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TAMU Webmaster's Blog

Information and insight from the A&M Webmasters

March Madness – Lessons Learned, Part 2

April 7th, 2011 by Erick Beck

Last time I talked about the games leading up to the championship game. For us there was no large, measurable increase in traffic until the day of the championship. This is where there is a real difference in the impact from the men’s tournament and the women’s game. Having talked to web offices in other schools, increases in web visits there are reportedly noticeable by the Sweet-16 round.

On Tuesday we finally experienced a significant increase in overall traffic. According to Google Analytics (i.e. actual numbers are probably slightly higher than indicated here) experienced 107,400 page views on 54,000 visits. This represents a slightly more than 25% increase over normal Tuesday traffic. The skew of what visitors were looking for was different too – the Athletics page was by far the most popular interior page, while it is normally fourth or fifth. Overall numbers would have likely been considerably higher, but as soon as the game was over I pointed the Athletics link away from our own page and over to Aggie Athletics because they had more up to date information.

The calendar reached almost double its previous high in numbers of visitors. About half of this was for the game itself, and half was for the welcome-home event planned for the team the next day. We did not immediately feature the latter link on the university website, so visitors were by this time actively reading the calendar for related events.

Because we weren’t sure what kind of traffic to expect, we talked to CIS administrators on Monday and decided to add some extra insurance to make sure we didn’t fail. The setup that they developed for made it relatively simple to add a few more virtual nodes behind the scenes to pick up any additional load that might hit. Their solution worked beautifully, and even when demand was peaking the machines never slowed down or presented a problem. (Many thanks for a job well done!)

From a technical standpoint I think our response was a success, particularly since this was our first time experiencing this sort of thing and we didn’t know exactly what to expect. I think our biggest problems were on the content side. More on that next time…

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Thursday, April 7th, 2011
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