At RJI, we’ve been working to improve how we share information with our readers.


This article, which is the final in a four part series, provides tips, that are simple, and fast adjustments you can make today.

Designed to better engage and retain readers and advertisers, these tips were compiled by Brad Best, advertising editor of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, and a team of students from the Missouri School of Journalism after weeks of analysis of a major Midwest metro daily newspaper.


Analytics researcherAnalytics are important and provide you with quite a bit of data. But you need to fully utilize this data to get your money’s worth. Look beyond page views, visitors and the top read stories.

  • Look at factors that influence page views, including bounce rates, time spent on site, effectiveness of social media channels and effectiveness of specific content.
  • An article that has gone viral will impact your page views drastically in a short period of time. However, one article doesn’t make a great newspaper. You should look at whether the story intrigued your visitors and made them continue on to other content on your site or whether they bounced from your site. Be sure to offer related stories to the visitor whenever possible to help keep them on your site longer. This not only increases engagement but also increases revenue.
  • Good headlines will always result in clicks.
  • Who are your visitors? You want to determine which people are bringing in revenue versus people who just visited your site to view an article and left. Who are the people who are giving you ad revenue? Subscriptions? What type of content are they most interested in reading? Figure that out and then offer them more of it.
  • Make sure Omniture Click Map data is constantly available to designers so they can understand the popularity, performance and page flow of their pages.
  • Look at the content effectiveness of each social media platform. Different content will succeed differently on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
  • What is driving readers to your site? Analytics can tell you if other websites are driving people to your site that you may not be familiar with. For example, a high school sports blog site may drive traffic to your sports section. Reach out to them and capitalize. Syndicate their content because their users are your users. The more you do this, the higher your stories will rank in search engines.
  • Ask yourself if every piece of information on an online subscription page is vital. If a person has to fill out a lot of information, they may be deterred from subscribing. For example, if you ask for a home mailing address, a digital-only subscriber may not want to give it to you so he may leave your site before completing the subscription process. Wait until the person has subscribed and logged in for the first time, and then ask them for additional information.


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