1. Introduction

This book is going to help you understand the language of internet activity, and how to use different techniques, in order to improve your website’s performance and thus your business. Although web analytics is technical area, we will explore different aspect of this topic in order to establish its importance in the modern business world.

The goals of this book

Well, firstly we will be providing you with a basic understanding of what web analytics are as a language, and what big data is. Take any system as an example. Functions are connected to each other through modalities and mutually dependent arrangements, like the weather you see around you. To the layperson, the signs, signals or ‘language’ of the climate means little or nothing, but to a meteorologist it is gigabytes and gigabytes of data that can be analysed for numerous possibilities.

A similar example is music. If you are not literate in musical notation, watching Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony written down is just odd shapes and scribbling which is ineligible, without meaning, significance, and value or utility. However, put it in front of an orchestra conductor and it is a whole microcosm of mathematics and music in perfect symmetry that he can interpret and analyze endlessly throughout his life. There is a profound point to be made behind these analogies, and that is what brings us back to our book and its purpose: to make you fluent, adept and innovative when it comes to the language of web activity, conducting analysis of such activity (from here on referred to as web analytics) and make use of it in your commercial, organizational, social or personal sphere or context.

Along with this theoretical and practical knowledge, we will be providing you a history of web analytics, how it began to evolve from the first basic and rudimentary counters of visitor quantum, to the wide array of tools that open up the whole demographics of the internet to the web analyst of today. It was Steve Jobs, the late owner and founder of the ingenious Apple Corporation, who once remarked that in the future, only those who can read data will be able to cause change in what that data is measuring.

So like a farmer who looks for information to analyze in the humidity of the clay in his fields, the moisture in the air, the formation of clouds for signs of rain, the resilience of pests or the life cycles of nitrates and other minerals necessary for agricultural flourishing- or even more so like the highly valued financial analysts who analyze market trends and the stock market – the web analyst is in essence an expert in cyber-agriculture. He understands how a website grows, recedes, why it expands and why it shrinks in traffic. He sees that what seems like lines of code or undecipherable data to the layperson, is an elegant and meaningful treasure trove of information that could make or break a website’s popularity, rankings and traffic.

Lastly, we will be looking at the relationship between e-commerce and web analytics and why in today’s business environment it is essential to involve web analytics in understanding one’s business, making the right decisions and measuring the effectiveness of those decisions.