Leave it to O’Reilly to publish over 600 pages of material on a web design topic as small as statistics and monitoring! I’m not saying Complete Web Monitoring is full of fluff in order to increase the page count, only that monitoring is a very small piece of the topic of web design and I am always impressed that O’Reilly’s authors have the depth needed to write such large books on such small topics.
Alistair Croll and Sean Power have written an interesting book that I think speaks more to marketing directors and businesspeople than to web designers and developers. There’s a lot of pages dedicated to business and analytics models, interpreting data, devising methodologies of metrics, and other business-related aspects of web analytics. There’s also a lot of material on deploying measuring tools and software to actually gather the data, which of course will be what designers and developers will focus on, as well as project managers and such.
Like other O’Reilly books, the sheer depth of Complete Web Monitoring can make it difficult to grasp. There’s a huge amount of information here that speaks to varying audiences, and while it makes the book comprehensive it also makes it tough to digest. There’s a lot of content I’m not sure I will ever be able to or want to implement, and ironically my clients often are happy just to see visitor trends and such given all the other things they have to worry about in this economy.
Measuring web traffic and statistics is one of the most-overlooked aspects of managing websites, and I think Complete Web Monitoring should be required reading for anyone in charge of a website or web presence of some kind. The material is excellent and comprehensive almost to a fault—but no one’s required to read it cover to cover.