Web Analytics – Outcomes
In taking a deeper look at the web logs for ISU Extension’s main site, I’ve learned a lot about how the site is used. One thing that jumped out is that “The Long Tail” definitely exists on our web server. This says that a small number of pages have the highest visits per page. However, when aggregated together, the less popular web pages make up the bulk of the visits. These recent posts from Seth Godin and Arpan Shah describe the long tail much better than I can.
Entry page into the site is an interesting statistic. In many cases, the first page people see are not the ones we think are most important. We think about News, the Store, and topic pages off our home page as being pretty important. However, only the store showed up on the top 50 entry pages (as number 8), and that wasn’t the store’s home page but the “Item Detail” page.
So what did show up? Three of the top 50 entry pages had to do with tree identification, a site that was first written over 10 years ago, and without much modification since then. Not only did people come into this site, they used it! People moved around within this site because it had 39 of the top 100 overall pages in October. To borrow a phase from Kevin, “The people have voted with their mouse clicks.” This site is important.
Other things I learned:
- Our home page was the entry page for about 20,000 visits, and had a total of about 24,000 visits, meaning that a little over 4,000 people (less than 1% of the total visits to the server) saw our home page after coming into a different page. This reinforces the every page is your home page theory.
- For over 100,000 visits, the top entry page was a graphic file. This was likely the only file seen by these visitors.
- One of the top referrers to our site was MySpace. Upon farther investigation, I discovered people are using images from our server on their pages. Some of the other top referrers were also to graphic files.
- Making the top 50 entry pages was old pages on using HTML. I discovered that one of these pages is linked from Wikipedia, therefore had high rankings on Google..
- Google was the biggest referrer (no surprise), but not by as much as I would have thought. Also in the list of top 20 referring sites were search pages from Yahoo, MSN, Live, AOL, and Ask. Absent from the list is Wikipedia.
- Google seems to break pages with frames up, into the individual frames. We have a site that uses frames, and the content on that site if found through Google. However, when accessing the content through Google, you never see the frames, just the content session. This causes it to loose its identity with ISU Extension.
I was surprised how much good information I found when digging deeper into the statistics for the entire server. My guess is that the ISU Extension site is pretty typical of what is happening at other states.
If you would like more information on this, please let me know.