Overview of Metrics I Use with Utah.gov

If you wish to be successful with your digital government initiatives, you must measure. Without reasonably good metrics you have no way to determine success and no way to gauge how you should direct your resources. Putting up a website is not a measure of success. You really need to understand what that website is accomplishing and numbers are the best way to tell the story.

I measure almost everything we do with Utah.gov. It begins with the portal itself. I have used various tools to measure what is happening there, but after using various tools such as WebTrends, have settled on Google Analytics. It allows me to do many things, several of which I will mention.

  • Unique visitors – I don’t look at hits ever because it has so many variables. Unique visitors is a measure I always want to increase year over year and I maintain a separate chart where I transfer the monthly stats so I can track it over time even if my tools change.
  • Time spent – I need to understand how my users are doing at accomplishing what they want to do. Are they finding other interesting things?
  • Bandwidth – What is the average bandwidth of our users’ connections? What percent are on broadband? This has everything to do with the kind of experience we can provide for the user.
  • Browser – Do I understand how many are accessing the site from a mobile platform? Which mobile platforms are they using? Have I tested for their experience so that I understand it?
Because our domain is somewhat distributed, I use various other tools to measure what is happening domain-wide. Compete.com has an excellent service which I use to compare Utah.gov to surrounding states and egov leaders such as Virginia, Washington, California, and Michigan. I will usually weight this based on population and then try to understand what those who are doing a good job are doing. Quantcast is another excellent tool for understanding the demographics of those who are using your site.

It would be easy to stop here, but I think this is really not even the minimum of what you need to do. I want to get as granular as I can with metrics but for now, I will just mention several more that I use on at least a weekly basis.

  • Majestic SEO – Search engine optimization is a key factor in any successful website. Be sure you are backlinked from important relevant sites. This site will help you measure how successful your SEO efforts are. For example, here’s a look at one of our more popular sub-domains.
  • Click-through measurement – Don’t forget to measure your social media efforts. We have over 150 state and local agencies in Utah that use Twitter. Be sure to measure the click-through rates of your links to understand what your readers are most interested in by using a tool like bit.ly or go.usa.gov.
  • Google Chrome Extensions. I use quite a few of these to have immediate access to all kinds of information. For now, I will recommend Chrome SEO, but there are many more.
We also use a variety of custom measurement tools to track the use of our online services and measure customer feedback. I review these at least twice a month. These are critical. There are a growing number of good 2.0 feedback tools that you shouldn’t hesitate to try like Get Satisfaction or User Voice.

Like I mentioned earlier, this overview is a minimalist approach. Once you establish a routine pattern for tracking and reporting on these items, there will be other things you want to know and other tools you will want to add to your portfolio.

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That’s fantastic. We use Google Analytics as well.

I also try to look at visitor loyalty and recency. As well as the top content, so we can maximize and make it easier to find.