LA Weekly on the web: up and down

An internal memo seems to indicate the LA Weekly is falling into the mode of obsessing about page views over content. We learn that music is by far the site's biggest section, a new food blogger starts next week, and they are determined to get the Weekly's L.A. Daily news blog more attention. Right now it's connecting most with readers through celebrity blogger posts by Wil Wheaton, says the memo by web editor Erin Broadley. From the memo:

The challenge now in the new year is to take a hard look at our competitor blogs (LA ist, LA Observed, LA Times, Metroblogging LA, etc) and make the decisions necessary to craft LA Daily into a higher profile blog for local news and riffage on this city. We need to find a groove with coverage, scoops and a level of blogging that only we have to offer.

She also rues that the paper "missed an opportunity [to boost traffic] with the Gaza protests on Wilshire Blvd." The site gets only a small percentage of its readers from Nikki Finke's blog, which may be a reason that film is only the Weekly's sixth-most read online section. The site's Style Council blog gets more traffic when it is "edgy," Broadley also notes. The whole memo follows:

LAWEEKLY.COM December 2008

We had a fantastic last month of 2008. LAWeekly.com's traffic increased in December, up 12.39 % from this time last year. Taking into consideration the layoffs and the double year-end holidays, we rose above the challenge and brought in 5,348,129 pageviews in December, up from 4,541,872 pageviews in November. Slideshows totaled 913,317 pageviews (GA), up from 669,625 in November. Unique visitors were 1,407,098, up from 1,296,921 in November. Average pages per visit were 2.21, up from 2.15 in November. Average time on the site was 00:02:13.

There are slight variations in the numbers below, as they come from two different analytics tools. (All numbers below are based on OAS unless marked with a GA for Google Analytics. OAS gives us an accurate count of our pageviews, while Google will be less because it has a consistent 30% lower count.)


Total traffic: 75,464 pageviews, down from 241,490 in November and down from 123,254 in October.

L.A. Daily's traffic fell considerably in December. The decision was made at the beginning of the month to convert to the uber-blogging system with Steven Mikulan at the head and remove most of the event coverage and any offbeat/pop culture articles and place them in Play and Style Council instead. These types of blogs are often what become hits on major sites like Digg.com because of their national appeal, so I expected to see this change in the numbers with the redistribution of content. We did decide to keep Wil Wheaton's weekly blog within LA Daily because he is a great LA personality, brings a strong and loyal following, and his RSS feed set up through LAD
already has a significant amount of subscribers.

Looking at the top 10 LAD posts below, the top three are Wil Wheaton blogs, the fourth is Liz Ohanesian's November coverage of the downtown Lolita convention (an older post that continues to be successful), the seventh is an event review that broke news about the upcoming season of Rescue Me and also provoked several 9/11 conspiracy sites due to a confrontation that occurred inside Book Soup during our coverage. The last three are news-based and more along the lines of LA Daily's new streamlined focus. The challenge now in the new year is to take a hard look at our competitor blogs (LA ist, LA Observed, LA Times, Metroblogging LA, etc) and make the decisions
necessary to craft LA Daily into a higher profile blog for local news and riffage on this city. We need to find a groove with coverage, scoops and a level of blogging that only we have to offer.

Top 10 entries (GA):

1. Triple Word Score: Gaming Philosophy and Scrabular Impotence - LA Daily:

2. Super Fun Happy Slide: Reflections on an Acting Career - LA Daily: 6,263

3. Vegas, Baby! Vegas! An Incomplete Guide to Lounge Music - LA Daily: 3,219

4. Candy-Colored Fairy Tales: Lolitas Invade Little Tokyo - LA Daily: 2,576

5. Stress Less: It's Christmas time. There's no need to be afraid. - LA
Daily: 2,087

6. Whorelore: The Magical World of Warcraft Porn - LA Daily: 2,009

7. Last Night: Denis Leary Reveals New 'Rescue Me' Plot and Reminds us 'Why
We Suck' @ Book Soup - LA Daily: 1,730

8. Did Losing His Dog, Saki, Detonate the 'Killer Santa' Bruce Jeffrey
Pardo? - LA Daily: 1,268

9. Sex, Lie Detectors and Videotape: Anand Jon Takes Polygraph Test AFTER
Conviction -- Supporters Ask Rape Victim to Do Same - LA Daily: 1,222

10. In Surprise Move, MOCA Board to Turn Over Operation of Museum to Machine
Project Gallery - LA Daily: 1,184


Total traffic: 71, 362 pageviews, up from 55,117 in November and up from 61,099 in October.

