Saturday, September 17, 2011

Start-up Journal: Where Do Hits Come From?

I attended an event at WHYY the other day where they discussed their new operation, Newsworks. It's a collaborative effort that brings together around 20 different regional journalistic outlets under one umbrella.

Over the first year of operation, they say they've had many successes and failures. The one thing that stood out to me most was that only 13 percent of their audience found content on Newsworks by going through the home page. The rest of the hits came from people who were led to the site via facebook, twitter, search engines and other links.

I just went through our numbers from JUMP. Since the March launch, we have 34,586 total hits. Only 10,655 went through the home page. That means the actual website draws only about 31 percent of the audience. We've had 7,767 hits (22 percent of our total hits) through facebook. Our twitter hits are only at 973.

What are the ramifications of this?

• Well, it makes me realize that I probably don't need to worry about updating the website every day. Two-thirds of our audience aren't even seeing the home page.
• This makes me think that I should be taking advantage of all our online content, not just the newest stuff. I should post and re-post all the old stories all over the place (especially on facebook), as the website really is just a marketing tool for the print magazine.
Twitter blows as an audience generator. It's fine for getting our name out there, so we'll continue with it. But twitter followers don't seem that interested in info beyond 140 characters.

• Most importantly, all of this makes me realize that the web is not a content-generator friendly medium. It is fantastic for users - they can find whatever info they want, whenever they want. But the content-producers are working in a void (and not making money online).

• This reaffirms my commitment to print. The Internet, I think, actually devalues content by nature of requiring so much of it. Print is permanent (or at least lasting) and therefore valuable.

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