The Web Analytics Canon: Essential Reading for the Digital Intelligence Practitioner

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes. —Erasmus

In our field, things change so fast, the most up to date resources are usually online, but there are also some must-read books out there that are really worth checking out.

Over the years, I’ve put together a decent collection of books on web analytics, digital marketing, and related topics. There are a number of blog posts out there with different reading lists and favorites. This is not “the” list, it’s my canon - the books in my permanent collection that have been very useful in various related areas. YMMV.

I have not read every word in all of them. Some I have read cover to cover, and more than once. Some I just use for reference and quick lookups. You might think some of these aren’t essential for a career in digital analytics or digital marketing and you’re probably right. But these are some of my favorites, and anyone starting out in this field would defintely benefit from reading any of them.

If one of your favorites is missing, either I don’t own it, or I haven’t read it, or I forgot to include it. Please let me know if there’s something you think is a “must read”, I’d love an excuse to place more orders at Amazon.

Table of Contents / Topics:

Web Analytics

  • Measuring the Success of Your Website: A Customer-Centric Approach to Website Management by Hurol Inan, 1st edition - January 18, 2002
  • Web Metrics: Proven Methods for Measuring Web Site Success by Jim Sterne, 1st edition - June 15, 2002 amazon
  • Web Analytics Demystified: A Marketer’s Guide to Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Business by Eric Peterson, 1st edition - March 2004 amazon
  • The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators by Eric Peterson, 1st edition - slideshare
  • Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions by Jason Burby and Shane Atchison, 1st edition - May 29, 2007 amazon
  • Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik, 1st edition - June 5, 2007 amazon
  • Complete Web Monitoring: Watching your visitors, performance, communities, and competitors by Alistair Croll and Sean Power, 1st edition - June 29, 2009 amazon
  • Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik, 1st edition - October 26, 2009 amazon
  • Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment by Jim Sterne, 1st edition - April, 5, 2010 amazon
  • Search Analytics for Your Site: Conversations with Your Customers by Louis Rosenfeld, 1st edition - July 6, 2011 amazon
  • Social Media Metrics Secrets by John Lovett, 1st edition - August 9, 2011 amazon
  • Web Analytics Action Hero: Using Analysis to Gain Insight and Optimize Your Business by Brent Dykes, 1st edition - December 16, 2011 amazon

Analytics & Critical Thinking

  • Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving by Jonathan G. Koomey PhD, John P. Holdren, 2nd edition - April 28, 2008 amazon
  • Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics by Thomas H. Davenport, 1st edition - June 11, 2013 amazon
  • Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking by M. Neil Browne, Stuart M. Keeley, 11th edition - January 6, 2014 amazon
  • Thinking with Data: How to Turn Information into Insights by Max Shron, 1st edition - February 3, 2014 amazon
  • How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business by Douglas W. Hubbard, 3rd edition - March 17, 2014 amazon


  • Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results by Bryan Eisenberg, 1st edition - October 3, 2006 amazon
  • Web Design for ROI: Turning Browsers into Buyers & Prospects into Leads by Lance Loveday, Sandra Niehaus, 1st edition - October 27, 2007 amazon
  • Multichannel Marketing: Metrics and Methods for On and Offline Success by Akin Arikan, 1st edition - April 11, 2008 amazon
  • Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance by Paul Farris, Neil Bendle, 2nd edition - February 13, 2010 amazon
  • The Art of SEO (Theory in Practice) by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Jessie Stricchiola, Rand Fishkin, 2nd edition - March 24, 2012 amazon
  • Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions by Tim Ash, Maura Ginty, Rich Page, 2nd edition - April 24, 2012 amazon

Usability, Design, Information Architecture

  • Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites by Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld, 3rd edition - December 7, 2006 amazon
  • Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior by Indi Young, 1st edition - February 15, 2008 amazon
  • Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web by Christina Wodtke, Austin Govella, 2nd edition - February 1, 2009 amazon
  • Designing with Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman, 3rd edition - October 25, 2009 amazon
  • Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems by Steve Krug, 1st edition - December 18, 2009 amazon
  • InterACT with Web Standards: A holistic approach to web design by Erin Anderson, Virginia DeBolt, et al., 1st edition - May 26, 2010 amazon
  • Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski, 1st edition - January 1, 2011 amazon
  • Designing for Emotion by Aaron Walter, 1st edition - January 1, 2011 amazon
  • Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug, 3rd edition - January 3, 2014 amazon

Presentations & Visualization

  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte, 2nd edition - May 2001 amazon
  • Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath, Dan Heath, 1st edition - January 2, 2007 amazon
  • slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy Duarte, 1st edition - August 12, 2008 amazon
  • Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte, 1st edition - September 28, 2010 amazon
  • Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds, 2nd edition - December 15, 2011 amazon
  • Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten by Stephen Few, 2nd edition - June 1, 2012 amazon


  • Google Analytics by Justin Cutroni, 1st edition - September 3, 2010 amazon
  • Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics by Brian Clifton, 3rd edition - April 3, 2012 amazon
  • Google Analytics Integrations: Centralizing Digital Marketing by Daniel Waisberg, Kindle edition - October 14, 2012 amazon
  • The Adobe SiteCatalyst Handbook: An Insider’s Guide by Adam Greco, 1st edition - October 24, 2012 amazon
  • Adobe Analytics with SiteCatalyst Classroom in a Book by Vidya Subramanian, 1st edition - June 2, 2013 amazon

Statistics and Data

  • How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff, Irving Geis, Reissue edition - October 17, 1993 amazon
  • Head First Statistics by Dawn Griffiths, 1st edition - September 5, 2008 amazon
  • Head First Data Analysis: A learner’s guide to big numbers, statistics, and good decisions by Michael Milton, 1st edition - August 7, 2009 amazon
  • Statistics in Plain English by Timothy C. Urdan, 3rd edition - May 25, 2010 amazon
  • Data Smart: Using Data Science to Transform Information into Insight by John W. Foreman, 1st edition - November 4, 2013 amazon


  • Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web by Hakon Wium Lie, Bert Bos, 3rd edition - May 5, 2005 amazon
  • High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers by Steve Souders, 1st edition - September 18, 2007 amazon
  • Learning SQL by Alan Beaulieu, 2nd edition - April 30, 2009 amazon
  • Even Faster Web Sites: Performance Best Practices for Web Developers by Steve Souders, 1st edition - June 20, 2009 amazon
  • Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte, 1st edition - January 1, 2011 amazon
  • JavaScript: The Definitive Guide: Activate Your Web Pages by David Flanagan, 6th edition - May 13, 2011 amazon
  • Professional JavaScript for Web Developers by Nicholas C. Zakas, 3rd edition - January 18, 2012 amazon
  • Introducing Regular Expressions by Michael Fitzgerald, 1st edition - August 3, 2012 amazon