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Learn Google Analytics

Join Boston PHP and
Jay Murphy as we will teach you how to add and use Google Analytics with your site. We will cover all the basics as well as how to interpret the results and make solid business decisions from the data. We will explore advanced topics like how to setup features like AdWords, Goals, and Segments. Google Analytics is free, and it gives you great insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you're more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.
Here is what we will cover:


  • Overview of Google Analytics

  • How to install

  • Review of reporting capabilities

  • Custom reporting capabilities

  • Making business decision from the reporting results

  • Using Adwords, Goals, and Segments

If you've been wanting to better understand who is using your site, and how to make sound business decisions from analytic data - then this is for you.
*Note: We will be doing a live broadcast of this event at live.bostonphp.org
BoothCamp (6-7pm): In addition to the main topic, you can join us during the Social Hour from 6-7 for BoothCamp and a quick 30 minute intro presentation on:
Apache mod_rewrite - quick intro for the non sysadmin... Join
Matt Murphy as he will provide a quick intro to using Apache mod_rewrite in your web applications. This was suggested on our
ideas section! mod_rewrite is a great Apache module that is used for rewriting URLs at the server level. For example, a user may ask for http://www.somesite.com/widgets/blue/, but will really be given http://www.somesite.com/widgets.php?colour=blue by the server. This technique give you many benefits:

  • Hide the inner workings of your application so people can't hack your URLs

  • Makes your site search-engine friendly, because many search engines don't parse URLs with named parameters

  • Shorter, more human readable, and memorable URLs

  • Fix changes to your site structure while preserving users bookmarks

mod_rewrite can seem complicated to setup, but it's actually quite easy once you know what you're doing. In this intro presentation, we'll provide an overview of some of the key concepts. This intro presentation is intended as an overview of the module and will be presented by a non-sysadmin who has learned by trial and error (actually, lots of error). Matt will be editing Apache's httpd.conf configuration file via the unix shell on Mac but the overall concepts should apply in other environments.
Agenda: 6:00 - 7:00 : Doors open, socializing, BoothCamp 7:00 - 7:15 : Announcements 7:15 - 8:45 : Presentation 8:45 - 9:00 : Questions, Free O'Reilly Books 9:00 - ???? : Beers somewhere?

Join or login to comment.

  • Dennis Daubney J.

    This was my first Boston PHP event. It was well enjoyed! I felt the uses and benefits of Google Analytics were well covered. Looking forward to future meet ups.

    January 19, 2011

  • Gary M.

    It was my first Boston PHP event and it was great! The questions were not of an issue to me but if there is ground rule to leave Q&A at the end that works too. Thanks for great work presenters and organizers!

    January 4, 2011

  • Michael B.

    Here are the slides from Matt Murphy's great presentation on an introduction to Apache mod_rewrite that was presented prior to the Analytics talk.

    http://goo.gl/VBRhl

    December 23, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    The evening started with a presentation from Matt on the variations and uses of Mod_Rewrite, a multi-use skill that is as useful as a UX utility as it is for SEO. Then Jay Murphy opened up a Pandora's Box of interesting uses for Google Analytics. For many who had used the basics "out of the box" it was the audience participation that began to expand the possible uses of the many other tools available. This was a discussion that could have gone on for hours! Many thanks to Jay for persevering and getting the majority of his material into his presentation for us.

    December 19, 2010

  • Michael B.

    I think this was a great event, and we had our largest turnout ever. Matt Murphy's presentation was great, and did a great job explaining the hard to grasp concept of mod_rewrite and regular expressions. Jay Murphy's presentation on Google Analytics was awesome, as he showed us how to add analytics to our site and how to get valuable visitor data and reports.

    We did run out of time at the end as too many questions were taken. We are going to change the question format in the future so this won't happen again. We are also planning to have Jay come back for an advanced talk.

    I saw many folks using the PHP advice at the BoothCamp. We all had good fun at the book raffle using our homegrown PHP raffle system. We even found a bug and got it fixed right then and there. We gave away 14 O'Reilly books and a $50 gift card!

    We had roughly 30 people join us at the bar afterwards, and I even saw a few members dancing together.

    Thank you all for a great event - Happy Holidays!

    December 18, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Content was excellent. Questions would probably be best left to a Q&A at the end. I could not hear the questions most of the time, so it would be useful for presenters to repeat/reprise the question before answering. Perennial problem is that screen shots are not really readable except for the first few rows of viewers. Would have really liked to get some more detail on how segmenting works. But, all in all, it was really useful information.

