Leading article of March 2007. The assessment of a first year: 45.000 visits, 11.000 downloaded texts

This site was opened in March 2006. What stock of this first year can one take? The frequentation of the site progressed constantly and it reached in February 262 daily visits on average. In one year, 32.249 visitors and 45.372 visits are recorded (excluded the visits of the robots of indexing). The visitors opened 185.729 pages and downloaded 11.078 copies of texts.

However, the preceding results must be interpreted by distinguishing several types of visit. Although it is not possible to build a satisfactory typology of the visitors in spite of the abundant available statistics, because the variables are not crossed between them, one can nevertheless distinguish at least three main categories of visits according to their duration. The first, by far most important, gathers the visitors connected during less than 30 seconds. They effect 76% of the visits. One can suppose that they are mainly visitors who click quickly on the first twenties or thirty sites suggested by their search engine. Probably, they look at the page which they reached, before passing immediatly to another site. There are also those which reach references, still many, without page of presentation and without downloadable text. It is the case for 64% of the references, one year after the opening of the site.

The second category is the category of connections lasting 30 seconds to 5 minutes. They account for 13% of the total. One imagines visitors who, starting from the page which they reached, navigate towards other pages, traversing them quickly, stopping on some, possibly printing them and downloading at least one text.

The connections that last 5 minutes to more than one hour (that is to say 11%, of which 4% more than 30 minutes) must correspond to visitors which were interested by the contents of the site, even by its design, and which took time to visit it and to download the texts that could be useful for them.

One can thus estimate at 25% the visitors who found in the site what they sought, in whole or part, even beyond: in one year 8.000 people approximately opened on average, during each of their visit, ten pages and download six texts. The opened pages and the downloaded texts were very varied: 199 pages and texts different in February for example. Let us note moreover that 32% of the visitors classify the site in their "favourites", to have the possibility to return to the site more easily and it necessary at greater length. Besides, 39% are connected to the site by directly putting its URL in the bar of address of their software of navigation, without using a search engine (54%) or passing by another site advising it (7%). The "fidelity" of the visitors to the site is not known beyond one month. It is known only that on average one visitor out of three connects second once in the month. Some use RSS to be alerted changes.

So the frequentation and the interest for the site appear satisfactory. Texts little diffused or become untraceable found new readers. Recently written texts or documents of investigation in progress could be immediately are also at visitors’ disposal.

Probably the increasing frequentation results from the permanent enrichment of the site by new texts, formerly or recently written, in French or in other languages. At the 28.02.2007, 186 references, out of 500 approximately, were documented by a page of presentation and had 180 downloadable texts, so more or les the third. The progressive translation of some pages of presentation in English, but also sometimes in Spanish, German, Italian or Portuguese, contributed certainly to increase the number of the readers. The referencing of the site in very popular webgates, like Liens-socio, or in other sites (19 are known) probably also caused curiosity.

But the relatively significant number of read pages and of downloaded texts was not accompanied by the sending of comments. Is the constraint "to be registered" dissuasive? 202 visitors in spite of did it... but none them sent remarks! Of course the site is not a "blog" dealing with the late news, on which all can want to give its opinion. When it is possible to launch the heading "Chronicles" and "Proposals for a cooperative research", some readers perhaps will react. For the texts of research, a form of incentive is to be found.