Howard Owens is a digital media pioneer. He started publishing local news online in 1995 when very few local news outlets had web sites. The header image on the site depicts the film camera he used early in his career and the press pass from his year on the staff of the Carlsbad Journal. For more on Howard's professional background, read his LinkedIn profile.
HowardOwens.com is the personal web site of Howard Owens and covers his range of interests -- political localism and libertarianism, music and personal interests, as well as his professional interests.
Howard is currently publisher of The Batavian and lives in Batavia, N.Y.
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Daily Archives: June 25, 2006
If you’re a newspaper Web site manager, how is your traffic?
If at the end of the month, you tally up your unique visitors and page views and pat yourself on the back because you’re getting more traffic than any local competitor, you’re not really setting the bar high enough.
Have you ever tried to figure out what percentage of your DMA adult users visit your Web site on a daily basis?
To me, the most important metric for newspaper Web sites is local daily reach — how many people in your DMA visit your site each day.
I don’t have enough data yet to say what your goal should be, but I’m thinking two percent isn’t good enough.
There have been reports (sorry, I don’t have access to those reports right now) that put the percentage of adults on the Internet who visited a local news site on a typical day at eight or nine percent.
That means if your DMA population is 1 million, and 60 percent of the adults have a net connection, then on a daily basis 54,000 people in your local market are looking at local news.
I bet your local daily unique users are no where near nine percent of the DMA/access population.
Some factors to consider:
- Some of your local competitors are getting a piece of that market share.
- Survey respondents who say they are accessing local news may be looking at news for an old home town, not necessarily your town.
- Survey respondents may be defining local news differently than we think, or over report their interest in local news.
- People living in areas were major metros (such as WashingtonPost.com and SignOnSanDiego.com) have done a great job of increasing audience share may skew the national numbers.
- You are also competing against the news portals for some of the local news audience.
So let’s stipulate that 9 percent is an unrealistic target. How about 6 percent? That would mean your daily unique visitors in our imaginary 1 million pop DMA would be 36,000.
I can’t define your target for you, since there are a number of variables for each market, but here’s my suggestion:
- Get the latest total DMA adult pop number.
- Find the latest estimate of percentage with net access.
- Now look at your average daily unique visitors.
- Now you need to know what percentage of your site users live in your market. One way to calculate this is the percentage of registered users in your DMA, then compare this to metrics like percentage of visitors from your time zone. The best you can do here is guess at the percentage of daily visitors are local (unless you happen to use something like Tacoda or Omniture with registration data imported).
- Of your daily unique visitors, how many do you estimate are local?
- Divide that number by total DMA adults with net access — that is your daily local reach percentage.
- Now set your goal 2 percent higher — that should be the target you will do everything you can to reach within the next 8 to 12 months.
If you’re a site manager, let me know how you measure up. I would like to aggregate some data for comparison sake and to help set a reasonable measure of audience growth progress.
Yesterday, I bought a MacBook. One of the cool features is the magnetic power chord connection. The biggest problem I had with my HP lap top was the AC jack eventually breaking.
However, it looks like I need to remember to leave my MacBook unplugged when I step away from the machine. Otherwise, it might catch fire.
From Om Malik, I learn that PhotoBucket is the the #1 photo sharing site on the Web.
Why is it popular — Om says, cause it’s simple and easy.
Simple and easy is a great strategy. It’s worked for Google. It’s worked for iPod. It’s worked for TiVo (sort of). It’s what I aim for in site design. I’m not always sure it’s achieved, especially with large, complex sites..
I just signed up for a PhotoBucket account. The registration was interesting. The first screen is just user name and password, they they want to know your name, sex, birth date and location. Then they take you through three paid screens — an opportunity to sign up for sponsored e-mail messages. And then they induce the last bit of personal data from you: Your physical address, if you want to enter a photo contest (of course, I did).
PhotoBucket claims 18 million users. If that’s true, the registration system is likely a good deal for the advertisers — it’s worth noting that two of the advertisers where college programs with campuses in Bakersfield, so the ads I saw were pretty well targeted.
I uploaded what I think are some of my best photos. Here’s a slideshow.