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Web Success Metrics

In addition to the new design, information architecture and content management system for, another primary goal of the Refresh project is to consistently measure our Web site.  The Refresh project charter states as a primary goal:

Rigorous measurement: The university will employ tools and resources to better understand how well we are meeting our key metrics. Beyond basic Web analytics, the university will also actively track conversions, engagement and interactions.

To that end, we have added a campus-wide Google Analytics report to supplement the Information Technology Services Urchin 6 service as well as site-specific Google Analytics reports.

We developed the Web Success Metrics report to track and evaluate our Web sites.

Awareness. We are measuring awareness by the percentage of visitors who come directly to our site without using a search engine or following a referral link.

Engagement. We are assessing engagement with three different measurements: repeat visits, internal site usage and level of site usage.  Repeat visits are visits from visitors who have previously been to  Internal site usage is the percentage of visitors who use the search function on  We are using the depth of visit — how many pages visitors access during a visit — to determine the level of site usage.

Goal Conversion. We are also reviewing the online giving form and overall online giving by visitors to our Web sites.  To obtain the percentage of conversions on the online giving form, we track the number of page views on the online giving form and the number of page views on the confirmation/thank you page.

Social Media. Monthly we track the number and percentage change of Facebook fans, Twitter followers and YouTube views for all the social media sites that are listed in the Know Social Media Directory.  For the official UT social media pages, we track more specific interactions including posts, likes, comments and visits.

The Top 10. Each month we examine three top 10 categories: content pages, keywords and traffic sources. Top content pages are the Web pages with the most page views. Keywords are the words most frequently typed into search engines to visit  Traffic sources are the top 10 specific ways visitors come to our site including direct traffic, using a search engine (Google, Yahoo! and Bing) and following a referral link.

We are collecting our monthly baseline metrics in order to evaluate the existing site and our impact when the new design debuts. Our intent is to consistently review our metrics and make data-driven updates as needed to reach our goal of rigorous measurement.

2 Responses to “Web Success Metrics”

  1.   PJ Brunet Says:

    For measuring repeat visits, are you using cookies or IP logs?

  2.   David Says:


    We actually employ several web analytics solutions that measure that traffic in different ways. Server logs and Google Analytics java-script based tracking methods give you different stories about web traffic, browsing patterns, and repeat visits. There are flaws with both approaches and benefits as well. Google who offers both Google Analytics and Urchin, a log based analytics tool, has a brief comparison which succinctly describes some of the differences and advantages of each approach.

    Google Analytics vs Urchin