Data in your site

The web developer in our office installed Google Analytics on our site last month. I like the pretty graphs and numbers, but wasn’t sure how it might inform my job. So I spent a half hour with my colleague, and we clicked and scrolled around.

First of all we looked up what the term Bounce Rate means. Generally speaking is means the number of people who landed on a specific page, and then left the site entirely, without having visited any other pages on the site. In the Google documentation, a high bounce rate is described as undesirable, and if people are landing on the main page and then immediately leaving again, I’d mostly agree. If, however, people are using effective use of keywords to land on a page on our site with more specialized content, then I”m okay with a high bounce rate – that route means the keywords are efficient. We also determined that the bounce rate for our online registration page is low. We’d been having some difficulties with the online registration system, and so this seems like validation that it’s working for plenty of people.

Traffic Sources was an unexpected sources of information. People are getting to our site mostly though google searches, and uses variations on the name of our organization. A healthy percentage come through direct links or our email newsletter. So people know how to search for us, and they read our newsletter, which is good news! We can also see which websites are linking to our site. We can see where on the government website we’re linked, that the BC Teachers Federation uploads information that we send out, and that we’re getting increasing traffic from our facebook site. So these outreach programs are working out for us.

My other preferred section of google analytics was the Top Content section. I can see which pages get the most hits. There are initially no surprises there, but digging deeper there are some interesting details. I can see how long people spend on each page (do they find what they are looking for quickly on the main page? Do spend time on the content heavy pages?), and I can see on which page they exit the site and extrapolate where they found the information they were seeking.

I’m looking forward to comparing last months statistics to this months statistics. We’re implementing changes, such as an online registration system and an online community, and tracking statistics over several months will tell us if our changes are taking hold and changing how are users interact with our site.

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