Update: direct links to all my website statistics posts:
In my last post, I said: “But we could go … further with this idea. How about seeing who our “virtual competition” is – looking at our web traffic and seeing where our website visitors are coming from, and … where they go when the exit our site (I think some web logging software shows this – I’ll have to look)?”
So, I thought I’d follow up with that idea (“NEVER say “I’ll have to look” with a series of posts. This series will address just what you can do with log files and statistics to get a grasp on what your customers are doing at your site, and what they are looking for.
First, a few guidelines: I’m using SmarterStats (at http://www.smartertools.com) to do web statistics. So everything I mention will be functions of SmarterStats – but most, if not all, of these features are also found in LiveStats, WebTrends, and other web-log statistics type software.
For starters, let’s look at Top Entry Pages. An Entry Page is where a customer first entered our website, and Top just means “popular.”
In my website’s top entry pages (I think I checked the top 25 entry pages) are expected pages like the main page of the website. Interestingly enough, that’s not number!! It was about #5 on the list. The Top Page for October (so far) is our online calendar. Also in the top 25 entry pages:
Site search page
Library jobs page
Local History site
Our Crafts xml rss feed!
Search Engine Guide pages
Contact the library page
Mystery books xml rss feed
If I look from June 1 (our redesigned website was released in late May), here’s what the top entry pages are:
Main website page
Guides Main page
Local History Subjects browse page
Local History Collections browse page
Contact the library page
Search engines Guide
Harry Potter RSS feed
Children’s Guide page
Mystery books rss feed
Arts and culture rss feed
History rss feed
So, what’s this mean? Here’s my best guess: library customers are bookmarking their favorite pages. Those favorite pages are: calendar, locations, search and search engines (probably for the Google and Yahoo links?), Local History pages, and the Children’s pages.
Some of our customers are RSS-savvy, and like to keep track of harry Potter, Mystery Books, and the local Arts and Culture scene in the library and around town.
And some customers are finding our website through search engines – probably from the calendar (specific events), Jobs (linked from job classified ads), the main page of the website, and probably some other pages.
So the point here? Top-level pages aren’t the end-all-be-all pages that attract all our users. Many of our customers bookmark their favorite pages and re-visit them for changes, or they find our pages from web searches. That means that we have to make certain our websites are fine-tuned, so website visitors can easily navigate to other pages. Also, we need to keep pmping our original content out to our customers – because that’s apparently what they want from us!