Jump to content


OE site usage update, Aug 2014

Posted by Chris Merkord , in Reports 20 August 2014 · 6,268 views

OE site usage update, Aug 2014 Continuing our August updates series for 2014, this blog entry summarizes recent patterns and trends in site usage. This data is useful to us at the Ornithology Exchange because it helps us understand how people arrive at the site and what they do once they get here. This data is also useful to our partner organizations because it helps them understand the audience they can reach on this site that they cannot reach through their traditional communication methods.

This is my first attempt to present some of the analytics data we have, so it is a learning process for me. If there is anything you are interested in that I don't present, leave a comment so I can address it. We have had Google Analytics integrated into the site since July 2011 and have continuous analytics data available except for a week or so in 2013 when Google changed their analytics code.

Number of Users

Since July 2011, the site has been visited by about 119,000 users about 322,000 times, generating 1.4 million pageviews.

All metrics for site usage have been increasing at about the same rate, including number of visitors, number of new visitors, number of sessions, and number of pageviews. For example, the number of users on the busiest day of the week (usually Monday) has increased from about 60 to about 400. The number of visitors per week has increased from 250 to 1,800, and the number of visitors per month has increased from about 1,500 to 5,000.

Attached Image
Number of users per week

Attached Image
Number of users per month

Our own built-in site analytics show us that we have about 45 people online at any given moment during during North American working ours on a weekday. Typically only about 1/3 of those users are signed in, which indicates that many visitors are not members, or that many visitors who are members do not sign in, or both.

Location and Language of Users

57% of our users since 2011 have been located in the United States, with significant contributions from Canada (6%) and the UK (5%). Other contributors in the top 10 include India, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and France. If we include only the past year's worth of data, Italy and Argentina make the list.

Attached Image
Number of users by country

Based on the locale settings of their computers, 87% of visitors use English, 4% use Spanish, 1% use French. Rounding out the top 6 are German, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, and Chinese. Right now the site is only supported in English, but with an upcoming release of a major software update, we plan on rolling out fairly comprehensive support for additional languages. Our first goal will be Spanish, followed thereafter by French and Brazilian Portuguese. This improvement should increase our exposure outside of English-speaking countries. If you are interested in helping with this process, please let me know! We are looking translators and beta testers.


Acquisition refers to the way in which users get to the site. Because this has changed as the site has become more popular, the data presented below (and the data on content usage), are both from the previous 12 months only.
We get most of our traffic from search engines (primarily Google) or directly (e.g. browser bookmarks, typing the URL into a browser). We do also get a fair bit of traffic from our jobs email notifications and from referrals (people click on a link) from jobs-related sites.

Attached Image
Top sources/mediums for user aquisition

Attached Image
Referral sources

Pages on OE always enjoy relatively high ranking in search engines thanks to the excellent search engine optimization procedures we use behind the scenes. When we started the site, most of the search terms that got people to our site were related to jobs. That has changed over the years, and while it is still an important category of search terms, its relative importance has decreased. Many people now search for the site by name, or search for things related to journals, conferences, or other resources we provide on the site. Overall this trend is encouraging because it means that more different parts of the site are being used.

Attached Image
Top search engine keywords


The jobs board continues to be the single most used portion of the site. We have excellent moderators who ensure that the queue of jobs is always up-to-date, and the number of jobs submitted by users (both OE members and guests who have not signed in) has increased dramatically over the past year. I'll have more on the job board in a later blog entry.

Otherwise, we have continued to see a steady increase in usage of the forums, articles, and many other resource pages on the site. Over a quarter of pageviews in the past year were in the forums, up from one fifth in the previous 12 months.

Attached Image
Pageviews for top-level paths

Data in the figure above are a little misleading because some pages that were located under resources have been moved to their own top-level paths. About 1/3 of the pageviews for resources for example were to the journals pages, so when all visits to the journals pages are combined, it is actually the fifth most visited top-level path, above articles. If you haven't checked it out lately, have a look at our new, handy list of ornithology journals. Click a journal's name to see more details and for links to online content, both free and subscription-only. It's really handy, and I now use that page as a quick way to find journals online.


Overall, we have continued to see remarkable growth in the popularity of the site, as evidenced by the site usage analytics we capture. These results agree with the increasing membership numbers on the site that we reported in a recent blog entry (see below for the link).

One thing I have not had a chance to do is set up our analytics package so that it captures more demographic data. Given the downward trends in society membership that have been observed across most ornithological societies, I am particularly interested in learning more about the age of users on the site. In the future I plan on implementing additional code that will let us track age and other demographic information. Stay tuned for more information.

This report serves as a summary of the role the Ornithology Exchange currently plays in the ornithological community. I hope it has been interesting to some of you, I hope it encourages you to use the site more, and I hope it makes you think about how the Ornithology Exchange might help you or your organization.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave comments below.

Other blog entries in this series

OE Membership Update, Aug 2014
Last Update Jul 30 2014 10:14 AM

  • Melanie Colón likes this

Melanie Colón
Aug 21 2014 08:44 PM
Very cool. Thanks for posting this Chris.

Trackbacks for this entry [ Trackback URL ]

Jacksonville SEO company from Jacksonville SEO company

Tracked on Nov 13 2014 08:19 AM

Search My Blog

Recent Comments


    0 user(s) viewing

    0 members(s), 0 guests(s) and 0 anonymous member(s)