I love Google Analytics. I could write about Google Analytics for 19 posts. I went to Google Analytics Academy, and liked it! It is a great tool, currently the best out there IMHO, and it broadens your spectrum of knowledge by learning about user behaviour. It’s one thing to be able to write blocks and blocks of beautiful code via post-its in a sprint, but to really be immersed in the understanding of what and why you are coding is all about the user experience, your customer, your fans, your converts (more on that later), your end user. Utimately, you want your user experience to answer to the behaviour of those users. Google Analytics helps provide the answer.
Why do I consider a familiarity with GA an important part of your stack?
This is a three part answer.
1.) It functions as a building block to a marketing and strategist stack that will prove invaluable as you begin to interview for roles in Web Development. Simply setting up Google Analytics on your own website and playing around is the beginning of something huge and fun.
2.) Analytics as it relates to user behavior and it’s data is the single most important step when you want to monetize a blog, find out how to convert more users and keep users engaged. It’s a way to see the performance of specific parts of your website, blog and app that are underperforming. From there you can develop a strategy to fix this. You can also develop marketing strategies like loyalty programs, for areas on your site/blog/app that are performing well. There is a ton of stuff you can do with Google Analytics and it’s alternatives . Analytics data and interpretation of that data via reports, is also super interesting, even if you don’t like math.
3.) It works in tandem with your SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a discussion for a later blogpost, but suffice it to say, this is a “thing” you want to pay attention to. Beware of getting immersed in theory and simply pay attention to the “why” of SEO. I love Moz, ( and one day hope to work there!), for all things SEO.
Some general scenarios, and ones I have experienced, in which you will use Google Analytics is when a client asks you “how do I generate more traffic to my site?”, A customer says “I really find your purchase form to be hard to use and it’s too long”, or in a job interview you are asked, “what key metrics would you ask for to provide leads in emerging markets.” These examples just scratch the surface about when you will use Google Analytics.
Now that I have thoroughly evangelized Google Analytics as a part of your stack, I can tell you that using it to help a non-profit organization lead to more membership conversions was a great real life experience. Not only was it my first time using Google Analytics on a large scale but the information it provided made a dead web page alive again. The site hadn’t had new membership sign-ups in over a year, (BTW, it should have never gone un-checked for that long!) Someone had “set up” Google Analytics but didn’t do it completely so no data had been collected since the set up. After gathering data for 14 days on the membership page using goals and conversion funnels, we were able to re-configure the membership area and the organization saw an immediate uptick in membership conversions. WIN/WIN.
Google Analytics Academy
SEO Basics-8 Essentials When Optimizing Your Site
Moz- Proving SEO Value In Google Analytics