When you create a website, and beyond that, a blog, you sometime wonder - who is reading this? (Assuming that *someone* is reading it at all!) Capturing site visit data provides you a rough insight into who those folks might be, if you are willing to slog through the data. But heck, you know we love digging into data, so come along and let's see who is out there!
The raw data, courtesy of Google Analytics, lists the service provider for every visit to the website (including this blog). For this analysis we looked at data for the first 100 days of this year, a total of 9,983 visits from 7,398 distinct visitors who collectively looked at 12,607 pages. Some 1,372 different service providers are listed in that data, but they are not categorized in any way - that is a process that must be done manually (ouch!). The vast majority of the service providers are either not identified at all (39% of the total) or appear to be generic ISPs, such as "time warner cable internet llc". Without anyway to get behind that lack of information, there is little to be learned from those entries, so we will exclude them and see what we can glean from the rest.
Filtered in that way leaves us with 526 different sources that accounted for roughly half of our visits, 4,845. Our analysis broke these out into five categories: Company, School, Government, Non-Profit, and Other. Here's what that looked like:
Far and away the largest category of sources are visits from other companies, making up 49% of our sources. That is encouraging since we provide solar installations to companies, it is nice to know that they are coming to our site!
The next largest source is schools - again, a major target for our marketing efforts - although we were surprised at the number of schools, particularly colleges, that visited. (We always felt that we had a very educated readership and that would tend to prove that out!)
We have to admit that we were surprised at the large number of government sources, and frankly some of them have us a bit creeped out! (More on that in a moment.)
The non-profit category was surprisingly small, given the number of phone calls and emails that we get from non-profits across the country. Apparently there is very little on the internet about solar for non-profits, so lots of folks from far-flung corners of the country find their way to our solar for non-profits page. Unfortunately we have to tell them that we are a local company and really cannot help them install solar on their church in Peoria! (But we do point them to the NABCEP website!)
Let's dig into these categories a bit more and see what we find!
The Company We Keep
There are all manner of companies represented in the data, from 3 Day Blinds to Amazon, Bloomberg, Facebook, Hubspot, Intel, Kaiser, Microsoft, Navigant, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Rolls-Royce (I don't think they make an EV!), to Yogurtland - and dozens and dozens more in between.
There are two interesting sub-categories: Utilities and other Solar companies. First utilities - there are 15 of them represented in the data including LADWP, SCE and SoCal Gas. But there are also utilities from across the country including Duke Energy, Dominion (Virginia) Power, and even the Electric Power Research Institute, which is the think tank for the electric utility industry.
But there are even more solar companies checking us out - certainly a complement of sorts - 16 in all. Some of these are manufacturers, including Canadian Solar, Hanwha, and even SolarEdge! Some are distributors, like Krannich, but most are competitors, ranging from nationals like Vivint to regional players like Sullivan Solar Power. Hey guys, don't be shy, feel free to leave a comment!
Somebody's Watching Me...
Remember that song? Looking into the Government category turned up a few, kinda creepy, surprises. For example, we got visits from a number of military-affiliated sources like the 754th Electronic Systems Group which is located at the Hanscom AFB in Massachusetts, and has the following mission statement:
Deliver integrated information driving war winning decisions by shaping, acquiring, and sustaining warfighting IT capabilities through responsive, adaptive and cost-effective logistics, enterprise services and infrastructure solutions—to fly and fight in air, space and cyberspace.
Yikes! Not sure what that has to do with a website about PV in SoCal, but they visited three different times! Or there is the DoD Network Information Center (four visits, Google them if you are into conspiracy theories!), the Navy Network Information Center (five visits), and the Headquarters USAISC (two visits).
There were also some really cool government sites including CERN, NREL, NASA (though NASA's may have been my daughter!), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - even one hit from the U.S. Senate (welcome to D.C., Senator Harris!).
The largest government category, however are various municipalities, with 27 different towns, cities and counties dropping by, including locals like Pasadena, LA (city and county), Santa Monica, Anaheim, etc. But also some from far away like Boston, San Francisco, and Westchester County.
Various states stopped by as well, including: Washington, D.C. (I know, it's not a state, but it should be, so there), Maine, Maryland, New York, New Mexico, and Utah, to name a few. Fun!
No Profit Here
The non-profit category was very small, but interesting. While there were a handful of churches, including my favorite, Yosemite Church - the setting alone should be inspiring! - the more interesting fact was that the largest sub-category was related to medicals services, including six hospitals! Hey we've never put solar on a hospital, but we would love to help you out!
Which brings us to our final category, schools. 99 of our sources were categorized as school related, with sub-categories of school districts, elementary schools, and colleges. There was only one elementary school in the mix, our client, Chandler School. Interestingly, there were 27 school districts in the data from all over the country ranging from LAUSD to the Cambridge Public Schools.
Our connection to colleges, however, was truly amazing with 70 different schools showing up. Lots of famous names in this list including our neighbor Caltech, USC, UCLA (along with roughly half of the overall UC system!), Stanford, American University (Go Eagles!), Duke, Johns Hopkins, LMU (my alma mater), NYU, Princeton, Rutgers, Notre Dame, University of Utah (my second alma mater!), even Oxford! Wow, I feel smarter already.
Most of these sources provided just one visit - they hit a given page and then left. But some sources were more, shall we say, studious. For example, we only got one hit from Azusa Pacific University (located at the very end of the Gold Line), but they looked at 11 different pages in the three minutes that they were on the site. (Average duration on the site overall was 55 seconds.) The winners for most time on site were Notre Dame (one visit, seven pages, more than 20 minutes) and Colorado State (one visit, five pages, 18 minutes). It is quite rewarding to see that the resource that we have created can have real value for people, especially (we presume here) students.
So that's it - thanks to all who visit this site, we appreciate your time and interest. We hope we will continue to provide a resource that brings you back - well, except for the creepy ones!