theorion.com came back from the stratosphere last month to what appears to be a new normal of between 800,000 and 900,000 page views.
Of course, 887,591 pages still a great number. It shows that The Orion website has established a level of readership equal to newspaper websites at much bigger campuses.
The sports section's interactive feature asking readers to vote for a Chico State athlete of the year was by far the most popular destination of the month (and year), drawing 53,250 page views, 1,709 of them from links outside theorion.com, according to statistics from the paper's web hosting service, BlueHost.
Only two other pages -- Ernesto Rivera's Q&A with Sierra Nevada Brewery founder Ken Grossman and Maddie Holmes' news story about bullying allegations against campus administrators -- attracted more than 4,000 views. The good news in that statistic is that general section pages are drawing strong and steady readership, which means people are coming to the website to discover the news much more often than they're following links to get there. The 11.54-average-pages-per-visit stickiness of the website provides more evidence that that's the case.
Also, Facebook referrals accounted for about 12,000 of the month's 76,861 visits, or just 15 percent of traffic. That statistic has a positive side, too: The site has lots of room to attract more readers with a stronger social-media effort.
Congratulations to everyone on the staff! Compared to a year ago, theorion.com has almost tripled its audience, from 306,000 monthly page views to 887,600.