A Blog About Web Analytics I'm Going to Read [en]

[fr] Enfin un blog sur les "web analytics" qui semble avoir les pieds sur terre!

I’ve just stumbled upon Actionable Analytics, a web analytics blog that seems to approach measuring stuff on the web in a really sensible and serious way. I’ve started reading it, and after finding the following on the author’s About page, I’m officially a fan:

I think too often people forget to stop and ask why they are doing analysis and what they are going to do with the information. This blog is therefore about the practical, the actionable, and the business-critical. It covers every aspect of the industry, but always with a focus on doing, and not just reporting and implementation.

Jonny Longden

If you know me or have been reading Climb to the Stars for a while, you probably know that I am far from being a fan of SEO. For me, 95% of getting good search engine placement comes down to:

  • make sure your markup is nice and accessible and search-engine friendly
  • write interesting stuff
  • choose relevant titles
  • be active online.

People who obsess about keywords and “juice” tire me.

Often, I wonder. What do people have blogs for? Traffic, clicks, or pageviews? As far as I’m concerned, I write here because I want to be useful and inspire people. How on earth will my bounce rate or my page views tell me if I’m achieving that goal?

I get really pissed off at people who throw numbers together and then assume they automatically mean something. I also get annoyed at those who give their readers a worse experience accessing their content because “it makes it better for search engines” (I’m yet to be convinced that “partial posts” are really helpful, for example.) I also get really frustrated when people don’t realise that measuring something changes behaviours (comments as measure of a blog’s “success” for example — it’s so easy to game and make the numbers meaningless).

I personally think that analysis can come in really handy when you expect your visitors to go through some kind of process: buy something, download something, fill in a form, etc. Analysis can help you figure out where they get stuck or lost, and why they don’t follow through. But when your site is about “reading stuff that’s interesting and meaningful” to the reader, I’m not think it makes that much sense.

Well, I look forward to reading more of Jonny’s analytics blog to understand what the practical applications really are.