Play's traffic continued to increase in December due to increased posts and being quick to report on breaking music news and rumors like Randall Roberts' coverage of the secret Cure show and the month's Prince sightings and song debuts. We also saw success with two of the year-end lists (hip-hop songs and folk records) and Liz Ohanesian's continued coverage of local music communities (in this case, goth). In October and November we saw that shorter form 1:1 Q&As brought in great traffic for the blog and I'd like to make a plan to reintroduce a few of those as Web exclusives each month, especially considering a smaller paper page count makes us more and more selective in print.

Upcoming Play exclusives (blog and video coverage) for the first quarter of 2009 include going into the recording studio with Slash for the making of his solo album and behind the scenes with Maynard James Keenan for the launch of his new Puscifer cabaret show that debuts in Las Vegas in February. These are both two major artists with national appeal but I'd like to brainstorm more local exclusives along the same lines.

Top 10 entries (GA):

1. The Cure Tear Up the Troubadour at Surprise MySpace Show ­ Play: 1,710

2. Weiss' 25 Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2008 ­ Play: 1,285

3. Last Night: AC/DC at the Forum ­ Play: 1,213

4. Let the Listing Begin: Ten Great Folk Records of the Past Decade ­ Play: 1,157

5. Goth is Dead, Long Live Goth: Post-Thanksgiving Darkness At Ruin Hollywood ­ Play: 1,117

6. Jonesy's Jukebox Debuts Four New Guitar-Heavy Prince Songs, Hints at Upcoming Live Shows ­ Play: 1,112

7. Weiss' 50 Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2008 (#50-26) ­ Play: 1,046

8. Founders of F Yeah Fest and Videothing.com Allegedly Beaten by Security Guards After Radiohead Show ­ Play: 990

9. Prince Rumored to Be Playing the Conga Room Tonight ­ Play: 838

10. The Cure to Play Secret MySpace Show Tonight at the Troubadour ­ Play: 737


Total traffic (GA): 109,727 pageviews, up from 85,610 in November and up from 23,277 in October .

Style Council traffic continued to boom in December. The blog is benefitting immensely from the new spin we've given it, turning it into a lifestyle, trend and pop culture blog and not just fashion commentary. All these things together have proved to be a winning combination, especially when we keep it edgy. Plus, the content in this blog continues to hit big when seeded to the right outlets.

Top 10 entries (GA):

1. Nikon's Creepy, Funny S60 Ad Campaign - Style Council: 52,637

2. Last Night: Muppet (of Burlesque) Show at Monday Night Tease! - Style Council: 21,952

3. Greatest Boxer in the World: Fans Celebrate Pacquiao's Win Over De La Hoya @ J Lounge - Style Council: 8,465

4. Heroes of the Final Frontier: Top 5 Space Cowboys from TV and Film - Style Council: 2,624

5. Hilary Duff Bites Depeche Mode - Style Council: 1,056

6. Japanese Schoolgirls at the Museum - Style Council: 864

7. Photos That Defined 2008: Food, Music, Cobrasnake, Nightranger and Breaking News - Style Council: 784

8. WORN OUT- Britney's Comeback Looks - Style Council: 716

9. Last Night: Enlightened Debauchery with Mindshare LA @ The Lacy Lofts - Style Council: 522

10. Star Trek Fashion Smackdown: Old vs. New, Plus New Movie Trailer - Style Council: 502


Total traffic (GA): 13,146 pageviews, down from 14,415 in November and down from 14,015 in October.

Top 10 entries:

1. Easter Cartoon - Catch of the Day: 550

2. Freedomism - Catch of the Day: 415

3. Capital punishment - Catch of the Day: 401

4. When an Israeli commits an atrocity and an American is there to sanction it, shouldn't it make a sound? - Catch of the Day: 306

5. How much is that donkey in the window? - Catch of the Day: 227

6. Just Send Me the Bill - Catch of the Day: 200

7. The Mother, the Daughter and the Holy Shit - Catch of the Day: 166

8. The pot guy calling the black guy a kettle guy - Catch of the Day: 160

9. The sins of the grandchildren - Catch of the Day: 151

10. Pay no attention to the man behind the flirtin' - Catch of the Day: 131


Total traffic (GA): 913,317 pageviews, up from 669,625 in November and up from 594,729 in October.

