News, Analytics and the Almighty Hit
♠Understanding when a visitor clicks on your story, from where, and, more importantly, why are all growing areas of interests to online creators (or aggregators) of content.
In a talk sponsored by the Press Club of Long Island tonight, Dominick Miserandino, founder and executive editor of The Celebrity Cafe, discussed Google Analytics and how to use it to measure site traffic.
Miserandino stressed understanding why a visitor lands on a page, and take action based on that result. He advised to pay attention to keywords, where the traffic sources are and either bringing up lagging sources or playing to the ones that are driving traffic.
Perhaps the most logical, but one of the most important points he made during the two-hour discussion was for news outlets to understand that a news story will only last on the Web for a couple days — at most. A story may drive traffic for a day or two, but then it will die off, never to be seen again. The goal of a news outlet is to reproduce stories that will keep traffic at a steady rate each day.
As I’ve seen with Nassau News Live and our use of Google Analytics for the past year, the average time on the site is 1-2 minutes. Prior to tonight, I didn’t know if that was high or low. According to Miserandino, that is about average for one news story. That pits the word count at 150-300 words. Writing a 2000-word piece? Forget about it.
With that in mind, I’m going to end this post. But in the next couple weeks I will focus this blog on the 2-hour discussion with pieces upcoming about the blurring of the “church and state” line that should exist between publishers and editors, and the ethical questions that go along with that. Also, the (in my view) broken model of $ per pageview, and, of course, the cons of using analytics.