US government website tracks the numbers

June 4, 2021
by Mark Ollig

I recently visited the US federal government’s analytics website.

This website uses a digital analytical software program by Google to provide up-to-the-minute data for more than 2,000 US government websites.

According to the analytics website, its data provides a window into people’s interaction with the government online. It assists government agencies in understanding how people find, access, and use government services.

It is early Tuesday morning, and the US government’s analytics website’s homepage posted “245,463 people on government websites now,” denoting the current tracking number of real-time user connections to government websites.

The number does not remain static on the homepage. It updates in real-time.

Using my smartphone’s stopwatch app, I waited until the total number changed and then pressed the start button.

After 60 seconds, the total count changed – the numbers were automatically refreshing every minute.

Under the website’s Visits Today label, are shown 24 bar graphs for each hour of the day.

Hovering your mouse cursor over one of the bar graphs will display the number of visitors within that hour.

On the web page’s right side, a continuously updated list of the top 20 most-visited US government websites/webpages is maintained, including current real-time visits and total visitor numbers from the last seven or 30 days.

These numbers are updated every minute, and added to the archive of stored visit totals to the website.

As of this writing, the number-one visited web location during the last seven days, with 48,565,819 visitors, is the USPS (United States Postal Service) Tracking Results web page http://tools.usps.com. During the past 30 days, there were nearly 241 million visits made to this site.

Currently, the USPS Tracking Results webpage shows 23,027 active users.

These analytics provide an inside look, in real-time, at the number of people interacting within the federal government’s online public department and agency websites.

Once again, looking at the total number of folks currently using government websites, I noted it had jumped to 311,253.

Devices primarily used to access the visitor-tracked government websites are mobile, accounting for 57%, followed by desktop devices, at 41%.

The top web browser used for accessing the analytics website is Google Chrome, with 49.2%; Apple Safari, at 35.1%; Microsoft Edge, at 5.1%; and Mozilla Firefox, at 2.6%.

The top three computing operating systems used to access the website are Apple’s iOS, 34.1%; Microsoft Windows, 29.7%; and Google’s Android, at 24.6%.

Other statistical data includes the visitor percentage breakdown of US city and global country locations.

Accumulated visitor numbers and activity data from thousands of US government websites are stored on this analytics website and are downloadable at https://analytics.usa.gov/data/sites.csv.

I downloaded and opened one of the CSV (comma-separated values) files using my Excel spreadsheet program.

The spreadsheet shows each website location, along with its government branch name or department affiliation.

This spreadsheet file would make an excellent reference for looking up particular government department’s or agency’s names, including its website location.

One of the many thousands of web pages on the download file includes a Minnesota location: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/mn/home. It is from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service website, http://www.nrcs.usda.gov.

I smiled while looking under column A on line 2,153 of the spreadsheet, which reads: https://moneyfactory.gov.

It turns out the “money factory” website is for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and belongs to the US Department of Treasury.

Anyone can obtain the real-time JavaScript Object Notation active visitor time-stamp data contents at https://analytics.usa.gov/data/live/realtime.json.

The analytics program does not track anyone’s personal information. All visitor internet addresses are anonymized.

The US government analytic website is at https://analytics.usa.gov.

You will find an A to Z website index of federal US government departments and agencies at https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies. It also contains 50 pages of Minnesota-related state government sites; here’s a shortened link for them: https://bit.ly/3fyW0Vh.

During the last 90 days, people (and likely some bots) worldwide made 6.41 billion visits to various US government websites.

As I finish this column, there are now 454,903 people active on US government websites.

It is past 10 a.m., so I imagine more folks across the time zones are well into their second or third cup of coffee and are logging in.

Have a pleasant week.

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