Websites coming out of the woodwork

Screenshot of the portcities websiteI’ve worked at Bristol Museums for just over two years now, and still now and then I’ll be chatting to someone or receive an email saying “oh, did you know that such and such website is ours?” Which I then add to my growing list and maybe have a little grumble to myself about.

Now, on the one hand, it’s great that people are telling us about these (anyone else want to let us know of any more, please?) but on the other it creates a bit of a headache for us in keeping track of exactly what content of ours is online and how people are using it.

It’s easy to just assume that, because they’re pretty old and incredibly out of date in some (most) cases, that they’ve been forgotten about and people don’t use them. This isn’t necessarily the case, though.

One example of this is the Portcities website – http://discoveringbristol.org.uk/ – which was made around 2003. It gets a huge amount of traffic – just over 470k unique pageviews in 2014, which is coming up for nearly half of the amount we get to our main website www.bristolmuseums.org.uk (around 1m a year and growing).

I looked at the analytics for this with Jane from our Learning team recently, and there are some other interesting things that we can see:

  • There’s a dip in traffic over the summer and during school holidays, suggesting it could be being used as a learning resource
  • Most of the content looked at is about Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery
  • The main bulk of visitors (around 45%) are from the US. This is nearly twice as many visits than we get from the UK
  • 86% of visitors find the website from search

There’s clearly a purpose for this content, so we need to think carefully about what we do with it. We’re working really closely with our Learning team to try to map this out, find the opportunities and see what we can do to best serve these users.

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