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Greatest Hits: What Are the Most Popular Sections of the Ed. Department's Website?

We spend a lot of time linking to and visiting the U.S. Department of Education's website, ed.gov. But when those in the general public (i.e. normal people) visit the Education Department's Internet presence, what are they checking out the most?

The Digital Analytics Program at analytics.ed.gov has some answers. In a Feb. 18 blog post, the program's Tim Lowden and others reported that there are now agency-specific dashboards where people can dig into details about how and how much people interact with various federal agencies, including the Education Department.

Thanks to the data the program made available, we were able to see what domains of ed.gov people were visiting the most for a 30-day period ending Feb. 26. Below are the 10 sections of ed.gov getting the most traffic in that time period; hover over each slice of the pie to see the exact number of visits per domain.

One important caveat: The Analytics Program's staffers note that the dashboards spitting out these stats don't necessarily represent all website visits for all agencies. Another important caveat: For technical reasons, we left out both www.ed.gov and www2.ed.gov, both of which finished in the top 10 (at 5th and 4th most visited, respectively), but don't necessarily illuminate the public's more-specific reasons for visiting the site.

The top finisher, studentaid.ed.gov, isn't all that surprising, since student aid is probably the area where students in either K-12 or higher education have the strongest and most direct reason to deal with the Education Department. The National Center for Education Statistics' domain, nces.ed.gov, came in second, perhaps in part due to all the education reporters doing some fact-checking or their own research. It's also worth noting that eric.ed.gov is the Institute for Education Sciences' research look-up, while ies.ed.gov takes you to the main IES landing page.

And what's g5.gov, you ask? It's the grant management website for the Education Department. (Maybe the general public doesn't visit that domain quite so often.)

Some other statistics from ed.gov domains that didn't make the top 10 in the above pie chart:

  • The Office of Educational Technology's domain, tech.ed.gov, which deals with issues like open educational resources receive 24,620 visits, good for 12th place, if you exclude www.ed.gov and www2.ed.gov.
  • nationsreportcard.ed.gov, the domain that contains information about the National Assessment of Educational Progress, got 22,863 visits, good for 13th place.
  • ocrdata.ed.gov, which houses the Office for Civil Rights' data-collection program, came in 18th place, with 5,624 visits.  

If you checked out the dashboard for ed.gov on Feb. 26, you could also see that over the previous 90 days:

  • 7.4 percent of the visits came from outside the United States. 
  • Among visitors from American cities, the largest share of visitors (3.1 percent) came from New York, followed by Washington (2.2 percent), Los Angeles (1.8 percent), and Houston (1.4 percent). 
  • 72 percent of visits to the site came from desktops, while 22 percent came from "mobile" devices and 6 percent came from tablets.
  • There were 31.5 million total visits. 

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