Learning Google Analytics: Selected readings to get you started

I want to share a list of readings that I compiled for the introduction session of my Web Analytics open course; the list may be of use to instructors teaching web analytics; suggestions for additional readings are always welcomed.

  1. What is web analytics and why we need it: A quick overview of what web analytics is and what it can do for you.
  2. Two approaches of data measurement: there are different ways to track and collect user data; the variation in measurement and the diversity of available tools are usually sources of discussions and debates that you may read about from time to time.
  3. What is Google Analytics? Usually referred to as GA, Google Analytics is a free product from Google, and one that is most widely used in the world.
  4. How Google Analytics works. This (PDF) document explains the steps in which GA collects, processes, analyzes and reports user data; also available as a video version.
  5. Google Analytics terminology. It is essential that you know about these basic terms in GA reports; most, if not all, of these terms are also used generically in other web analytics products.
  6. Dimensions and metrics. Dimensions and metrics are two terms you will see in every Google Analytics report, they are the building blocks of a report; without a good understanding of these two terms, you won’t be able to read and use GA reports.

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About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (www.mulinblog.com/mooc), a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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