When we where building our base of evidence for Liverpool.gov.uk we where very careful in making sure we where looking at the right set of information, and not getting confused by the noise.
One set of noise it’s easy to get confused by is internal site usage.
In Liverpool as in many council’s the main website is used by staff both inside and outside the call centre to check information, pass things on to people on the phone, and generally keep up to date with what the council is saying, but these users are not typical customers, far from it in fact.
Very early on when looking at the stats we split our staff from our customers and we saw a number of differences:Staff use the site lots, customers don’t
Typically when we look at our staff users 60% of them visit the site more than 9 times a month, with a lot visiting more than 200 times (20%) these typically are the call centre advisors and as they use the site a lot, they know where everything is.
Customers however visit the site a lot less frequently. The majority of visitors come once or twice a month and as such don’t know the site.
Staff use the site differently
This difference shows it self in how staff and customers use the site diffrenty, staff visiting often become use to navigating the site, while customers new to the site have to be guided to the right location. Some things we observed in our stats where:
- Staff where twice as likely to use the A-Z : often going to L then lifestyles (the leisure centres) – customers navigated via the links on the homepage
- Staff searched for Google on our homepage a lot – we suspect that’s because it was the homepage on their browser and they didn’t want it to be.
- Staff spend longer on pages, the bounce rate is higher and they all have internet explorer!
Another set of traffic that we had to be cautious of, where the libraries – without filters we got an amazingly high usage of the library catalogue, but once we excluded the PCs in the libraries. The site usage changed dramatically.
Don’t just ignore – customize
While we did filter out all our staff and library users when developing the site, we didn’t ignore them completely – using the statistics the other way around we are working with our call centre and our libraries to produce specific landing pages that help staff get what they need – as frequent users we can pack these pages with more links than the normal site would have – and a set of pages for people using our library pc’s principally quick links to the catalogue and external sites.
These user specific pages will not be index-ible by Google, but rather set specifically for the users who need them, this approach helped us focus even more on the main body of customers using the site.