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Web analytics could be key to improving online news-site traffic

Amid the decline in the global newspaper industry, online newspapers should use Web analytics more to learn how to boost website traffic and advertising revenue, according to Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Assistant Professor Edson Tandoc Jr led a team conducting interviews with more than 30 high-profile editors and observing more than 150 hours at three newsrooms in Western countries.

Tandoc revealed the results of "Journalism Is Twerking, Web Analytics, Social Media and Journalistic Doxa" last week to 15 reporters participating in the Asia Journalism Fellowship Programme at the university's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.

Newspapers in the West, where the penetration of active Internet users is high, are trying to create attractive content to draw viewer traffic to their sites, he said.

"From our observation, a decision for an online platform is basically made and based on a piece of news that is able to attract traffic to the website. This also means more advertising revenue streams to come," he said.

For online platforms, during each daily budget meeting, the editorial team has to monitor the key interests of people in cyberspace, for example by doing a Twitter search.

The editorial team should also interact with potential audiences to do something related to the hot news or topic at that time.

On top of that, social media are meant to be a platform to promote brands, companies, websites or even content to increase public awareness in line with customer engagement.

To gain the best result, it is suggested that the editorial use Web analytic tools to help them create the right structure for their homepage.

"Web analytics can suggest how to place or select the high traffic headlines in a good position and cut some lower performers off the homepage," Tandoc said.

Attractive wording in news headlines is able to lure more traffic, the findings also suggested.


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