Google Analytics

Discussion of steamlocomotive.info, its shortcomings, flaws, features. Suggestions for improvement are welcomed as are problem reports, including spelling errors, missing images, etc.
Doug Bailey
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Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:57 pm
Location: Eagan. MN
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Google Analytics

Postby Doug Bailey » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:32 am

It has been a bit more than five years since I paid any real attention to this website's statistics, how many visitors, how many page views, how do people find us and so forth. Now that I'm retired, I've decided to do some massive updating, enhancing and modifying of http://www.steamlocomotive.info. Hopefully this will make it more useful, more fun, and easier to use.

To that end, I spent a day or so installing Google Analytics on the website. This provides me all sorts of useful information about the site, where are visitors are from, how many sessions, new users, and pageviews. There's a lot more information provided, but some of it pertains mostly to ecommerce, which we don't do, and some of it is couched in statistical jargon that might as well be written in Sanskrit for all I understand of it.

But here's the fun stuff:
  • We're averaging about 950 user sessions per day
  • Of those, about 57% are new visitors to the site
  • The average visit consists of 16 page views
  • 70% of all visitors come from the United States
  • The UK and Canada make up another 15% of our visitors
  • In the preceding week we had visitors from 64 countries

Five years ago, the numbers were about half those above and 92% of our visitors were from the United States.

What I'm really interested in, though, is what parts of the site get the most usage. Speaking generally the Search function and the Browse function are the most heavily used. The single most used page is vlocomotive.cfm, the page that gets launched when you click on a thumbnail.

What surprised me the most was how often people click on the ownership button for a locomotive. That feature, and the data behind it have been pretty much ignored by me, due to the fact that a special function in Coldfusion (the language in which the site is written) that was used in maintaining the ownership data was removed in CF7 and hasn't reappeared. Since the feature is actually getting used, we're going to rewrite it a bit, and add the ability for our editors to create and to maintain the ownership histories for a locomotive. This will hopefully make the information more current and useful.

So...to keep a long story, somewhat less long. I plan to use the Google Analytics data to help make this a better website.
Doug Bailey, Webmaster
www.steamlocomotive.info

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