Wednesday, 4 November 2009

What are NZETC visitors after?

Like many other websites, we use Google Analytics to monitor our web traffic, and it allows us to easily see trends and patterns in who is using our site and the content they are accessing.

For example, in the latest month-on-month comparision (October traffic compared against September traffic), amongst other interesting developments, we notice
  • Absolute unique visitors are up by 9% (to 157,174)
  • The number of visits are up by 7% (to 185,877), as are pageviews by 4% (to 402,357)
  • However, the average time visitors are spending on the site is down slightly by 7% (to 2:01 minutes). This, we think, is because our server is performing much faster than previously, and therefore visitors are waiting less time for pages to load, so consequently we are not too worried about this figure
  • Almost 80% of our traffic originates from search-engines (i.e. Google), though the figure being referred from other websites is gradually increasing, and is currently 16.5%
Looking at the type of material that visitors are accessing on our site, we see the usual culprits appearing in the top ten most used resources:
Interestingly, apart from the large series (WH2 histories and Cyclopedias), it is the Maori and Polynesian language materials that consistently make it into the list of most-used resources from one month to the next. We think that this shows that, unlike English-language resources, there is a relative lack of good Maori and Polynesian language resources freely available on the web, and therefore people looking for these tend to end up at our site.

Other interesting trends that show up include general use of Internet technology:
  • Newer browsers are being adopted relatively quickly. Safari (+14%), Chrome (+26%) and Firefox (+10%) are all significantly up on their figures from last month
  • There is continued evidence of a move away from dial-up and towards broadband, espcially faster broadband, with cable (12%) and T1 (10%) significantly up on last month
So, using Google Analytics to compare out traffic from one month to the next provides interesting indicators into how we should be focusing our energy in times ahead. For example, the increased use of broadband shows that, over time, we can maybe become a little more relaxed about putting up webpages that contain lots of images (e.g. page images of the book from which the web page was generated). Also, it seems as if we should continue to put effort into digitising Maori and Polynesian language materials, as the demand is obviously there.

Also, although relying on search engines such as Google to drive traffic to the NZETC site has and is working well, maybe we need to think about about making it easier for external sites to link to our texts, as this figure of direct referrals (16%) is realtively low compared to search engine traffic (around 80%).

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