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    Trade Forum Online - Your Feedback, Our Views


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2006

    Last year, we reoriented both the print and the online versions of Trade Forum magazine to reflect our stronger focus on advocacy for trade. We wanted to know what you, our readers, thought about our new approach. Seeking a low-cost way to understand your views, we looked closely at our site statistics and at a report on who links to Trade Forum. We also launched an online reader survey.

    The results confirm that we are moving in the right direction and give us ideas for areas we can improve.

    The overall picture is a positive one. Visits are increasing steadily. This, coupled with your survey responses, tells us that you appreciate the content, the language choice, the e-mail alert service and the new groupings of information by theme, country or product. From the survey, we were pleased to see how many people aged under 35 responded and how many visitors took the time to comment, particularly in Latin America.

    These signs point to diverse readers with an interest in trade development. There is scope for more dialogue and interaction among them. In line with our name and mandate as a trade "forum", we'd like to take more steps to connect our readers that share this common interest.

    Connecting a trade development community

    • Wide range. Our readers come from a wide range of professional and academic backgrounds. We receive traffic from 300 sites that link to Trade Forum. They range from major institutions such as the World Bank and World Trade Organization, to national trade promotion organizations, business associations and universities. Our survey respondents reflect this range. Most were from the business sector (37%), followed by academia (29%). The remaining third came from government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations and the media.
    • Repeat visitors. Around 40% of survey respondents visit the magazine site at least once a month. Readers also recommend it to their contacts: 11% of visitors took up a colleague's recommendation and 14% followed a link from other trade-related web sites.
    •  Developing countries. Our statistics consistently show that at around 30%, the proportion of visitors from developing countries is higher than average for Internet users. Readers from Spanish-speaking developing countries are especially numerous. We also found that the part of the site in Russian, albeit small, is well used.
    • Younger people. Almost 60% of the survey participants were under the age of 35, suggesting a younger audience of project managers, technical staff and business students for the online magazine, compared to the senior executives who typically receive print copies. Those aged 36 to 55 made up 35% of respondents.
    • Specific information. Product and market information is popular. So is broader information on trade development topics such as trade in services, women in the economy and e-trade.

    Next steps

    We will:

    •  upgrade the thematic sections to make them easier to navigate;
    • continue to present more web-only features, such as links to relevant sites; and
    • consider more interactive features, such as discussions or comments related to articles.

    Survey highlights

    Three hundred readers, from a range of ages, occupations and countries, volunteered their opinions between September and December 2005, in a survey on Trade Forum online. While they are a small sample of our total readers, their feedback matches our independent analysis of statistics of how visitors use our site and provides food for thought.

    • 37% visitors from business; 29% from academia; 13% in government; 10% from international organizations and NGOs.
    • 60% are under 35.
    • 37% use it for work; 37% for their studies.
    • Most prefer to look for articles by theme.
    • Most (77%) found it easy or very easy to navigate.
    • 94% found the information useful; 66% found it excellent or very useful.

    Read more about the Trade Forum online survey results athttp://www.tradeforum.org/survey
    Writers: Prema de Sousa, Natalie Domeisen, ITC
    Online survey manager: Sung-Ah Lee.Sign up for free e-mail alerts at: http://www.tradeforum.org/alerts