With the ever-increasing focus on setting up an online presence or the increasing competitiveness of online businesses, there is a need for web data analysts who can help web-based business succeed or thrive online.
A web data analyst researches the activities of users as they interact with a website, identifies the measures critical to the survival of the web business and recommends actions in the form of web analytics reports for web managers, online marketing teams or business owners.
In this new global, digital, web-based economy, organizations of all types including non-profits, small businesses or Fortune 500 corporations are increasingly turning to the web for new opportunities, leads, prospects, customers, clients, sales, growth, income or profit.
This drive to put businesses on the web, is one of the most significant business trends of the past ten to fifteen years.
Since putting a business successfully on the web is a competitive, knowledge-based, skill intensive, high-visibility effort, a diverse team of web professionals including web designers, web business analysts, web developers, project managers and web data analysts is critical for success.
So, in this post, I will discuss the skills, qualifications, training and job opportunities of web data analysts in the context of an online or internet-based business.
Who Is A Web Data Analyst?
The web data analyst career is a relatively new profession and the job outlook of web data analysts is for all practical purposes tied to that of the web development or web marketing industry.
In other words, whenever organizations spend more advertising or marketing revenue on their websites or invest in more web development projects, you end up needing more web analysts.
There are three (3) primary qualifications for becoming a web data analyst:
Knowledge of Web Data Analysis Principles
You need to have a strong understanding of how web user activity data is generated.
Anytime a user visits a website, detailed information about that user’s interaction with the pages on that website is generated by the web servers hosting the website.
Web user activity data which is also known as weblogs or clickstream data, can be recorded, analyzed or measured using a number of web analytics tools or techniques.
Handson Web Traffic Tool Experience
A large quantity of user activity or clickstream data is generated whenever users browse the pages on a website.
For larger, highly-trafficked websites, the amount of clickstream data generated can quickly become staggering.
There are two (2) primary tools or techniques for analyzing the data generated by a users interactions with websites:
- Web analytics tools may be used to import and analyze the text files generated from users activities on the website.
The tools commonly used for analyzing web traffic data include Google Analytics, Omniture, Web Trends and Relational SQL Databases!
Some organizations prefer to import web traffic data logs into a relational database like SQL Server so that they can write custom Sql Queries against the imported web traffic data.
One of the reasons why some organizations may prefer to import their web user activity data into a database and analyze it using SQL, is that they want total flexibility or control over which reports are generated or how the reports are calculated.
Organizations like this, don’t want to be confined to the set of canned reports typically presented by 3rd. party web analytics vendors.
Basic Statistical Knowledge
If you have basic statistical skills and you are strong at data analysis, you can help marketing managers find out why they are not getting enough sales on their websites based on your own data analysis.
This type of information is worth a lot of money to internet retailers because if they act on your advice or recommendation and increase their conversion rates or reduce their bounce rates, they can increase sales and make their shareholders or upper management team really happy 🙂
In addition, web analytics reports in most tools are calculated using basic arithmetical measures or statistical calculations.
For example, the Daily Visitor Report tells web or marketing managers; how many unique human visitors visited their website.
So, a solid understanding of how each web analytics report is calculated or generated can help your usage of that report in any specific tool (Sql Server, Google Analytics, etc.)
Some of the more frequently used web analytics reports include:
- Unique Visitors Report – shows the number of new visitors or returning visitors. It also measures the amount of web traffic to a website.
- Conversion Rate / Bounce Rate Reports – how successful web pages are at selling products/service or leaking the traffic to a website.
- Bandwidth Utilization Reports – helpful for keeping within web hosting guidelines for bandwidth usage
- Internal Referrers or External Referrers – top internal or external links referring visitors to the website
- TOP Visited Pages – pages generating e.g., 80% of the site visits
- Http Error Codes – for checking the health of your website.
- Most web analytics tools either use the web visitors IP address or a browser-based cookie or both to track the user’s clickstream activity.
- Web user activity is measured in sessions. A session is an arbitrary number that determines the length or duration of a user’s visit in minutes.
- Before you generate any web traffic report, you have to remove or filter out activities from spiders, bots or other non-humans. These activities may be segregated into another set of reports.
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Like I mentioned before, what matters is that you understand the purpose of a report and how or why a report is generated.
Based on this understanding, you can generate the right report for your web development team (who may want to checkup on the health of the website) or the marketing team (who may want to identify the pages that are leaking visitors to the website).
How Do You Become A Web Data Analyst?
Regardless of how you generate web analytics reports, the underlying principles are fairly straightforward.
Once you really understand how web traffic reports are generated, you can generate them either using a custom Sql query or a 3rd. party web analytics tools and still answer fundamental questions about the numbers presented on the report!
Here a few important web data analysis principles::
Which Web Analytics Tool Is The Best?
Questions like which web analytics tool is the best is often asked by tool-minded professionals.
Why knowledge of a tool is good, what is highly desirable, preferred or best is a strong understanding of the concepts or principles behind the usage of the tool … in other words, understanding the science or art of web analytics is much more important.
With a solution-oriented mindset, you can learn any tool presented by an employer or sell yourself confidently at a job interview even when you don’t have a required tool listed on your resume!
A web analysis career offers opportunities to business analysts or data analysts interested in a full-time job or a consulting position within a web development or web marketing group.
A web analyst with strong business analysis skills can also help customers or employers identify the key metrics that will be useful to the management or marketing team, document and validate these reports or improve the quality of their web traffic analysis efforts.
At the Data Analyst Boot Camp, you can also learn more about how to analyze Web Traffic Data or write Web Analytics Reports using custom SQL Server queries.
The Data Analyst Boot Camp as part of our overall career development strategy can help you hit the ground running with practical, relevant, real-world knowledge, skills and experience.
Take advantage of our relevant career-focused training today and take your career to the next level using our unique learning management system.
Click here to learn more about how the online, web-based, hands-on data analyst training assignments or practical skill-based data analysis tests will help you keep the edge on your career.