Goal Check-in #3

This is our third of five check-ins on progress for our web team goals. It’s been a busy few months, as we’ve made substantial progress on some of our goals.

1. Reduce the total number of pages on the Lane website by 5% (from 5550 to 5273)

We’ve improved even further since last check-in, when we were at 5072. We currently have 4948 pages, which is a record low for us. There’s another 22 pages we’re actively working on eliminating right now, so I’m hopeful we’ll get under 4900 before the end of the academic year. Don’t be surprised if we come calling to talk about some of your older pages soon!

2. Reduce the number of pages with more than 15,000 characters by 10% (from 249 to 224)

We flew right past this goal, getting down to just 136 pages with more than 15,000 characters. Most of that was because we realized old Board minutes could be moved to one of our archive servers, allowing us to remove some of our longest and oldest pages. this way the Board minutes are still publicly accessible, but we don’t need to worry about constantly updating them.

3. Reduce the average character count of our pages by 10% (from 4650 to 4185)

Eliminating the old Board minutes also helped us meet this goal. The average page on our site is now only 3966 characters long. I think we’ll want to stick right around that length – many of our newer pages will be deliberately long (see the new template content later in this post!)

4. Improve the average age of our pages (the average late updated date) by 4 months (from 16 months to 12 months)

This one’s the hardest for us, and we’ve actually slipped backwards. The average page is now 17 months old. While we’ll certainly keep working on updates, please help us out! If you look at the listing of pages in your site from the right sidebar on the dashboard, under “Sites I’m responsible for”, you can sort that by updated date. Take a look at some of your older pages; you might be surprised by how out of date they can be.

Traffic Goals

We also had two traffic goals:

  1. Increase session counts for www.lanecc.edu during the period 6/14/17-6/14/18 compared to the previous year by 5%, from 3,228,904 to 3,390,349
  2. Decrease the bounce rate for www.lanecc.edu during the period 6/14/17-6/14/18 compared to the previous year by 5%, from 37.05% to 35.19%

Since these are annual goals, they’re a little harder to compare against. But we can compare similar time periods. For the first six months, 6/14-12/14, comparing 2016 to 2017, our session counts have decreased by 7.47%, and our bounce rate has increased by 1.28%. This is a bit of an improvement over last check-in on bounce rates, but a crushing disappointment on session counts.

We’re starting to deploy our revised program pages, starting with the Business Department. SEO is a marathon, and it’ll likely take months before the impact of our work is fully felt, we’re already starting to see some changes. Since November 21st, when we launched our first new program page, we’ve seen some big changes in our statistics, compared to the same period the previous year:

Program Landing Page Unique Page views Entrances Average Time on Page
Accounting 21% 187% 218%
Administrative Office Professional 13% 17% 249%
Business Assistant 7% -75% 24%

I can only guess about the decrease in entrances for Business Assistant, but it might be related to the quality of content on the other program pages. For example, check out what accounting looked like before the redesign. The improved content quality might be capturing people who were actually interested in a degree, and hadn’t realized from a Google search that Business Assistant is a certificate.

We’re not quite ready to release the new program page to the rest of the programs at the college, but we’re getting close. We’ve already started work on CIT, Culinary, and the Arts. As we iron out the last issues with the template (there’s still some pieces missing, even from the pages we’ve already launched!), we’ll be in touch with the other academic departments to start moving to the new program layout.

In the mean time, please help us out! Think about the keywords your page targets, and make sure your content contains those words. And whenever possible, please make sure your page includes some sort of target or goal you’re trying to get your visitors to do. If you’d like help researching keywords, or would like to learn how you rank on Google for various keywords, just ask! We’re happy to show you a couple of reports that we think could help you with your content a lot.