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Latimes.com in July: No summer slowdown

August 17, 2011 | 12:42 pm

A memo from Managing Editor/Online Jimmy Orr about latimes.com traffic in July:

More explosive growth at latimes.com: We're busting myths (summers and weekends mean slow traffic), we're setting records, and we have seen unparalleled growth for the last five months.

Great Times journalism continued to drive readership in July, with an able assist from the new ways we are creating to engage our SoCal community.  As a result of increasingly aggressive online reporting, posting stories earlier and more frequently, innovations in storytelling and presentation, and the most compelling content online, we once again sit atop the charts for growth among the top five newspaper sites.

ComScore's numbers were released last week, and latimes.com again showed the highest increase in unique visitors, year over year, with an impressive 22.5% showing. On the heels of last month's 22.8% increase (also putting us at No. 1), we’ve leapfrogged the Washington Post and are locked in as the second-most-read newspaper site in the country. While we enjoyed double-digit growth, the Post grew by 1.6%.

In terms of page views, our internal Omniture numbers recorded a 35.2% increase over July 2010 with 185.5 million. That marks the third-highest trafficked month in the history of the site. And it's not about spikes or singular news events – it's about consistency, as supported by charting the days on which we’ve exceeded 5 million page views:

  • 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 exceeded 5 million page views on 24 days.
  • In June 2011, we hit 5 million-plus on 18 days.
  • And last month we hit a record, surpassing 5 million on 25 days.

Where are the readers coming from?

Our growth strategies are paying off:

From search, Google traffic continues to soar – up 65.4% year over year – because we are doing much more real-time reporting and aggressively labeling our content.  After all, if we’re going to write it, why not make it easy for people to find?  Thank you, Amy Hubbard and the entire copy desk team, for the fantastic SEO work.

From the social media world, Facebook traffic is exploding – up 450% year over year.  Thank you, Martin Beck, Lindsay Barnett and Lauren Kozak, and of course the reporters and editors who are also helping their stories get read through engaging with readers via Facebook.

After four consecutive years of declining page views per visit, we've turned it around and are up 7% so far this year.  As we’ve discussed, we’re doing this by committing to the "No Story Left Behind" doctrine (building every story out). It’s really impressive that we’ve moved this number without a redesign.

We’ve increased the number of loyal readers too. Home page traffic has increased by a solid 17% year over year.  This is one of the hardest metrics to move. But the home page team, under the guidance of Megan Garvey, is doing it. "No furniture" is the motto. And it's working.

Where are people going? 

Our blogs, which give us the platform for real-time reporting, are continuing to draw more and more readers. July's 64.2 million page views almost tripled where we were last year at this time. Here are some highlights:

L.A. Now continues to set records. The 11.6 million page views not only represent a new high but also are part of a five-month trend.  Under Shelby Grad’s direction, the blog is averaging more than 2 million more page views per month.  Per Shelby, "The success of L.A. Now is really about Metro reporters taking serious the mantra that they work for a multiplatform news organization.  Great Web coverage is now ingrained in their DNA, just like great print coverage."

We garnered more than 7.1 million page views for our Carmegeddon reporting alone. A beautiful time-lapse presentation of the weekend's events (a.k.a. multimedia storytelling) through Jeff Amlotte's video is worth checking out if you didn't catch it already.

We took some other big steps forward with interactive video, allowing our readers to ask questions of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and transportation officials. The live video discussion was so popular that it temporarily blew up the vendor's servers. Look for more of these (minus the blowups) down the road.  Interactivity and engagement are priorities.

Speaking of engagement, the graphics on the "Inside the Cartel" series, a model collaboration of artist (Raoul Rañoa) and reporter (Rich Marosi), did just that. Russ Stanton called Raoul's work "the best ever," and the four-part series was read by more than 1 million Times' readers in July.  More proof that long-form journalism can and does work on the Web.

Now let's cut to the tale of the tape:

Record-breaking blogs

L.A. Now
Hero Complex
Pop & Hiss
Opinion L.A.
Dodgers Blog
Jacket Copy

Top 10 blogs (the 2-million club)
 
Framework 15,077,572
L.A. Now 11,764,901
Hero Complex 10,044,062
Top of the Ticket 2,875,880
Ministry of Gossip 2,767,677
Politics Now 2,710,894
Technology 2,412,170
Travel 2,149,662
Booster Shots 2,045,882
Show Tracker 2,012,498

Top stories/packages
 
"Harry Potter," Geoff Boucher -- 7.7 million
Carmageddon, L.A. Now -- 7.1 million
"Inside the Cartel," Rich Marosi -- 1.2 million
Yosemite waterfall deaths, L.A. Now -- 1.1 million
Obama's base crumbles, Andrew Malcolm -- 601,108

RELATED:

Why pageviews and engagement are up at latimes.com


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