Blog traffic booms at LATimes.com

The latest internal missive from Executive Editor Meredith Artley says there were 77.9 million page views at LATimes.com in May, which they think is a record for the Times website. Live coverage of the Griffith Park and Catalina fires, Paris Hilton and Kobe Bryant helped drive traffic, but a story on the ER death at King-Harbor hit #3 for the month. Blog traffic shot up a million page views over April, with Show Tracker — driven by Richard Rushfield's posts on American Idol — luring the most eyeballs. (Here's last month's memo.)

From: Artley, Meredith
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 11:54 AM
To: LATimes Employees
Subject: Big Web Picture

Colleagues, here’s the second installment of the monthly Web highlights and traffic report.

This is where the fun starts since we can compare how we are doing, month to month. You may recall that April was a strong traffic month with 76 million page views – a record according to our Omniture data, which we have been using for more than a year. So how did we do in May? Drumroll…

We are up again, just a smidgen, with 77.9 million page views for May. Please remember that we are using these figures internally as a measuring stick for purposes of this memo and that tracking Web usage is a less than perfect science. So, 77.9 million page views is now our figure to beat. The summer months are usually a tough time for setting Web traffic records, but we’ll give it a try.

The Catalina fire drew a lot of traffic in terms of breaking news, images, and live video, with the breaking news blog being put to use quickly after the Griffith Park fires. The stories on Paris Hilton’s jail sentence also did extremely well. Mike Bresnahan’s article on Kobe’s roller coaster of remarks on being traded showed on the Top 10 article list. It received almost 1,200 comments from readers and more than 37,000 votes (NOT a typo) in the unofficial poll asking if he should be traded or not. But, lest you think the site traffic is all about Paris and Kobe, note that Charlie Ornstein’s article on the death at King-Harbor was No. 3 for the month, beating out Kobe and many Paris articles.

Bettie Rinehart, our editor for reader interactivity, says May blog traffic beat April by almost 1 million page views – an all-time record of 2,214,898 page views for the month. And the Lakers blog, for the first time ever, got knocked off its perch by Show Tracker in large part due to Richard Rushfield’s American Idol posts and the upfront coverage, where Kate Aurthur, Matea Gold, Maria Elena Fernandez, and Martin Miller posted like mad from New York. As a whole entertainment coverage did very well for the month – product manager Tessie Popoff reports that May saw record high at 5.8 million page views.

Rest of the memo, and the top ten stories of the month, after the jump.

It turns out that chat rooms aren’t virtual spaces only. We now have offices on the first floor with proper connections and equipment to make it much easier to hold chats. Chats are a nice way to have live dialogue with our readers about things that matter to them. Kathy Kristof’s personal finance chat in mid-May is a shining example of this – it drew about 50 chatters into the hour-long discussion and many more readers are still enjoying the transcript. Send your reader-focused chat pitches to Bettie.

Last month we also launched a home remodeling blog, Pardon Our Dust from Kathy Price-Robinson, and in books, Jacket Copy became a blog. Your Scene had its biggest traffic month ever, with the Catalina fire album and a growing number of travel albums contributing to the rise.

May was the month of the homepage “Botox treatment,” which we will continue to tweak (we are looking closely at the “from the blogs” area and think we can improve that part of the page). The articles are next up – the most visible changes will be bigger photo templates and a cleaner page. What else is coming in June? A revamped politics section with a blog, a food blog, a Mideast blog, and visual changes and tweaks to sections such as Home and Garden, Sports, and Opinion. Those changes are all part of the meetings that Sean Gallagher, managing editor for section development, is organizing with each of the desks. The idea is to map out the improvements needed to each section, starting with the small things first.

To the lists…

Top Ten Stories for May

1. Washington sexual fantasy service “madam” identifying clients
2. Paris Hilton must serve 45 days in jail
3. Tale of last 90 minutes of woman’s life
4. Listeners shocked by XM hosts’ suspension
5. 13th century text hides words of Archimedes
6. Paris Hilton not expected to serve full 45-day sentence
7. Unfazed by his judgment of Paris
8. Kobe’s change of direction has L.A. guessing
9. 2 more women say Spector held a gun on them
10. At Wal-Mart, Clinton didn’t upset any carts

Top Ten Blogs

1. Show Tracker (559,453 page views, up from 299,356 in April)
2. Lakers (399,768, up from 345,453 in April)
3. Homicide Report (185,569, up from 131,996 in April)
4. L.A. Land
5. Styles & Scenes
6. Breaking News (May 1 demonstration and wildfires)
7. Gold Derby
8. Phil Spector Trial
9. Political Muscle
10. Movable Buffet (Vegas)


Top Photo Galleries


1. Griffith Park fire
2. Catalina fire rages
3. May Day protest
4. Celebrity shots
5. Paris Hilton
6. Catalina fire: Day 2
7. Catalina fire: Day 1
8. Vegas pool parties: Making a big splash
9. Obits: Notable deaths
10. The Week in Photos: May 6 - May 12

Top Ten Videos for May

1. Total live streams (from both KTLA feeds – this includes the Catalina fire, the May 1 rally, the Phil Spector trial and more)

2. Paris Hilton trying to avoid jail (AP)

3. May 1: Police confront immigration protesters (KTLA)

4. Jail cell similar to the one that Paris Hilton may be housed (AP)

5. Paris Hilton sentenced to 45 days in jail (AP)

6. Texas mom sold teenage daughter for $3,000, now in custody (AP)

7. Paris Hilton’s impending jail sentence (AP)

8. Paris Hilton fires publicist after jail sentence (CLTV)

9. Small tortoise attacks cat (CNN)

10. Rumble Seat: Smart Fortwo (LAT)

Thanks for reading, and as always, feedback is welcome.

Meredith Artley

Executive Editor, LATimes.com


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