Monday, November 29, 2010

Small museum websites

Aust Country Music Hall of Fame

Barrie Brennan, an EVRSIG member who volunteers at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth, asks how small museums can find out more about the people who visit their website. He has a couple of questions:

  1. Who is visiting the website?
  2. What do they want to find out?

My first suggestion is to use Google Analytics to gather general information about the number of visitors, where they are from and which pages they visit. Google Analytics is a free service and not too tricky to set up. You open an account at Google Analytics and go through a few steps to generate some code that you put on your website. I have set this up for this blog so I know how many are visiting.

Finding out why people visit your website is much more labour intensive. If you have a large volume of visitors, you could try setting up a very brief online survey, or you could incorporate a couple of questions into surveys you might run during the Country Music Festival.

What advice do others have? Do you have any suggestions for small museums?

Contributed by Gillian Savage

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gillian, I also think Google Analytics is a great place to start, but I find it hard to choose the right metrics.

    In addition to visits and page views etc, I like looking at bounce rates and time spent on each page, as this can tell you something about how people are consuming your content but I find these metrics are only good at the page level. When you start looking at the site as a whole the detail gets averaged out of them. Also these metrics can mean different things in the context of different pages i.e. a high bounce rate on an information page can be expected because people will consume the content and leave, while a low bounce rate would be ideal on a gallery or other page type with a lot of links to content.

    I also like to look at referring sites, and in particular facebook and twitter referrals so that I can see how any social media campaigns or general conversations are influencing visitation to the websites.

    We have also been using short pop up surveys on our venue home pages since June and are starting to see some solid trends in the purpose of visit to our different websites. We are currently using the 4Q surveys developed by Iperceptions (4Q surveys) but Survey Monkey also has a popup feature that can be used.

    I would be very interested to hear how other people are monitoring their websites and what metrics they are using. I think the main reason that I find it hard to choose online metrics is because we don’t know what we want to know.

    Matt Farley
    Senior Market Research Analyst
    Museum Victoria