KINGSTON — The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) website is the most popular Government website, with page views amounting to more than 550,000 per month.
According to internal analytics tool, Google Analytics, the achievement of 550,000 views represents a major increase over the last few months.
With the increased views, the newly revamped JIS website is now the 17th most visited site by Jamaicans out of some 30 to 40 million sites on the World Wide Web, which are ranked by Alexa.com, a United States-based web information company that collects website traffic statistics used to rank the popularity of websites. This rank makes the JIS website the 3rd most popular Jamaican website on the web.
Speaking with JIS News, Communications Specialist and newspaper columnist, Jean Lowrie-Chin lauds the JIS website. She says the new rating was well deserved. “The JIS website is an important resource and I think it does show, despite all the criticism about the way Jamaica is governed, that the lines of communication are open to the public. People can go to the JIS website and get access to information on all our various ministries, and all the major projects that the Government is involved in,” she notes adding that she is a regular visitor to the JIS site.
Mrs. Lowrie-Chin also mentions the website’s professional and contemporary look, noting that it is very user-friendly and presents “a wonderful positive face of Jamaica."
JIS Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Donna-Marie Rowe, says the Agency’s management team is very proud of this achievement, which she states, fits into the Agency’s strategic plan for 2011 to 2014. She credits the recent success, in part, to the “tremendous work” of the web team over the last few months, noting that the team will be working even harder to make JIS the number one website in the country.
The new-look website was launched in January to make the site more user-friendly, as feedback suggested that users often found the former site difficult to navigate.
“We communicated the challenges to our web team. The search facility was very tedious… we took a lot of that into consideration. We also looked at other websites in order to incorporate best practices in the new design,” the CEO says.
Expressing pleasure about the new rating, the CEO says that one specific feature, which has proven to be quite popular with audiences, is the opportunity it offers visitors to view events that are streamed live.
“We were able to stream the Prime Minister’s town hall meetings live from across the island. We also stream live audio of Jamaica House Live and other events, including the Broadcasting Commission’s Regional Conference, which was streamed across the Caribbean,” she informs.
The CEO says these events, in addition to the recently completed Commission of Enquiry into the handling of the Christopher Coke extradition request, have significantly impacted the site’s popularity. The JIS is also streaming live, the Commission of Enquiry into the collapse of the financial institutions during the 1990s, which is being held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Of significance is the electronic section on the site, where visitors are now able to view past episodes of JIS television and radio programmes. “If persons miss it on the radio and TV they can watch and listen at their own convenience throughout the day from their computers,” Mrs. Rowe points out.
Analysis from Alexa.com further showed that 62 per cent of all visitors to the jis.gov.jm website are located in Jamaica, with the corresponding figure being members of the Diaspora.
“Relative to the overall population of Internet users, its audience tends to be over the age of 45; it also appeals more to higher-income, highly educated women browsing from work,” the Internet company said.
The analysis also showed that visitors to the site spend approximately 69 seconds on each page view and a total of 19 minutes on the site during each visit.
The JIS is considered the first port of call whenever Jamaicans are in search of Government documents or Government information, whether this pertains to policies, programmes or the Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“We’re satisfied that JIS is regarded as that very reliable and credible source of information,” Mrs. Rowe says.
She notes that the Agency makes every effort to upload Government information and documents in a very timely fashion.
In the meantime, Mrs. Rowe says that even as the JIS team works to maintain its current audience, it would also be seeking to attract younger visitors.
Plans are in place to design a homework page that will cater to students from the primary to the tertiary level. "We want to use this opportunity to remind parents and teachers to visit the JIS site to research information about our history and governance."
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter