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Latimes.com in June: 13 blogs top 1 million page views

July 20, 2011 | 11:31 am

A memo from Managing Editor/Online Jimmy Orr:

The June 2011 traffic numbers on latimes.com help disprove the myth that summer months are a slow time online.  In fact, there’s a huge audience in the summer (and on weekends), and the 160,877,197 page views recorded in June mark the third-most-trafficked month in the history of the site.

If this is starting to sound repetitive, it is.  The last four months have been the highest-trafficked four months since we began recording traffic numbers.

Not only do our internal numbers show a 20% increase in page views over June 2010, but Nielsen reports that we were the only top-five newspaper site to record an increase last month in unique visitors year over year.  While we were up 5.4%, the four others all saw decreases, with the New York Times dropping 18.8%, USA Today plunging 22.1%, the Washington Post down 9.0%, and the WSJ decreasing by 20.5%.
Overall, Nielsen ranked us second in uniques of the top five.  This marks twice in the last four months that we’ve been in this spot.  You have to go back to June 2009 to find the last time we were ranked this high.

Nielsen's not alone.  ComScore recorded a 22.8% increase in uniques for latimes.com, the highest of the top five newspaper sites. 

The encouraging news, as I mentioned last month, is that we're getting there in a balanced way.  Spikes -- singular news events -- aren't responsible for the increase.  Rather, we're reaching more visitors day after day.

These numbers highlight it the best:

  • In 2009, we averaged 3 days per month when we exceeded 5 million page views.
  • In 2010, we averaged 3.8 days of topping 5 million page views.
  • In March 2011, we surpassed 5 million page views on 17 days.
  • In April 2011, we topped 5 million page views again on 17 days.
  • In May 2011, we surpassed 5 million page views on 24 days.
  • And this past month, we hit 5 million-plus on 18 days.

What are we doing differently?

More real-time reporting equals immediacy and helps cement latimes.com's "must read" status.  An increased regularity of blog posts has continued sitewide and has a direct corollary to drawing more readers.  Nowhere is this more evident than with Politics Now.  Jim Oliphant and Mike Memoli are leading the way in the D.C. bureau, and once again their readership numbers have eclipsed their previous best.

We've moved away from updating stories, opting to write new posts with updated information.  Shelby Grad and the gang at L.A. Now have led this charge.

We're making sure that all stories are built out (with photos and related items on every story).  No dead-ends.  We're calling it "No Story Left Behind." The idea is to keep visitors on the site by showing them other stories and content they might like to see.  It's worth the extra minute to make sure the page is built out.  Need some quick tips?  Ask Ministry of Gossip's Christie D'Zurilla.  Christie, by the way, has almost surpassed her total 2010 numbers, and it's only July!

We're much stronger in the social media arena:  Kudos to Martin Beck and Lindsay Barnett.  Facebook referral traffic has doubled (year over year).  We've put Facebook Comments on more than 50% of the site, and we're not done.

We've rolled out the "no furniture" initiative on the home page.  If we keep something on the site for too long, it looks like furniture and will be ignored by our readers.  Therefore, not only is the main photo changing more frequently, but new stories are continually rotated in and out.   

Much stronger adherence to SEO: Google traffic has increased by 41% year over year (thanks to SEO-focused bloggers and our tireless copy desk editors).  Much thanks also to Paul Olund, who is working under the hood to ensure that our site is being properly crawled.  And with Amy Hubbard just taking over as SEO chief, we'll see even these numbers increase. 

Records fall

In terms of records, June saw a lot of them fall.  For the first time, 13 of our blogs topped 1 million page views.  Consider this:  A year ago, only four blogs surpassed that mark.  Six of our blogs hit records last month.  And June 2011's overall blog traffic came within only a few thousand of doubling the June 2010 effort.

Long-form journalism

One last note before the tale of the tape:  These monthly memos quite frequently focus on our online-only efforts.  But once again, as we've reported in past months, the significant long-form journalism that is a hallmark of The Times also produces many of our top-trafficked pieces on the website.

Christopher Goffard's riveting two-part series recounting the ordeal of a man falsely accused of viciously attacking the mother of his young son took top honors among the most-viewed stories in June 2011.  By the way, social media played a big, big role in this. Reddit.com accounted for the overwhelming majority of the readers to this series. 

That probably would not have happened, however, had Deputy Editor for Online Megan Garvey not spent extra time prepping the story for the online audience.  If you make it easier for visitors to read the story, they will.  Readability is something we’ll be focusing on a lot in the near future, and, as we saw in this example, it will pay off.

Now, the numbers ...

Record-breaking blogs

Politics Now
Technology
Hero Complex
Pop & Hiss
Jacket Copy
Opinion L.A.

Top 13 blogs

L.A. Now:  7,874,283
Framework:  5,091,288
Politics Now:  3,056,614
Top of the Ticket:  3,014,139
Ministry of Gossip:  2,616,833
Technology:  2,582,105
Hero Complex:  2,309,200
Show Tracker:  2,295,343
Travel:  1,954,955
Booster Shots:  1,460,873
Lakers:  1,274,079
Fabulous Forum:  1,216,912
Pop & Hiss:  1,016,557

Top blog posts/articles

1.  Could this be happening? A man’s nightmare made real (Christopher Goffard) – 968,107
2.  In assault case, the puzzle pieces don’t fit (Christopher Goffard) – 808,959
3.  California tells online retailers to start collecting sales taxes from customers (Marc Lifsher) – 462,349
4.  You know how Sarah Palin said Paul Revere warned the British? (Andrew Malcolm) – 370,039
5.  Ryan Dunn, 'Jackass' star, dead at 34 (Yvonne Villarreal) – 339,663


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