The fact that I work for one of the vendors, means that I don’t often write about analytics anymore. There are a few reasons for this: 1) I don’t want to be perceived as an official representative for the company and 2) my site isn’t supposed to be an advertisement.
So I was delighted when I read this article by June Dershewitz over on the Web Analytics Association’s blog. June created a list of the “Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started In Web Analytics.” She says a few things that I often think about, but resist the urge to write about. Some of my favorites are:
4. Dirty, dirty, dirty. Numbers won’t match, they won’t add up, they won’t make sense, sometimes they won’t even exist. Know how much dirt you’re willing to live with, then accept it and move on.
5. You will learn to love the query string. You will come to see it as a beautiful haiku…
8. Don’t fall into the “report monkey” trap…
I also got a laugh when she said that CSV files don’t have to be comma-separated. That’s wrong. CSV files still have commas in them, even if they don’t show up in Excel. Those mysterious commas that you don’t see are performing a wonderful technology magic to keep your data organized.
What do you wish you had known before you started doing web analytics?