What Are the Most Popular Federal Government Websites?

Many federal employees visit the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website to learn about salaries and wages, career development opportunities, retirement benefits, disability compensation and other information.

However, according to a new site, Analytics USA, the OPM website is far from the most popular government-run website.

The site’s data comes from a unified Google Analytics account for U.S. federal government agencies known as the Digital Analytics Program. It shows how people find, access, and use government services through websites.

Analytics USA does not cover everything the federal government does online, but the Digital Analytics Program does collect Web traffic from almost 300 executive branch government domains across more than 3,800 total websites, including every cabinet department.

For those who are interested in this data, the site clearly states that it is an open source project in the public domain. The website, its data and code are free for anyone to use without restriction. Additionally, the site provides various snapshots of its data already set up to be downloaded in JSON format.

On a recent morning, the Top 10 federal websites based on the number of visits in the previous 30 days were:

1. Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)

It should be little surprise that in the months of March and April, as the tax filing deadline approached, this site received the most visits of any government site.

Under Analytics USA’s “Now” search for “people on a single, specific government page now,” this site’s “Where’s My Refund? ” page occupied the top spot.

2-3. National Weather Service (forecast.weather.gov and weather.gov)

Both URLs go to the same National Weather Service home page. This may indicate how people tend to find websites by using search engines rather than a site’s domain name. For instance, in Google, these sites sit atop the results that are returned when a user types in the query, “forecast weather.” Of course, this site’s popularity may also be attributed to the fact that the National Weather Service provides the data that virtually every media outlet bases its weather report on.

4. USA Jobs (usajobs.gov)

The federal government’s job board provides access to thousands of job opportunities across hundreds of federal agencies and organizations. In light of the government’s plans for increased federal hiring in 2015, USA Jobs is likely to remain a leading web destination for months to come.

5. National Park Service (nps.gov)

As spring begins, it’s no wonder that a large number of people are looking at tourism destinations through the National Park Service site. This site provides access to detailed information about 407 parks, monuments, preserves, historic battlefields and more across the country.

National Parks properties such as Death Valley National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the National Mall in Washington, D.C., welcomed 292.8 million recreational visitors in 2014, the site states.

6. U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (uscis.gov)

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service has a broad mandate to administer and ensure the integrity of the country’s immigration system, grant immigration and citizenship benefits, grant authorization to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis and promote an awareness and understanding of citizenship. Each year, about 680,000 immigrants become naturalized citizens of the U.S. through the USCIS, which likely accounts for this site’s high number of visits.

7-8. Social Security Administration (ssa.gov and socialsecurity.gov)

Everyone in the country at some point of time conducts business with the Social Security Administration (SSA) or one of its 1,400 regional offices, field offices, card centers, processing centers and hearing offices.

The SSA is best known for its retirement benefits and Medicare program. But it also has large programs providing benefits to the disabled, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for workers and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for those whose disability has prevented them from ever working.

9. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (nasa.gov)

Interest remains high in NASA and space exploration as the organization takes its first steps toward a planned manned mission to Mars. The NASA site is also popular for its deep archives of images of deep space and past space missions as well as live video from the International Space Station and coverage of all launches via NASA TV.

10. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa.gov).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the federal agency that includes the National Weather Service as well as:

The NOAA’s reach, which the agency describes as “from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor,” is certainly broad and accounts for its high ranking.