Erica Gamble LIS 786: Advanced Web Design Doctor K.

Marek 5 March 2011 Web Analytics Website Purpose The purpose of my Drupal prototype website is to design an intuitively navigable, userfriendly library website. A library website should provide visitors with information about: the library and librarians (i.e. mission, history, policy, location, hours of operation, contacting reference librarians, etc.); library holdings (print and electronic) and inter-library loans via the online catalog; and current & upcoming library events/programs, services, and resources relevant to the patron community. Currently, my prototype website is in the early stages of development. While there are many working links, much of the content is missing and website features have not been evaluated/optimized. However, to practice web analytics, I hope to achieve the four basic goals (listed below) to confirm that the structure of the website is on the right track. Goals 1. At least 15 unique visitors per week. 2. At least three pageviews (average) per visit. 3. At least two minutes (average) spent on website per visit. 4. At least 10 referrals from Facebook per week. Methods To measure the success or failure of the goals mentioned above, I plan to gather Google Analytics (GA) data about unique visits, pageviews, time on site, and referring websites. Numeric statistics provided by GA will provide quantitative data. Interpreting GA stats about bounce rates and popular technology choices of visitors (i.e. browser type, operating systems, and screen

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resolution) will provide some qualitative information that can be analyzed to interpret/predict user behaviors and to locate problem areas of the prototype website. These quantitative and qualitative metrics will help me illustrate end user behaviors in relation to the four goals. Basic comprehension of terms used by Google Analytics is required to effectively interpret accrued data. The number of absolute unique visitors only reflects the number of first time visitors – not returning visitors. Both the quantity and URLs of pageviews help me determine, respectively, the approximate number of pages selected and viewed by each visitor and which pages visitors viewed most. Average time on site data will illustrate the amount of time a person spends on this prototype website per visit. Referring websites will tell me whether more people are visiting this prototype website by entering the URL directly into the search bar, or following a link from an external website. Bounce rate data will show me the percentage of people who only visited the landing page and left the site immediately versus people who viewed multiple pages. Finally, Top Technical stats will inform me about the most popular choices for browsers of visitors to date. To accumulate measurable data about what people do on this prototype website, I have installed the Google Analytics module on my Drupal site. I hope to reach some visitors by distributing the URL to family, friends, and classmates to collect data about direct referrals. I hope to increase the number of unique visitors by posting links to Facebook and Twitter to collect trend data about the impact of referring links on the number of unique visits. Using customizable graphs and metrics (built into GA), I will compare and interpret data collected from February 19 – 25, 2011 [Week 1] and February 26 – March 4, 2011 [Week 2]. Visitor Usage To analyze the meaning of collected web analytics data, I have taken 5 screenshots of the customizable data comparison features offered by Google Analytics.

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Figure 1. A bar graph from GA that illustrates the number of absolute unique visitors (first-time visitors) to the Drupal site. Data from Week 1 is displayed in green and data from Week 2 is blue.

Figure 1 displays data about absolute unique visitors from Week 1 (green) and Week 2 (blue). The header of this graph tells me that there were 21 first-time visitors during Week 2; a 600% increase from the 3 first-time visitors of Week 1. In the body of the graph, weekdays are listed individually to be easily compared with the same weekday, one week prior. For example, there were (16) first-time visitors on Friday, March 4, 2011 and only (1) first-time visitor on Friday, February 25, 2011. The prototype website had no unique visitors on Saturday, Monday, or Wednesday for the duration of Week 1 and Week 2. The summation of percentages next to each bar will equal 100% for each given week. These percentages demonstrate the weekdays that my page was most accessed by first-time visitors. For example, during Week 1, Sunday, February 20, 2011 was the weekday that my site received the most unique visitors (3); 60% relative to Week 1. During Week 2, Friday, March 4, 2011 was the weekday that my site was most frequented by unique visitors; 72.73% relative to Week 2. During Week 2, I achieved my first goal of at least 15 unique

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visitors.

Figure 2. A bar graph from GA that illustrates the number of average pageviews per visit. Data from Week 1 is displayed in green and data from Week 2 is blue.

