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Creating a simple library website (2021)

Use these resources to build a simple, easy to maintain, website for your library.


Creating a website is an accomplishment. It is not a task that stays done. This section makes the case that measuring usage is an important activity to help keep your website fresh, your visitors informed, your staff motivated and your funders convinced that keeping a website updated is worth staff time. We'll also suggest what to measure, suggest how to measure and then USE the statistics you collect. 

Why Measure?

Measuring traffic and what content is being used can help you:

  • To see whether your content is meeting user needs
  • To see what proportion of your visitors are using mobile devices
  • To which pages aren’t so popular
  • To see whether the people that use your website are in/near your service area

What to Measure?

Statistics may be included with your web platform, especially if you use a website builder. Or you might use a 3rd party package like Google Analytics or Matomo Analytics. Either way, your web stats package will generate a LOT of data in many different categories. To get started, we suggest you follow these measures on a monthly basis:

  • Visitors
    • Number of visits - How many times your site was visited. Different stat packages will define a "visit" differently.
    • Unique visitors - The number of distinct visitors/visiting devices. One visitor might be responsible for many site visits.
    • Visitors by locations - This is an imperfect measure as the web doesn't always know where users really are, but you can use this to discover international or out-of-state usage. 
    • Traffic by device - Shows you how much of your use comes from desktops vs phones and other mobile devices.
    • Referring sites - Are people coming directly to your website or did they click elsewhere to get to you? This measure tells you.
  • Content
    • Page popularity - Tells you which content on your site gets heavy use. Or is very lonely.
    • Bounce Rate - Percentage of time leave your website after looking at one page.
      • When high bounce rate is good: When someone visits your home page and finds the hours or phone number they wanted, and leave.
      • When high bounce rate is BAD: When someone visits your page of tutorials and leaves without clicking on anything else.
    • Search terms - Some stats packages show the search terms that bring people to your site or what they're looking for. 

Acting on your Statistics

Once you've collected statistics for a few months, you're in a position to take some actions. Here are some ideas for turning statistics into action:

  • Content Ideas
    • Eliminate pages that aren't getting visited at least once a month.
    • Build new pages if search terms suggest a topic to you.
    • If there's a page you think visitors should LOVE but seldom visit, start asking patrons for their opinions.
    • If the "bounce rate" for a "gate keeper" (leads to other content on your site) page is high, consider rewriting that page to let visitors know what they can find.  
  • Visitor Ideas
    • If your traffic shows most visits coming from mobile devices, focus on simplifying your web pages and make sure THE most important part of a given page is at the top where phones will see it.
    • If most of your visits are coming from outside your service area, think about why that might be happening.
    • If your site gets a lot of referring sites who are in your service area, consider them potential partners. 

Where do You Find Your Measures?

Where statistics are found depends on your web platform. In the build section of this guide I focused on Wix and WordPress, so I offer these paths to stats:


For Wix websites, go to your site dashboard, then:

Analytics & Reports --> Reports, then 


  • Traffic over time (for site visits)
  • Traffic by location (for where visitors are coming from) - be aware some locations may be off
  • Traffic by first page viewed Traffic by device (See how much of your use is from mobile devices)
  • Referral by site (See who is linking to you)


  • Page visits - Which of your pages are popular? Which ones are languishing?

For more on using Wix statistics, see their Wix Analytics page and be sure to scroll down to their FAQ. 


For WordPress:

  1. Click on My Site(s).
  2. If you have more than one site, click on Switch Site to select the site you want to view the stats for.
  3. Click on Stats to view your site stats.

I recommend looking at these statistics:

  • Visitors - For overall people who come to your site
  • Views by country - See where your site is appealing. 
  • Referrers - See who is linking to your site
  • Posts and pages - See what content on your site is hot. Or is lonely.
  • Search engine terms - Terms used on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines that were used to bring visitors to your site. 
  • Clicks - According to WordPress, "This stat counts the number of times your readers have clicked on external links that appear on your site." - You may find this useful for deciding whether SLED links and resource links and actually getting used.  

For more on using WordPress statistics, see the WordPress stats support page.

3rd party web statistics packages

For most small libraries, I think the stats that come with your website builder will be fine. But if you'd like to dig deeper, sometimes at a hit to visitor privacy, you could use a third party package. If you're using a website builder service like Wix or, as of this writing a "third party package" seems to mean Google Analytics. Google analytics itself is free. Your web platform may require a paid subscription. 

Using Google Analytics with Wix and WordPress