Learn more about your website analytics: Google Analytics Academy

GA-Platform-Princ-Cert300Here’s a great free resource that everyone involved in any way with digital content or management should know about: free, online educational courses through Google Analytics Academy.

Yep, that’s right: free.

Here’s a chance for you to learn more about website/digital analytics, traffic measurement and analysis from one of the most respectable sources you’ll find: the experts at Google Analytics. The courses are online, video-based and self-paced. You can go through all of the units or cherry-pick the ones that most interest you. And if you’re interested, Google offers certificates for users who successfully complete full courses during a specified time period.

Right now, there are two courses available: a basic, beginner course in Digital Analytics Fundamentals and a more advanced course called Google Analytics Platform Principles that builds on the first and offers more in-depth information about how Google Analytics works. The basic course is only available for online self-study, but GA Platform Principles is currently available – until March 27 – for you to earn the course certificate and participate in live programs such as a Google+ hangout with Google’s experts.

The time commitment depends on whether you want to go through the full curricula or just certain units; but it’s not huge in either case. I have completed both full courses, and in each case I did it in a single sitting; neither one took even a whole day. The individual units each include a video, running anywhere from 1 1/2 to about 8 minutes – I don’t think any is as long as 10 minutes. This is followed by a short quiz after each unit to see if you’ve taken away the key information. You can repeat the videos or retest yourself if you want.

I really do recommend these. I’ve been using Google Analytics for about 5 years, and I found both of the courses useful. Neither one is a master course; neither has any in-depth coding or programming instruction. But even if you’re pretty adept with Google Analytics, I think you’ll find these to be good refreshers. And they don’t deal only with website analytics; Google Analytics can be applied to mobile apps and other digital applications as well, and some of that information is covered in the second class.

Even if you don’t currently t use Google Analytics, these courses could be a helpful resource for you, for two reasons.

  • They’ll show you just how easy Google Analytics is to install and use on your website. And remember: It’s free. Even if you don’t want to stop using your current analytics software, you should consider installing Google Analytics. You can run it side-by-side with your current package and compare.
  • There’s some good, basic information about how website analytics work that might help you better understand website traffic measurement and analysis in general – regardless what digital analytics software you use.

That graphic at the top? That’s my course completion certificate from the second course. There’s still time for you to earn one, too.

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