Top newspaper Web sites ranked by unique visitors for the month of October.
Top newspaper Web sites ranked by unique visitors for the month of October.
Average time spent per person: 40 minutes Nytimes.com consistently ranks number one for unique visitors, according to Nielsen. That number has jumped 16.3 percent from a year ago. The site, which is free, includes all the content of the paper’s print version, as well as a searchable Classifieds section. Popular headlines included “Following the Script: Obama, McCain and ‘The West Wing,’” “Growing Doubts on Palin Take a Toll” and “Women Buying Health Policies Pay a Penalty.” Nytimes.com launched in 1996, and was redesigned in 2006, featuring easier navigation and enhanced sections, such as Travel, Automobiles and Real Estate. In September, nytimes.com started a new social network, TimesPeople. The network connects the Times’ readers and provides them with a way to share their thoughts and recommendations about the site’s content with other readers.
Average time spent: 14 minutes, 52 seconds Washingtonpost.com, which launched in June 1996, has seen its unique visitor numbers rise 42.6 percent since last October. The Web site is part of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), a subsidiary of The Washington Post Co. that is based in Arlington, Va. Other sites under the interactive umbrella include newsweek.com, Slate.com, budgettravel.com, Sprig.com and TheRoot.com. “Most Viewed” and “Most Commented On” articles in October included “An ‘Idiot’ Wind: John McCain’s Latest Attempt to Link Barack Obama to Extremism,” “Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations” “and “Hank Paulson’s $125 Billion Mistake.” At the end of October, the site launched “TimeSpace Election,” a presidential election map and time line that featured cutting-edge technology to bring all of the site’s coverage onto one, easy-to-navigate page.
Average time spent: 19 minutes, 31 seconds A highly publicized redesign launched in March 2007, and the new look and feel of the site, took user participation and social networking in a newspaper Web site to a new level. Usatoday.com became an interactive hub, “packed with user-generated content, videos, blogs and reviews,” noted Bizreport.com. “Registered users can create personal profiles, ‘friend’ others, interact with USA Today journalists and comment on content.” The redesign may be helping to boost the site’s unique visitors — up 20.2 percent since October 2007. “It is also gratifying traffic is increasing as users of the site embrace the many new offerings,” said Jeff Webber, publisher of usatoday.com and senior vice president, advertising for USA Today.
Average time spent: 9 minutes The Los Angeles Times Web site recorded a 65.9 percent rise in unique hits from a year ago — the biggest jump among the top 10. In 1999, the Times unveiled a redesigned Web site that provides quicker access to breaking news coverage, and to local, state, national and international news. The most-viewed and e-mailed headlines in October included: “Bush’s Booby Traps for Obama,” “Sarah Palin Baseball Comment Draws Boos in Erie, Pa.” and “Gay Married Couples Face Legal Limbo if Prop. 8 Passes.” “Latimes.com keeps getting better at SEO [search engine optimization], which means our stories are ranking higher in Google and other search engines,” Executive Editor/Interactive Meredith Artley wrote in a staff memo in August. This month, the site is likely to get a boost from coverage of wildfires in Southern California.
Average time spent: 13 minutes, 34 seconds The Wall Street Journal online relaunched in September. During the past year, the site’s unique visitor numbers climbed 51.9 percent. Gordon McLeod, president of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, told PaidContent.org, “There is no change of business model, no change of strategy.” Instead, the site is a “technological and cosmetic overhaul after six years on the same platform, reflecting in no small part the move from a wsj.com site primarily aimed at paid subscribers to the WSJ Digital Network designed for nonsubs as well.” In September, owner Rupert Murdoch said at a Goldman Sachs conference that he anticipated wsj.com’s online subscription revenue to rise $300 million a year in the next several years.
Average time spent: 13 minutes Boston.com is the online site of the 137-year-old Boston Globe, which has been owned since 1993 by The New York Times Co. The site recorded an 11.4 percent gain in unique visitors last month, versus the same period a year ago. The most-viewed headlines included “The Democrats’ Case of the Jitters,” “Enduring Campaign Moments” and “Coastal Maine Tide Change a Mystery.” In September 2003, boston.com relaunched with a new design, as well as new content and advertising opportunities, such as integration of new advertising positioning and a new classifieds module on the home page, along with a horizontal global navigation system that replaces the left-hand list of sections.
Average time spent: 8 minutes, 52 seconds The New York Post unveiled its online edition in 1997. With its average reader spending less than nine minutes on the electronic version of the tabloid, nypost.com grabs attention by using brash red and black bold lettering highlighting provocative headlines splashed across the home page. It’s working. The number of unique visitors is up 31.7 percent from last October. The Sports and Business sections are featured, along with gossip from the popular Page Six. While Barack Obama and John McCain headlines were most viewed on other sites, nypost.com produced October headlines such as “Madge, A-Rod Copter Quickie,” “Frugal Google Cuts Perks” and “Coach Curses as Garden Crowd Chants for Steph” (referring to point guard Stephon Marbury).
Average time spent: 9 minutes, 4 seconds Obama’s hometown online newspaper site, which launched in 1996, recorded a 36.1 percent jump in unique visitors from last year, no doubt boosted by his candidacy. One of the most-viewed stories was headlined “If Obama Wins…” It explored the possibilities of how his presidency would raise the city’s national exposure. Coverage of the murders of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew also attracted readers to the site. Other featured headlines included “Another Chicago Firm Cuts Attorneys Amid Economic Downturn” and announcer “[Bob] Brenly Staying With Cubs.” In 2007, the Tribune Co.-owned site relaunched after extensive redesigns. The online changes included a new advertising platform, prominent video placement and greater interactive tools.
Average time spent: 5 minutes, 21 seconds New York City wins a fourth spot in the ranking with Daily News’ online version. The News endorsed Obama for President, and there was an exclusive story on how Obama said he would lead Americans through the economic meltdown. The site launched as mostnewyork.com in 1996 and during the last year has reported a 33.4 percent increase in unique visitors. But visitors to the site are there for a quick fix. The average length of a visit is just over five minutes — the shortest of the top 10. The New York Daily News was founded in 1919 and is owned by real estate developer-turned-media mogul Mortimer Zuckerman.
Average time spent: 13 minutes, 2 seconds The San Francisco Chronicle’s online version, sfgate.com, drew almost one million more unique visitors than in October 2007, a 28.4 percent jump. The Hearst Corp.-owned publication has had a busy year: In February, the site launched a new home page as part of a larger comprehensive redesign. “Our redesign process…includes simpler, top-of-the-page navigation, easier access to multimedia features and more search tools to help our readers find everything from cars to homes and restaurants to music events,” said Peter Negulescu, vice president/digital media. Several other sections, including News, Sports, Business, Technology and Living, were also redesigned. Sfgate.com is continuing to roll out new designs for the Travel, Entertainment and Food & Wine sections.