December slideshow traffic benefitted from the seeding success of Siran Babayan's ³Images of Satan² cover story enhancement ³Norwegian Black Metal: Images of Satan.² The slideshow of images from Peter Beste's book was seeded and picked up by sites world-wide. Another top 10 slideshow that was an enhancement to a cover story was Sam Slovick's ³Sympathy for the Devil.² Not including the Christmas Sweater Festival and Cobrasnake, the other slideshows in the top 10 were all connected to a blog, column or feature on LAweekly.com. This is ideal and we did a great job connecting strong multimedia enhancements to strong articles. In 2009 I'd like us to re-approach ³Beyond the Stage² music slideshows and any other type of behind-the-scenes photography which proved successful in the past. I'd also like to get more news coverage (like we did with during election season, protests, the fires, etc.) back in rotation. I realize we really missed an opportunity with the Gaza protests on Wilshire Blvd. Jill and Laurie, let's brainstorm upcoming possibilities.

Top 10 slideshows (GA):

1. Norwegian Black Metal: Images of Satan (NSFW) : 375,921

2. Sex, Stage and Sand: Cobrasnake Jetsets to Hawaii with Mickey Avalon: 63,953

3. Monday Night Tease! Muppet (of Burlesque) Show @ 3 of Clubs: 61,753

4. Cobrasnake: Where the Wild Things Are... Animal Spirits and Jungle Books:

5. AC/DC Live at the Forum, Night Two, Sold Out: 26,358

6. Cobrasnake: Beautiful Girls from the Beach to the Bar : 25,165

7. Sympathy for the Devil: Inside Look at Gang Hoods: 20,281

8. Mourn, Porn and Adorn: Nightranger Attends Gidget Gein Memorial: 20,125

9. Marie Antoinette Meets Japanese Cosplay @ Royal/T Rococo Rendezvous:

10. Christmas Sweater Festival @ Echoplex: 12,336


Top 10 articles (GA):

1. Sylmar Fire's Lady Looters - News: 36,152

2. Images of Satan - Music: 12,316

3. The Year in Reading Food - Eat+Drink: 8,967

4. Shutting Down Public-Access TV - News: 8,038

5. Clint Eastwood, America's Director - Film+TV: 7,564

6. "Roadblock" and Other Cyclists Revolt at LAPD Ticketing for Bike Riding Without a License - Columns: 5,511

7. Pho Town: Noodle Stories From South El Monte - Eat+Drink: 5,481

8. Failing Upward, a True Hollywood Story - News: 4,724

9. Heaven's Gate: The Sequel - News: 4,394

10. From Silver Lake to Suicide: One Family's Secret History of the Jonestown Massacre - News: 3,121



1. laweekly.com 181,198

2. /style_council/weird/nikons-creepy-funny-s60-ad-cam/

3. /clubzone/nye

4. /2008-12-11/news/sylmar-fire-39-s-lady-looters/

5. /slideshow/view/192544

6. /slideshow/view/192544/2

7. /slideshow/view/192544/3

8. /slideshow/view/192544/4

9. /slideshow/view/192544/5

10. /slideshow/view/192544/6


1,075,055 ­ Music

397,472 ­ News

290,788 ­ Arts

223,462 ­ Calendar

152,319 ­ Restaurants

109,548 ­ Film


We continued to increase seeding efforts in December and promoting LA Weekly content online. I appreciate everyone who kept me updated with additional seeding they did themselves and those who showed initiative by promoting their own stories. Our direct traffic was up in December and seeding boosted our referring traffic to 44.59% this month, up from 43.85% in November.


20.76% Direct Traffic
44.59% Referring Sites
34.52% Search Engines


19.64% Direct Traffic
43.85% Referring Sites
36.39% Search Engines

TOP 10 REFERRING SITES (GA) (not counting internal links and search

1. fark.com: 48,291 visits

2. drudgereport.com : 23,510 visits

3. fark.com: 12,332 visits

4. boingboing.net : 12,652 visits

5. digg.com : 12,247 visits

6. fazed.net : 10,686

7. reddit.com: 6,275

8. en.wikipedia.org : 10,614

9. deadlinehollywooddaily.com : 10,278

10. wilwheaton.typepad.com : 5,742


Continue to build the frequency of LA Daily and Play blogging posts. LA Daily needs to be at 10 per day and Play at 8. We roll out the new blog redesign in about one week which will allow us to rotate featured posts at the top of each landing page, plus will provide a most viewed and most commented on box. Also, we can look forward to a new food blogger starting next week.

More by Kevin Roderick:
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