Monday, April 25, 2016

When referrals are down, traffic is down

It wasn't a good week for traffic at

The summary from Quill Engage for April 18-24 shows visits down in both sessions and pageviews. It noted that organic search (people going directly to the website homepage) exceeded referrals (people navigating to the site from another site or social media) for a change.

That's not a good change. It means reporters and the PR team need to do a better job promoting stories.

Here are the five most-viewed stories from last week:

Hidden Gems to Visit When the Weather is Right - 477 page views
Sexually Violent Predator May Move to Chico - 221
Yo-yo Championship is Held in Chico - 206
Chico's Isolation Has Benefits - 196
Man Stabbed in Chico Parking Lot - 153

Sunday, April 24, 2016

New tool for measuring site traffic

I followed a link to a tech podcast last week and heard a description of something called Quill Engage, an analytics tool that takes website data from Google and presents a narrative report. It's great for sorting out what's important from the Google analytics report and comes (free) in monthly and weekly versions.

Here's what report looked like for March. It's essentially the same information I shared on this blog a few weeks ago but also includes some things I didn't see. 

I'll be using this tool on the blog in coming weeks.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Jenice Tupolo named EIC for Fall 2016

Jenice Tupolo, a senior journalism and PR major from Davis, will be next fall's Orion editor-in-chief.
Jenice Tupolo

Jenice is in her third semester at the paper and has worked as a staff writer, breaking news section editor and content managing editor.

She also has been writing the Chico Enterprise-Record's "Starving Student" column this spring and will be an intern at The Sacramento Bee this summer.

Jenice will be interviewing candidates for editorial board positions in the next week or so.

Congratulations, Jenice!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Strike news, opinion boost traffic

Last week's traffic on peaked Tuesday, two  days before the CFA strike was canceled. Click on the chart to see a larger version.
In what was not a surprise, lots of people found their way to last week for news and views about the threatened California Faculty Association strike, which was called off Thursday after negotiators came to a tentative agreement.

What was a surprise was the most popular story of the week: an opinion piece posted Monday by Jeff Guzman that attracted almost 5,000 views in the days before Thursday's contract-settlement announcement. Here's what the analytics looked like for that story:

Notice that 92 percent of the readers came to the website to read that particular story and 91 percent left after reading it (and most really read it; the average time spent on the page was more than six minutes).

I don't have the source of the traffic, but based on those numbers I'm guessing a link was posted on other websites to the editorial and social-media posts caught the eye of people interested in learning more about the causes of the potential walkout by 26,000 teachers.

The Orion staff did an excellent job of tweeting about the settlement as news broke Thursday, and 1,930 people had read the web version of the story by Sunday morning. Here are the numbers:

About 93 percent of those visitors came to to read the story, and about 10 percent of visitors stuck around to read more website content. 

The 20,000+ page views for the week shows again that people will come to when news breaks. The average traffic for March was 13,400 page views a week.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A slow March with a bump at the end

History repeated itself in March, with the predictable slowdown over spring break reducing overall monthly traffic numbers for about 18.5 percent from February. A movie review and a little breaking news late in the month, though, helped the totals.

Here are the numbers for March:
Pageviews - 53,643
Unique users - 24.790
Pages per visit - 1.75

Numbers for The Orion app were down, too. Pageviews were 8,772 compared to 9,008 in February. Downloads kept climbing, though: 1,318 put the app on their smartphones in March, up 72 from the month before.

It's clear both platforms got a traffic bump in the final week of March. Here's what happened, according to Google analytics:

Carly Plemons' review of "10 Cloverfield Lane," a movie that critics loved but Carly not so much, was the best-viewed story of the month with 6.652 views. It wasn't posted until March 26, so it was responsible for most of the end-of-month gains. The biggest chunk of its readers (87 percent) came to via a Google search.

Traffic for two stories about Chico State's new president, Gayle Hutchinson, were also posted that week, as were stories about the potential faculty strike: one about a fact-finders report (383 views) and one about students marching in support of faculty (325 views). Both were posted on March 28.

Here are the five most-viewed stories on the website for March:
1. Second half of "10 Cloverfield Lane" disappoints - 6,652 page views
2. Lake Oroville water level rises to the occasion - 2,499
3. First openly gay CSU president "a step in the right direction" -  717
4. Students dissatisfied with health center - 646
5. Stop hating on greatness (sports column about Steph Curry) - 579