit. Reddit works a little differently than Quora, but at the end of the day is a place where you can ask questions online and get an answer.
Reddit uses subreddits (or groups) that are made up of different communities on different topics, and you can count on the fact that there is a web analytics subreddit.
Free Web Analytics Tools to Experiment With
One of the best ways to learn web analytics is by practicing. Most of the time this is impossible for people because they don’t have enough data to do anything. But fear not, because we got 2 tools for you that will help you get some web analytics experience under your belt even if you have 0 data points to track.
The first tool we recommend using is a Google Analytics Demo Account, using data from the Google Merchandise Store you can put in practice what you’ve learned so far.
The Google Analytics demo account is a fully functional Google Analytics account that any Google user can access. It's a great way to look at real business data and experiment with Google Analytics features.