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Complete Web Monitoring: Watching your visitors, performance, communities, and competitors: Essential Knowledge for Web Analysts and Operators Paperback – 29 Jun 2009
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Complete Web Monitoring
About the Author
Alistair Croll has been an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker for nearly 20 years. He’s worked on a variety of topics, from web performance, to big data, to cloud computing, to startups, in that time.
In 2001, he co-founded web performance startup Coradiant, and since that time has also launched Rednod, CloudOps, Bitcurrent, Year One Labs, the Bitnorth conference, the International Startup Festival and several other early-stage companies.
Alistair is the chair of O'Reilly's Strata Conference, Techweb's Cloud Connect, and the International Startup Festival. Lean Analytics is his fourth book on analytics, technology, and entrepreneurship. He lives in Montreal, Canada and tries to mitigate chronic ADD by writing about far too many things at Solve For Interesting.
Sean Power spends way too much time on the computer and needs to get out more. He has worked as a web systems administrator since the mid 90s, has worked with online communities for companies such as MTV Northern Europe, and helped users reduce the headaches of managing and monitoring web infrastructures through Coradiant, a web performance monitoring vendor. Prior to working at Coradiant, he was technical reviewer for the Addison-Wesley book Troubleshooting Linux Firewalls.
Sean is currently working as community gardener for Akoha, a company pioneering the industry of "social games", where he handles all things community and analytics. This puts a mile on his face, and lets him sleep well at night.
He completes his full plate by supporting the companion website to the book he wrote with Alistair Croll, Total Web Monitoring, published by O'Reilly.
In his spare time, Sean makes sure that servers stay up and curses spammers in the EFnet IRC community and occasionally updates his personal music related blog, when he's not writing web optimization articles.
You can find out more about him on LinkedIn (http://linkedin.com/in/slpower), hear him ramble away on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/seanpower), or read about other stuff he's thinking of at the website he shares with Alistair, http://www.totalwebmonitoring.com.
Top customer reviews
Complete Web Monitoring looks at how site analytics can help business owners understand their customers better. By asking a variety of different questions, not only will business owners and planners know when their website doesn't properly serve the needs of potential customers but also what changes need to be addressed and where. Then, by comparing this data with that of their competitors, they'll know where they stand in their particular industry.
Complete Web Monitoring is the best web monitoring book that I've read. This book provides a wide variety of options ranging from things that the average person can do to finding a professional to do the work for you. Most importantly though, it reminds the reader that site statistics mean nothing unless they are compared to something else.
It seems awfull that we need to look at the website from the end user point of view, but how many are really doing that? This book is a good approach of what has to be / can be done!
Ou company (key-performance.eu) specialises more in Performance improvement (download time of the pages) of websites from the end user point of view. So I would also recommand the books of Steve Souders ("high performance website" and "even faster websites") and to have a look at what Keynote Systems monitoring tools can do (keynote.com) to help you to have your website faster! You can't manage what you don't measure!
Belgium/Netherlands/Luxemburg (in Europe ;-))
See also: Even Faster Web Sites: Performance Best Practices for Web Developers: Essential Knowledge for Frontend Engineers
High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book breaks down all online business into four categories: Media, Transaction, Collaboration, and SaaS. Throughout the book, as you learn about the various flavors of analytics, usability, surveys, page performance, monitoring, online community management, collaboration...and how all of this fits together...you are given specific, direct, and actionable steps to take that apply to your specific business model. For example, "Transaction" businesses must focus on conversions, uptime of the checkout process, and what customers are saying about their products. "SaaS" companies should focus on the performance of their most common paths through the application, popularity of specific features, and the user experience of the holistic product.
The amount of data and the number of tools at your disposal are overwhelming. At times this book is rather overwhelming. Choosing between an analytics provider, a monitoring service, or a social media tracking service could keep you from actually accomplishing real work. Sometimes too much choice and too much data is a very dangerous thing. It's important to remember to step back, remember the goals behind your measurements, and focus on solving the problems of your customers. With that in mind, the lessons learned in this book will help you zero in on optimizing those end goals.
"Complete Web Monitoring" is valuable for the same reason it is difficult to categorize. The various tools and services that you learn about are generally used by many different departments across an organization, all for very different reasons, generally without any sort of collaboration. What you realize reading this book is that there is a lot more to the success of your business than the limited visibility you get from using these tools independently. To truly understand how your business is doing, and how you can improve not only revenue but also how you build your business, you need a holistic picture that includes data from numerous sources. "Complete Web Monitoring" gives you more then anything I've come across previously in giving you the tools, pointing you to the techniques, and teaching you to focus on what is most important.
The tone of the book is friendly and easy to follow (typical of O'Reilly books) and its easy to crack open a section and skim through that to get useful information quickly.
The book is a little on the long side, though I don't think I'd want it to be shorter. This can make it appear at first glance to be intimidating, but tone removes that barrier quickly.
Five stars for depth of coverage. I recommend it to anyone that is responsible in any way for a web site. You don't know what you can be told about your site's users until you've taken the time to go through this book.
- What did they do?
- How did they do it?
- Why did they do it?
- Could they do it?
To answer the first question, a closer look at data warehouse and web analytics is in order. The authors talk about that in detail, listing tools and services that address various issues often faced in collecting user data. The second question, "how did they do it?" is answered through constant monitoring of your site's usability and engagement, both of which are explained well in this book. The third question is about user interaction and feedback. The authors attempt to answer this question by explaining the process of VOC, or Voice of Customer, and all the details it entails.
The most important content in this book, I believe, is laid out in the three chapters dedicated to answering the fourth question, "could they do it?"
The first chapter talks about Frontend Performance and End-User Experience. The topic of Frontend Performance is relatively new and the list of books dedicated to it is growing rapidly with Steve Souders' books on top of the list.
The second chapter tackles Synthetic Monitoring and its advantages and drawbacks. Following that, the authors move into Real User Monitoring in the third and last chapter attempting to answer this question.
The authors then dedicate what I think is too much content to communities and competitors and how monitoring them can help you better your site. Although the information is useful, I feel it took away from the focus of the book but not too much to be a distraction.
The authors then close the book with a recap and a look at the future of web monitoring. Both chapters are very useful and give a much needed perspective.
All in all, this is an excellent book for any serious web entrepreneur and for all online businesses that hold "User Experience" paramount in their business objectives.
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