Newspaper sites increasing time spent by users through blogs

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Photo courtesty of Fabiola Medeiro via Flickr

Photo courtesty of Fabiola Medeiro via Flickr

Nielsen Online data cited in Editor & Publisher recently about the time spent on the 30 American newspaper Web sites with the highest volumes of traffic confirms an exciting trend: newspapers that are embracing social content on their sites are continuing to attract more mindshare, even as time spent on some newspaper sites falls dramatically. (Cision uses Nielsen data in our CisionPoint platform).

While time spent per visit declined for 17 of the top 30 newspaper sites (as ranked by Unique Visitors per Month), time spent on the group overall grew slightly. The top 30 sites averaged 10 minutes and 48 seconds per visit in May, compared to 10 minutes and 33 seconds in May 2008. While some papers endured big drops in time spent, like‘s declined of more than 5 minutes, others have embraced blogging as a way to drive traffic and keep users around longer for each visit.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune was the biggest bright spot, with an increase from 27 minutes to more than 47 minutes. E&P reported that in addition to a strong group of staff-written blogs, the site offers community blogs that attract more than 2,500 comments per day, according to Terry Sauer, the paper’s assistant managing editor for digital. The Star Tribune’s site was included in our list of the top 10 newspaper blog networks earlier this year.

Time spent is an important metric not only for online publishers, but for PR professionals as well. Multimedia content and blog posts with extensive comments keep users on a site longer than simple text articles, increasing the influence of sites offering those types of content. For professional communicators, the importance of creating content that’s “digitally discoverable” and sticky has never been greater.


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