HotBot ranks GW Web site 14th for searches

GW’s Web site is ranked 14th among college sites in the number of people who searched for it and visited it each month, according to a new report from Lycos’ search engine HotBot.

Deborah Snelgrove, executive director for Student Academic and Support Services Communication and Technology, wrote in an e-mail that the rankings show the effort spent on designing the Web site has paid off.

“Good news for GW,” Snelgrove wrote. “I am delighted for my GW colleagues who have logged a lot of hours on the University site. It is very good news that users like to visit GW online.”

GW bested schools such as Georgetown University, which ranked 17th in searches and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which placed 19th on the list.

Snelgrove wrote that the success of GW’s Web site comes from its diverse content and good integration with the University.

“I would like to think that other site development, site content and links such as the GWired Student Network – which includes Admissions, Student Activities, ResNet and other student services sites developed by SASS Communication – contributed to the overall University Web site ranking,” Snelgrove wrote.

The HotBot search engine, which logs 6.5 million users a month, has been named best search site by PC Communications. PC Communications recorded searches in terms of millions of Web site searches per month. Though the exact number of GW searches is unavailable, the GWired homepage records about 45,000 hits per day, Snelgrove wrote.

GW students have said the Web site is helpful and easy to use.

“I use the Web site all the time,” sophomore Ilana Schwartz said. “I check my e-mail through it, verify personal information on it and look at class information.”

Freshman Amanda Fisher said the Web site helped acclimate her to life at GW.

“I use the Web site at least once a day,” Fisher said. “It is really helpful because it has all of my classes on it and information about what is going on around campus.”

Jonathan Weinberger, a second-year Elliott School of International Affairs graduate student, said he enjoys using GW’s Web site and thinks it is a good resource.

GW’s Web site is a windfall for incoming students, according to GW’s Admissions Office. The Admissions Office places the Web site address in prominent locations in all of its material and promotes the Web site to potential students.

“I use the Web site a lot myself,” Admissions Information Assistant Beth Morrison said. “And when prospective students call looking for more information about GW, I usually suggest the Web site as a great source of information.”

GW’s Web site also helps bring some students to campus who otherwise would not have chosen GW. For Amar Alsobaie, a freshman from Saudi Arabia, the Web site helped him choose between GW and George Mason University.

“I was online comparing the two schools and GW looked better,” Alsobaie said. “It had information about professors and programs that appealed to me.”

Freshman Lauren Silverman agreed the Web site makes it easier for students who do not live near GW to access the school.

“I am from Memphis, Tenn., so I couldn’t really come to visit,” Silverman said. “But, the Web site was great because it gave me an idea of what the campus looks like, who the professors are and what majors are available.”

“I found out what was going on at GW before I came here and now I use the site a great deal,” sophomore Brian Kraft said. “(The Web site) is really good for students. I even filled out my admissions application online.”

Even after all the positive feedback from the Web site, SASS Communication is planning several improvements.

“We are constantly exploring new items and developments to enhance the site and keep information active, current and alive,” Snelgrove wrote.

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