Sunday, May 20, 2018

Spring 2018 staff photo

The Orion staff group photo -- May 16, 2018 -- Kendall Hall. Photo by Caitlyn Young. (Click to see a larger image.)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Website traffic rebounds spring semester

It's hard to tease out what might be happening to app traffic. Some possibilities:
• works better on mobile devices than it did a couple of years ago, so viewers going to the website
• the staff did a better job of sending push notices from the app early on, which brought more people to the platform
• early adapters who were enthusiastic users have now graduated and don't use the app
• adding new users isn't keeping up with the loss of old users
• the recent redesign isn't as easy to use or useful as the original.

Whatever the reason, it would be a good idea to take a close look at the app to see how it could be improved and promoted next year.

Web traffic as a whole lacks the big viral stories that pushed traffic so high last spring. You can't dictate breaking news, which is usually the big driver of Orion views, but stepping up the paper's social media game (poor all semester) would be one way to drive more traffic.

This semester's bounce rate -- the percentage of visitors who view a single website page and then navigate away from the site -- got slightly worse. They were much worse than last spring but vastly better than Spring 2016.

Spring 2018 - 28.88 percent
Fall 2017 -  25.25 percent
Spring 2017 - 18.13 percent
Spring 2016 -- 80.41 percent

How does that compare to other news sites?

According to, a blog that focuses on web traffic strategies, is doing an outstanding job of keeping viewers once they navigate to the website compared to other news sites. I have no idea what "minimum bounce rate" means. Maybe it's what the best sites report.
This includes websites that have an affiliate news station and those simply reporting news online.
  • Minimum Bounce Rate – 25%
  • Maximum Bounce Rate – 81.4%
  • Average Bounce Rate – 55.56%
So, why do news and media sites have such high bounce rates? Many people will take a look at the headlines, decide they don’t want or need to look any further, and leave the page. To lower the bounce rates on these pages, you need to ensure that your headlines are interesting and will pull the reader into the story.
Here's a more detailed discussion about bounce rates on news sites and what to keep in mind when you compare numbers.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Orion Awards - Spring 2018

The Orion editors announce winners of spring semester's Orion Awards Wednesday evening at Selvester's Cafe on campus. (Click to see a slideshow)
The winners of the Spring 2018 Orion Awards are:
Copy Editor: Robin Cripe
Sports Reporter: Andrew Baumgartner 
Arts Writer: Ulises Duenas
News Reporter Mat Miranda
Breaking News Reporter: Josh Cozine
Opinion Writer: Karen Limones
Multimedia Journalist: Kate Angeles
PR Practitioner: Erien Matsueda
Section Editor: Alex Grant
Rookie of the Semester: Austin Schreiber
Sunshine Award: Jaime Munoz
Orion Award: Josh Cozine

Congratulations everyone!

Here's this semester's Orion T-shirt

Friday, May 11, 2018

Fall 2018 Editorial Board Named

Orion Editor-in-Chief Julia Maldonado has named her editorial board for fall semester.

Managing Editor: Alex Grant
Breaking News Editor: Josh Cozine
Enterprise News Editor: Mathew Miranda
Arts and Entertainment Editor: Natalie Hanson
Opinion Editor: Karen Limones
Sports Editor: Andrew Baumgartner
Multimedia Editor: Caitlyn Young
Chief Copy Editor: Katya Villegas
Social Media Director: Nicole Camarda
Art Director: Sergio Delgado


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April traffic was way up

Source: Google Analytics
Traffic on continued to recover in April behind a strong news effort and visits generated by Google searches for Andre the Giant, Coachella and gay men's bodies.

The number of times someone navigated to the website was up 1,568 visits, and pageviews jumped a whopping 57 percent, from 57,854 in March to 90,824 in April.

The most encouraging number, though, was the improvement in bounce rate, the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the website after viewing one story. In March, that number was 56 percent. In April, it was down to 5.6 percent. I speculated last month that changing up the homepage design might help improve bounce rate, and this is evidence that's true.

Numbers are still down from a year ago. This chart compares this month to last month and April of last year.

When I dug deeper into Google analytics, I saw that the top 10 stories from April 2017 all had more than 2,000 pageviews. Last month, only half of the top 10 had even 1,000 page views.

Some of that loss of viewership can be attributed to poor social media performance. A year ago, more than a third of the visits to came from a social-media referral, primarily Facebook. Here's the comparison:
April 2017 - 37.7%
April 2018 - 15%
March 2018 - 16%

Here are the top 10 most viewed stories for April:
Andre the Giant review - 1,845 pageviews
Coachella is not worth it ( a two-year-old column) - 1,394
Student dies unexpectedly - 1,357
Chico State's model U.N. team ranks among the best - 1,058
Honor society email scam preys on the weak (Fall 2017) - 1,029
Proposed fee increases could initially cost students up to $380 a year - 853
Guide to gay men's body types (a three-year-old column) - 789
AS election candidates argue their cases for office - 680
AS 2018 election results announced - 655
President Hutchinson announces voting results on proposed fee increases - 616