Friday, May 1, 2015

Lack of big news story hurts traffic in April

Traffic was down at in April.


I think it's because the website had little breaking news, the Orion's biggest audience grabber.

The top story of the month -- 5,712 views -- was a feature written at the beginning of March about faculty at Chico State whose hobby is running. I'm guessing there's a Facebook post out there that's still bouncing around and driving traffic to the website or students are Googling their professors and that story is coming up.

The next most popular story, a report about a memorial service for a student who died in a car accident, had half as many views.

The good news about April's numbers is that viewers are still sticking around to read lots of stories (about six per visit) once they enter the site. That's about twice the average for even the best news sites.

Here are the April numbers and how they compare to a year ago:
Unique visitors: 35,641 compared to 20,004 in April 2014
Visits: 100,560 -> 53,073
Pages views: 596,610 -> 687,672
Pages per visit: 5.92 -> 12.95
So, overall its clear about twice as many people are using the website than there were a year ago, but the crazy stickiness of has been cut in half.

That's consistent with what the traffic numbers show about the most popular pages on the site. After the running story, the top pages visited are the section pages, in this order:
Police blotter
Features/The O-Face
A year before, individual stories got more traffic than any single section page.

Here are the top stories for April 2015:
Chico State faculty hit the ground running - 5,712 page views
AS election package - 3,431
Memorial held for student who died in fatal car accident - 2,880
An experience to rival Pink Floyd - 2,864
Raiders take shrewd free-agency approach - 1,830
Designing sound in the zone - 1,711
Snapchat features red Solo cup - 1,464
The Pink Floyd Experience to Perform in Chico - 1,411
Why America should legalize prostitution - 1,153
Survivor rebuilds life after battling lyme disease - 1,121

Compare those to the top traffic generator of 2015, the death of a professor in his office on campus,  with 12,111 views.

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