In the first four months of this year focolare.org had 477,687 hits, with 1,422,450 pages visited for an average of 1.54 minutes per page. The typical visitor to focolare.org was between 35 and 54 years of age and tended to visit it on week days, especially Mondays, and do so from the workplace. Younger people, however, were reached by means of social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Google+), with a weekly average of more than 30,000 persons.
This is what is shown by the data collected by three students from the Faculty of Institutional Social Communication of the Santa Croce University, Rome, who chose the official site of the Focolare Movement for their research. Their names are Oleksii Fedorovych, Fr Rastislav Hamráček and Fr Tiago José Síbula da Silva. Introducing their research they say that www.focolare.org was set up in 1998, updated in 2006 and had a complete overhaul in 2011. It then received the WeCa Prize 2011 * in the Institutional Websites category. They say, ‘The general mission of www.focolare.org is to be a place of welcome for everyone and, at the same time, it has the task of giving expression, in dialogue with the world, to the unity and the diversity of those who make up the Focolare family and to typical Focolare events.’
Our visitors. The vast majority of visitors, 44%, are Italian speakers. On average on each visit they looked at 2.98 pages, spending 3.45 minutes. Navigations to the site were more by men than women. But this larger amount of men is a reflection of the fact that in general many more men use the internet. If the fact that people navigate to the site from work rather than from home is linked to GoogleAnalytics’s data on loyalty, it indicates that the site is visited especially during weekdays. Indeed, in the period from the 1 January to 30 March, according to GoogleAnalytics, the day with the largest amount of hits is generally, as we have said, a Monday.
Internet traffic. About half the visitors (48.5% in the period between 1 January and 30 March) came to it via search engines. Of these visits 44.2% came from Google with search terms such as focolare.org, Focolare Movement, www.focolare.org and Focolare. 4 % of the visits originated from media such as mobile phones, iPads or iPhones. A large amount (37.4%) came via Facebook.
Who is behind the site? The study analysed the composition of the editors of focolare.org and spoke of a real workforce with a broad range of editors made up of representatives from various Focolare centres, correspondents in every nation, technical experts, news editors, translators and a fixed team of four people together with a part-time worker for social networking.
Contents and the site’s best page. Looking at the site’s contents and observing its ‘informative and formative character’, the researchers emphasize the site’s ‘consistency’ with ‘the values of the Movement’. Appreciation was expressed because it publishes not only news about the Roman Catholic Church but about all of the Churches, world religions, people of convictions not based on religion and about issues of a social nature that offer insights into life in various parts of the world. In conclusion the page of the ‘Word of Life’ is said to be done well, with its Bible quotation and commentary. ‘This page,’ write the researches, ‘has great formative value and is among the best of the site’s contents, gaining many hits and comments from users.’
* Italian Association of Catholic Webmasters