Religion in

Tracking Visits to the REL Site

With the help of John Hawkins, the new webmaster for the College of Arts & Sciences, the Department began tracking visits to its web site in mid-October 2006. Apart from learning such obscure things as the resolution of all visitors' computer monitors, their internet providers, and the speed of their internet connections, we've learned some very interesting things about who comes to our site, from where, how long they stay, and what they're viewing.

For a small Department, we have a pretty large and active site, so we're only tracking what we consider to be our top 50 pages (such things as course pages, events pages, and this very page itself; over time, we'll imbed the tracking code in more of our site's 400 pages). Below, you will see just a few of the many reports generated by our tracking system.

The above map's dots represent hits from specific parts of the world. Understandably, most of our visitors are students in the local area. Likely, a family member or two are also visiting the site. But that hardly exhausts our visitors. To date, we have had hits from every state in the U.S. and from a total of 96 countries around the world. (Hello to the person from Wolverhampton, UK, who came by and visited 2 pages).

The above three graphs, with selected columns/days showing the totals for that day, represent (beginning at the top): the total number of visits per day (from October 12, 2006 until January 9, 2007--a total of 11,002 hits for that period); the total number of pages viewed per day (with an average of 422 pages viewed each day); and the average number of pages viewed by each visitor per day (around 4). The low average suggests that many of our visitors go to a specific place for information on our site, such as visiting the index page and, from there, going to Courses and then to a specific class's page to obtain a review sheet or a copy of the syllabus. However, many visitors stay on the site quite some time, exploring its many pages.

To date, the Department is not tracking each page of its "Studying Religion: An Introduction" site (currently, we're tracking only hits on its opening page), though we know that over 1,000 people have visited this site since October--suggesting to us that this resource has been found and proved useful not only to our students but also visitors from around the world: so far, it has been visted by people in 81 different countries. (Hopefully, that person in Taiwan found it helpful.)