    December 17, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Too much time was spent on info that anyone could learn after 30 minutes playing with Google Analytics. Also way too many questions were asked (or taken). By the time we got to the advanced topics there was no time left.

    December 17, 2010

  • Michael B.

    You can access the video at live.bostonphp.org. At the bottom of the screen will be the recorded version of the event. Just click and watch.

    Soon I will be sending out Jay and Matt's slides, tons of resources to help you, and much higher quality videos on both topics.

    December 17, 2010

  • Claire

    Where are the slides from the Analytics talk posted? thanks for a good overview looking forward to the advanced talk.

    December 16, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great stuff. I have been using GA for a while and knew I hadn't tapped its full-potential yet, but I had now idea how much I had missed! Thanks Jay for the eye opener.

    December 16, 2010

  • Andrew

    It was my first meetup and i loved it, hope to see everyone again!

    December 16, 2010

  • Jay M.

    Thanks for the feedback - I would be happy to follow-up with an Advanced Google Analytics presentation, with questions at the end. The handouts have a section on analyzing BostonPHP and more resources.
    Two Google Analytics courses - Introductory and Advanced - http://www.trionia.com/class-signup/seminarschedule.php Trionia courses hosted by CDIA BU.
    The best blog on analytics: http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/
    Great and now free ebook: http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com/content/books.asp

    1 · December 16, 2010

  • Nan H.

    EXCELLENT presentation, thoughtful and clearly laid out information for us.

    December 16, 2010

  • Peggy M.

    The talk was very useful and my client was impressed with all the capabilities. The most important part for me would have been the business applications which we didn't have time for. Perhaps if all questions were held to the end we would have had more time.

    December 16, 2010

  • Kiril Stefan A.

    very good very interesting

    December 16, 2010

  • Bobby C.

    I got some great questions at the booth, heard rave reviews about Matt's mod_rewrite presentation and learned a lot about easy and powerful Google Analytics can be. There were also some great discussions at the bar afterward. Jay's presentation was thorough and he did a great job recognizing when the questions started getting us off track (otherwise we would have likely been there until 10). The organizers will be discussing the sound issues and how to better handle questions. Thank you everyone for the feedback!

    December 16, 2010

  • Tom D.

    Jay - Excellent intro to GA. Perhaps come and present part II? Would enjoy seeing you pick up near the end of this intro presentation (that was rushed/cut short).

    Matt - Thanks for breaking down some "Swiss army knife of URL manipulation" fundamentals. I've wrestled with mod_rewrite to create pretty URLs (Joomla) with only partial success. I'll check out that regex cheat sheet and go at it again. GREAT job, THANKS!

    December 16, 2010

  • Chris

    Another informative & fun PHP meetup. Thank you, organizers!

    December 16, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Well done - would have liked a little more insight into what the actual numbers may mean as they relate to usage/usability and how to analyze various categories in concert to come up with reportable results.

    December 16, 2010

  • Darcy P.

    It's unfortunate there wasn't more time to go through everything and answer all of the questions. But I was inspired by many pieces of the talk to go and learn more. I am hopeful there will be a good list of resources that we can explore.

    December 16, 2010

  • Suzanne M.

    The speaker clearly had tons of insights; it's unfortunate he was constantly interrupted with questions, and therefore couldn't complete his presentation. It's a lost opportunity: To understand how to leverage Google Analytics, which is advanced, is also harder to come by. But better to understand *why* Analytics is so powerful and why you should be using this tool than an overview, which if you just poke around a bit is pretty self-explanatory, even for a non-techie like me. I truly dislike being negative, but when you're in a room with 300 people, you're not the only person in the room. Basic questions like bounce rate, if you didn't catch it the first time it was explained, can often be answered by your neighbor. Most Meetups draw a wealth of experts, not simply an expert speaker.

    I'd love to see Jay present again with a more advanced agenda and perhaps some case studies. Then again, of the 300 in the room, maybe this is just me ....

    December 16, 2010

  • Marsh S.

    Boston PHP has to be the best run Meetup in the country hands-down.

    Michael should write the book Meetups for Dummies. Honestly. He puts on an amazing event!

    December 16, 2010

  • Alex

    The presenter was constantly distracted by obscure questions that derailed the presentation and the presentation severely suffered; he did not finish it. Whenever the presenter turned his head the sound level dropped and the back of the room couldn't hear as well.

