University Web Developers

University Web Developers

We had a major redesign of our website a year ago onto a content management system and have been running Sawmill stats but are not getting the kind of information that is helpful for our marketing strategies. We'd be interested in hearing from other colleges and universities about useful software packages, beneficial features to look for, and key metrics that are helpful.
--sue d.

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What kind of information are you looking for from your stats?

On a related note, I highly recommend Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik. This blog is an excellent resource for understanding the art of web metrics.
I've been using Google Analytics in conjunction with AWStats. Google Analytics have a lot of great reporting features and tools, however it does not give stats on non-HTML file requests (since it tracks usage by putting some script into your HTML code). That's why I also use AWStats since it reads the raw IIS logs, so I get a more complete picture of what's actually being hit on our website.
I recommend google analytics but there is another new one that looks interesting Clicky. Also, this same thread is going on, on the uwebd listserv right now too.
We're using google analytics, webstat, and awstats. I mainly use awstats to review the 404s report. I think google analytics has a lot of what we need for site analytics, but I still don't know what is meant by the numbers and how the tool defines a hit or a conversion. I'd like to take some time and really dig into that, but it's just a little too low on the priority list to spend hours on at this point. Maybe soon.
I was a WebTrends user for about 7-8 years and bought Urchin 5 a little over a year ago. I didn't have the budget at the time to be able to pay a consultant to show me how to properly set it up or use it to its full potential, or what other products could be used in conjunction with it to get the most bang for our buck.

Now that I have some extra funding available, I recently started looking for a consultant/firm that could provide 3-5 hours or so of consulting service to login into my Urchin system & poke around & figure out why some of the reports are very funky (I'm guessing something's not setup/configured right), and tell us how to track even more stuff that I'm not sure if Urchin 5 can do, or if I needed something else to compliment it.

I finally found a guy who works for who really understood what my needs were & told me what he'd be able to do & it all sounded perfect.... until they sent us a contract & my purchasing department saw it. Even though it was only for less than a $1,000 of consulting hours, as a New York State agency, we have to have certain specific terms & conditions in our contracts, and this firm would not make the NYS-required modifications. I've begged & pleaded with my purchasing folks to no avail -- it's not something we locally have the power to change. They referred me to ROI Analytics, who also said right off the bat they'd require a contract for this & wouldn't modify their terms & conditions. EpikOne told me they don't provide hourly consulting for Urchin 5 anymore.

Do you know of any other firms or individuals that would accept a purchase order and either do this without a contract or be able to make a few necessary changes to the terms & conditions section?
Thanks for all the speedy responses! More details about what we'd like to learn from stats/analytics:
- What specific geographic locations our website visitors are coming from (for planning international and domestic recruitment travel, e.g.)
- What content on our website is generating the most traffic
- What key words/phrases are bringing traffic into our site (to assist in our key word buys)
- What are our most active referral sites (to know which college directories are working for us)
- What conversion paths (to our request for info form or online application for admission, e.g.) work best
- Where are our pages failing (visitors bailing out of the site)

P.S. Hi Matt (met you in San Diego at Stamats) and thanks! -- just signed up for the listserv to see if I can catch the ongoing discussion there, too...
Well in that case, Google Analytics should do everything you're looking for. Although Matt's suggestion on "Clicky" looks interesting as well.
A friend of mine just installed clicky and it looks sweet. YOu can get file download data, it is faster. There is a compare page that has lots of info. Not gonna shut down analytics but might run both.
I checked out the comparison page, but I never trust those as they'll never show what what features they're lacking that other tools might have. I'm going to give it a try as well, and if it can do file download data, then it might be a good alternative to AWStats which is a pain to install and maintain (it uses Perl, yuck). I'll still keep google analytics running though, as I think it's good to compare metrics from multiple apps in case one misses something or skews the data somehow.

BTW Matt, I attended your session on social networking sites at HighEdWebDev in October, and have to say it was very entertaining!
It tracks file downloads and outgoing links, which I love. It also has a Spy tab, which lets you view what visitors are doing in real time. I love it so far.
It'd be interesting to run Analytics and Clicky and see how similar the data is. I know some programs out there are typically way off.
I now have one full day's worth of data to compare on three sites. Here are yesterday's total unique visitors:

Tiny site: Clicky 18, GA 21
Small site: Clicky 96, GA 126
Larger site: Clicky 444, GA 591



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