The Figure 2 bar graph format is very similar to Figure 1. The graph header tells me that, during Week 2, visitors to this site viewed an average of 9.75 pages – a 108.93% increase from Week 1 (4.67 pageviews/visit). Sunday, February 20, 2011 was the day with the most average pageviews (6.5) during Week 1, while Thursday, March 3, 2011 shows that visitors viewed an average of (18.71) pages per visit. Since there are less than 18 pages on my Drupal site, I infer that my family and friends took my instruction to “click around” extremely literally. During Week 2, I surpassed my goal of at least 3 pageviews per visit by a large margin! Table 1 (below) tells me how many people came to my site via Facebook, Twitter, or direct URL. Each referring source compares statistics from Week 1 and Week 2. Since I did not post a link to my prototype website on Facebook and Twitter until Week 2, Table 1 shows that there has been a 100% change in those referring sites when compared to Week 1. During Week 2, I reached 4

my fourth goal of at least 10 visitors referred from a posted link on Facebook; 15 people accessed my Drupal site via Facebook, 10 people via direct URL, and 3 people visited via Twitter. This detailed table also provides data concerning pageviews, time on site, % new visits, and bounce rate. For example, there were more pageviews per visit during Week 2, because I created 6 more menu links and marketed my Drupal site on both Facebook and Twitter. On average, however, visitors that had access to the site's direct URL viewed more pages per visit and spent more time viewing my prototype website.

Table 1. Data from Google Analytics illustrates how visitors are accessing my Drupal site. Week 1 and Week 2 statistics about visits, pageviews, average time on site, % new visits, and bounce rate are organized by referral souce (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, or direct URL).

The bounce rate for Week 2 is considerably lower that Week 1 because instead of only 2 pages to view, visitors had 8 pages to view. Therefore, during Week 2 fewer visitors exited my Drupal site after only viewing the home page. Although Table 1 shows that my site has a significantly lower bounce rate than the week before, Figure 3 tells me that during Week 2, most people spent three minutes or less browsing this site. For Week 1, Table 1 reflects the high bounce rate of 66.67% and Figure 3 mirrors this high bounce rate with 66.67% of visitors spending 0-10 seconds viewing my prototype website. Average 5

time on site increased during Week 2 with 25% of visitors staying my site for 31-60 seconds and 21.43% of visitors remaining on site for 61-180 seconds. While GA tells me that the total average time on site for Week 2 is a high 14 minutes, I know that this figure may be skewed by the few people who spent 1,801+ seconds on the site – probably forgetting to close the browser window. From the data in Figure 3, I can see that while 21.43% spent 61-180 seconds on my site, a majority of visitors exited the site in less than 60 seconds. I cannot state with certainty that I have achieved my third goal of visitors spending at least 2 minutes (average) on my Drupal site.

Figure 3. A bar graph from GA illustrates the number of people that stayed on my Drupal site for varied amounts of time. Data from Week 1 is displayed in green and data from Week 2 is blue.

Figure 4 reflects popular operating systems and web browser choices of new visitors.

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During Week 2, 16 new visitors (38.89%) accessed my Drupal site from a Macintosh computer using the Firefox browser and 6 new visitors (33.33%) accessed the site using the Windows operating system from a Firefox browser. This means that most visitors – between February 26, 2011 and March 4, 2011 – use the Mozilla Firefox browser. This qualitative data about technology preference tells me that it is a good idea to optimize the prototype library website for the Firefox browser.

Figure 4. A table and pie chart from GA displays the popular operating systems and web browsers used by visitors to my Drupal site. Data from Week 1 and Week 2 is provided.

Future Improvements & Action To optimize and improve the end user experience of this prototype Drupal library site, there are a couple of actions I could take. Based on quantitative data analysis from Week 2 concerning 7

pageviews (9.75 average per visit) and low bounce rate, I might conduct a survey asking visitors whether the high number of pageviews can be attributed to interesting and relevant website content, or confusing navigation caused by poor website design. To gather more specific qualitative data, I would ask survey participants about their technology preferences – i.e. do you access the library website more frequently from a computer or a mobile device? This data about user technology preferences will help me to optimize the library website for a majority of end users. In the future, I believe I can reach my third goal (average at least 2 minutes on site per visit) by adding more relevant and interesting content to the website.

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