Monday, November 17, 2014

Wildcat of the Year contest a winner

One of the great things about news on the web is that it allows (and can encourage) interaction with readers. Give people a chance to express their opinions about something they're passionate about and they'll reward you with traffic.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Sports Editor Nick Woodard's idea to have readers vote online for a Wildcat athlete of the year would get lots of attention. I didn't expect that it would be the most popular story on so far this month with more than 26,500 page views. That's 5,000 more views than either of October's big stories, the train fatality near campus and the Pocket Points feature.

Here are the top stories so far this month:
1. Wildcat of the Year announcement - 26,582
2.  Feature on Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman - 3,812
3.  Student complain, professor quits class - 2,674
4.  Baseball alumnus nears goal to pay for cancer treatment - 2,512
5.  Campus presidents up for pay raise - 2,260
6.  Out-of-towners attacked at party - 2,196
7. Halloween live Twitter feed - 1,482
8. Student dies of heart failure - 1,332
9. How queer folk can best support allies - 1,229
10. Student dies after two-year cancer battle - 1,185

Another interesting statistic from the November numbers is how many visitors are using the site menus to visit section and subject pages. The O-face, police blotter, opinion columns, opinion blogs, working Wildcat, opinion editorials, arts reviews, Craft Cat and a handful of sports pages attracted more than 2,000 views each in the first half of the month. That's one way of explaining why the "stickiness" of the site, how many pages the average reader looks at on each visit, is 11.82, roughly four times what most professional news sites are attracting.

And that says to me that readers are using much more like readers use print newspapers than websites. They're going to the website to find out what's happening on campus, not just following a social media link to read a specific story.

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