Analytics, optimisation & advertising: three must-read books

By: Matt Bird

Date: 12 September 2011

The plethora of information available in the online world has created the horrible scenario where there’s too much of a good thing. If you’re looking for helpful advice or guides, you’ll be able to find them in droves, all with contradicting views and opinions on best practices. When you’re looking for start-up business advice, where performance can hinge on the smallest make-or-break decisions, it becomes crucial to find a reliable, trustworthy source that you know is speaking from experience and not opinion.

Following on from my August post, below are three more personal recommendations of authors who actively blog helpful tips and guides online, coupled with a best-selling book that is a must-read. Each of these books covers a different field of business so, if you have a start-up website which you are looking to grow, you need these books.

Avinash Kaushik - Web Analytics 2.0

Field: Website analytics

The ability to track data on the internet is second-to-none, allowing user-centric information for marketers and companies at a level that has never previously been available. Making this data actionable though, now that’s difficult.

Avinash is quite simply a legend in the website analytics field, and you should be worried if you hire a web analyst who is not familiar with his name and work. Responsible for the term “Analytics Ninja”, he is an advocate for better reporting, leading to conclusion-based analysis that is crucial for a successful website.

His best-selling book “Web Analytics 2.0” is tailored to an hour-a-day attitude of improving your understanding, implementation and analysis of data for your website. The depth and breadth of this book make it perfect for those just starting out in website analytics as well as experienced professionals. It is literally impossible to read this book and not become a better analyst (and all proceeds of this book go to charity, such is Avinash’s way), so if you buy any book, this must be it.

Danny Dover - Search Engine Optimisation Secrets

Field: Website optimisation

You are probably familiar with the term Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). An essential requirement for any website hoping to show-up in search engines like Google and Bing, SEO is both necessary and difficult.

The field of SEO is strewn with guides from literally thousands of sources and you can easily get caught up in terrible advice and ‘best practices’. Start off with Danny Dover’s guide and you won’t go wrong.

Similar to Avinash’s Web Analytics guide, Danny’s book is perfect for both SEO newbies and pros, and covers everything from basic on-page optimisation to more advanced SEO tactics, such as site architecture.

The SEO road is a long and frustrating one, but Search Engine Optimisation Secrets will relieve the pain of searching for answers.

Craig Danuloff - Quality Score in High Resolution

Field: Online advertising

At some point in your website’s life, you will want to advertise it. Whether it is on Google’s content network, or search engine bidding in the sponsored ads, online advertising done right can be a revenue-winner, but done wrong can be a company-killer.

Craig Danuloff’s book focuses on a section of online advertising referred to as Pay-per-click (PPC), a self explanatory term highlighting the fact that you provide an advertisement and will be charged each time an individual clicks it.

The world of PPC is incredibly advanced, and so much deeper than an auction model of “he who spends most, wins”. One of the key factors of PPC is a Quality Score algorithm, a mystery figure calculated by the search engines which impacts when your ad is shown and how much you pay.

It would take a lifetime to find and read through the Quality Score essentials that you need to know for a successful campaign. This book brings all of this information together, with the expertise of Mr Danuloff breaking down the intricacies of paid search and Quality Score in a way you simply won’t find online.

I hope these recommendations lead your start-up to greater things. Have you read any books recently that are filled with start-up gold? Share the wealth by adding your own recommendations on our Forum

Matt Bird of printer cartridge supplier, StinkyInk

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.