What does a Web Analyst do?
A web analyst has four primary areas of responsibility: creating data entry procedures, managing data integrity, system security, and data analysis. A web analyst is skilled at both the user interface and the database structure behind a website. Web analytics is a newly developing field that has emerged to meet a growing need. As more companies invest significant financial and staff resources into the development of websites and related tools, analysis is required to determine the cost/benefits, ideal usage, and effectiveness of these tools.
The information maintained by a web analyst is used to analyze costs and make decisions on technology trends, staffing, and equipment purchasing. The information must be accurate and reliable. There is a wide range of analysis tools available in the marketplace for this type of work. It is not uncommon for the web analyst to work closely with the website development staff, creating new reports and methods to improve data collection.
Data entry procedures are the rules and steps followed by website developers when creating website applications. These procedures are used to manage the hardware resource allocation, reduce the risk of malicious programs entering the system, and ensure consistent use of terms to improve the overall usability of the website. It is the responsibility of the web analyst to manage the creation and maintenance of these rules, which determines the overall data quality and has a direct impact on the usability of the reliability of any analytical reports.
Data integrity is an important function that is managed with a combination of business process and system rules. The business process rules define what information is recorded and how. The source documentation for data entry must be defined and used consistently by all website developers. The background computer systems can be programmed to ensure that all accepted data entry meets specific requirements. For example, many websites will only accept certain types of characters, and will not allow any combinations that may be programming code.
While the physical security is usually the responsibility of the information technology staff, the web analyst is responsible for reviewing the procedures in place to control both the people who have access and exactly what functions they can perform. Many website databases and applications have audit trails to track user activity on the site.
The last responsibility of the web analyst is the review of system-generated reports. They are responsible for providing accurate and comprehensive reports to senior management on costs, activity, website visitor demographics, and other information. This is a critical function for effective decision making for both the website and the business overall.
The job of a web analyst sounds fairly complicated. I maintain a website for myself, and I can barely understand the information generated by my user panel on traffic and how people found my site. I can't imagine having to compile a report on something like that and present to a bunch of people.
I guess that's why companies employ web analysts though. It's much better to have an expert to keep your website secure and go through the system-generated reports rather than making it a secondary part of someone else's job.
I also imagine the data analysis portion of the job was pretty important too. Insurance companies collect all kinds of information, so I'm sure the web analysts had a lot to analyze. For instance, I bet they were curious about the customers that got a quote for insurance, but didn't purchase!
A web analyst career seems like it would be a good thing to shoot for. A web presence is a big part of marketing for any company, so most companies have web sites. Also, a lot of companies use web based applications to help their customers and get other work done.
With all these things being done on the web, it stands to reason that most companies need to hire a web analyst! Obviously I don't know for sure, but I bet there are a lot of jobs out there for someone with this skill set, and there will probably be even more in the future.
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