Thursday, June 9, 2011

Monitoring & Evaluating a Project Related Website

Increasingly, websites are being developed as one part of the projects/programs' outreach to their beneficiaries, especially urban-based youth projects. These project websites provide information about the project, allow beneficiaries such as youth to download information, such as information on reproductive health, as well as post comments and questions. However, I rarely projects monitoring these project websites and regularly reporting any website metrics, which means that these website are not evaluated at the end of the project.

Google Analytics has made monitoring and evaluating a project website very easy. Google Analytics provides very detailed information to help you monitor who is viewing the project website, how much they are using it, which pages of the website are viewed most, how long they stay at the website, as well as location of the viewers.

All that is required is that you have a Google Gmail account and Google Analytics is free. The process involves copying/pasting a script provided by Google into the code of your website that has a "tracking code." That's it. In usually 24hrs, you can start viewing a Google Analytic Report about your website.

To illustrate how to monitor and evaluate a project website, I will report my own Design, Monitoring & Evaluation website usage.

I began writing this blog regularly starting in March 2010. Google Analytics lets me put in any dates I want to analyze, so I will report usage since this time. So, since March 2010:

  • there have been 13,538 visits to this blog
  • there have been 10,740 unique visitors
  • there have been 21,954 page views
  • on average, visitors view one and one-half (1.6) pages
  • on average, visitors stay for 2.42 minutes
  • 22.6% of visitors are from the US
  • the majority of US visitors are from District of Columbia, California and New York state
  • the majority of visitors from California are from Los Angels and San Francisco
  • the majority of visitors from New York state are from the city of New York and Brooklyn
  • the next largest percentage of visitors are from the UK, of which most are from London and Manchester
  • since I live in Georgia (Republic of) I know that 98% of visitors are from Tbilisi (the capital) and the remaining 2% are from Batumi (on the Black Sea)
  • all the 8 countries I cover in my work, and for which I started this website to assist, represent only about 1% of all the visitors
  • other than the opening page, the most viewed pages are Using Excel to Create a Ghant Chart, Essential Program Evaluation, and Quotes Related to Evaluation
  • the vast majority (71%) of visitor find this blog using a Search Engine (60% of these visitors use Google), 15% using a Referring Site, and 14% coming directly (they have bookmarked this blog).
Mobile Devices:
  • the two mobile devices most used to read this blog are IPhone and IPad.

In summary, these data help me monitor my website (I know who is visiting, how often, what are the favorite pages, where visitors are from).

Also, I can evaluate this blog as not accomplishing its intend goal, which was to serve Save the Children offices in the 8 countries I cover since very few visitors are from these countries and from the locations where Save the Children offices are located. However, I can assess that this blog is serving a general interest of a small group of people around the world.

So, if  your project has a website, or is considering developing one, consider using Google Analytics to monitor and evaluate the website.

1 comment:

  1. Monitoring and Evaluation also prompts fresh thinking within organizations and their contacts with external stakeholders.