    December 16, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    The presentation was excellent. I would like to have seen the practical application using the Boston PHP site. I think the presentation got derailed by peripheral questions that could have been put until the end.

    December 16, 2010

  • Alice Proctor S.

    Great job on Google Analytics as well as mod_rewrite discussion! My first meeting and I will definitely be back. Thanks so much for the hard work, Alice

    December 16, 2010

  • Lisa L.

    Was good, would strongly suggest that speakers to save audience questions for the end - the questions detracted from the quality and I could see people around me losing interest during those moments. It is pretty standard in a large group to do that. The free flow approach works best in small group settings.

    December 16, 2010

  • Mick T.

    I thought it took a little long to get to the "meat", and some of the questions were very basic and long winded and dragged the session out. It could be an idea to split talks like these into 2; The first part covers the basics and questions for the inexperienced. Then a 2nd part that is more advanced and assumes everyone's has some experience.

    As always, thanks for setting up these great talks.

    December 16, 2010

  • Iris

    Excellent introduction. I'm looking forward to the handout.

    December 16, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Was disappointed by how rudimentary it was; was hoping we'd go deeper than a basic overview. There are google videos that could have shown everything we saw. Hopefully in the future there can be a more advanced discussion.

    December 16, 2010

  • Matt S.

    Both the Google Analytics talk and the mod_rewrite talk were both excellent

    December 16, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Jay Murphy is a master of his trade and an excellent, easy to listen-to, speaker

    December 15, 2010

  • Jim V.

    Great session! Jay had so much to share that it would have been great to have had the whole time on the main topic.

    December 15, 2010

  • Tyler K.

    Hoping there will be sound with the live stream soon.

    December 15, 2010

  • Andrew

    I'm looking forward to coming tonight, it will be my first meetup! Take it easy on me, hahaha

    December 15, 2010

  • Chris W.

    I should be able to do this. We can use Ustream with any web cam for a better broadcast then a cellphone. I also have a Pinnacle tuner that might allow us to broadcast from the camera that is taping the event for later. i will bring it with me so we can try that before the webcam.

    December 12, 2010

  • Michael B.

    If anyone is interested in running the UStream for us during this event, I will give you a free O'Reilly book on Google Analytics - a $30 value! Contact us if interested.

    December 12, 2010

  • Michael B.

    Re: Livestreaming...
    We are considering it. We need someone with experience in this area to help us out and possible run it for us. Any takers?

    December 12, 2010

  • Michael B.

    I had to close the RSVP's to this event as we are already at capacity. If you want to attend, then please contact me.

    December 12, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking forward to attending! We are also hiring - looking for a Developer with UI experience and knowledge of analytics. For details, visit www.edvisors.com/jobs/

    December 5, 2010

  • Chris R.

    I found a great webinar by @CSPenn of @BlueSkyFactory that explains how to calculate website & social media return on investment (ROI) & earnings per lead (EPL), and how to use that info with Google Analytics to determine where to focus your efforts to maximize earnings. I think it's a great pre-cursor to this meetup: http://ow.ly/3iPV0

    December 2, 2010

  • Jay M.

    Raakish:
    Yes - we'll touch on custom reporting and the data API - so we'll look at metrics and dimensions both ways. Of course we can only 'touch' on these, but other information will be provided for further exploration.
    Thanks!

    November 30, 2010

  • Raakish A.

    How in-depth will you work with report creating and metrics and dimensions?

    November 18, 2010

  • Jay M.

    Hi Patrick:
    That will definitely be a topic we cover. Just a heads up Google Analytics can track returning visitors as a group - but not individually. Let me know what you would like to track and we can explore during the presentation what you can get with GA.
    Thanks!

    November 15, 2010

  • Patrick P.

    Would love to hear best practices about tracking return visitors.

    November 11, 2010

  • Jay M.

    @Stevie: Yes - we will review setting up goals during the talk. In fact, you can checkout my blog post: http://www.trionia.com/blog/2010/09/10/google-analytics-setting-goals/ to get a quick introduction.

    @Bryon: While we will not focus on SEO, that could easily take two hours+; we will review how to measure keywords driving traffic to your sites and the keywords driving traffic to specific pages. These measures help you to perform more focused SEO activities.

    Thanks for the questions!

    November 11, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    can we make sure there is a walk-through on goal-conversion set-ups?

    November 10, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Will there be any talk about SEO at the same time?

    October 6, 2010

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