The Los Angeles Times is experiencing an increasing amount of traffic, which Nieman Journalism Lab is attributing to engaging with its audience using its blogs.
In March the site had more than 160 million pageviews; in May it was 189 million, bucking the downward trend of many other major US sites. The Nieman report states:
That doesn’t mean the LA Times is going to lap the New York Times or the Huffington Post when it comes to reader counts. But the numbers are still impressive, and more so when you consider the secret sauce at the heart of it all: a full embrace of blogging that adds voice in some corners, emphasises timeliness in others, and has opened new doors for reader engagement. On latimes.com, news is getting the blog treatment and blogs are getting the news treatment. “Most of our blogs are reported stories,” said Jimmy Orr, managing editor/online for the Times. “What we’re seeing is big increases in our blogs, and that’s where a lot of the breaking news is.
The post goes on to explain some other changes at the LA Times, too. The site has recently added an SEO chief, “who works on the copy desk to optimise headlines” resulting in a “65 per cent rise in traffic from search and a 41 per cent jump in traffic from Google as compared to this time last year”.
Another move by the LA Times is to make the site more social by adding Facebook comments to around 50 per cent of articles, a move that has resulted in a 450 per cent increase in referrals from Facebook, according to Nieman’s post.
It also plans to expand its use of Facebook as a commenting system because of encouraging results it’s seen so far. The goal is a virtuous circle: A bigger community leads to more traffic leads to more impact for the Times’ journalism.