Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism's study on traffic sources for the top 25 news website provides some good pointers on how to increase traffic to your website.
Below are some helpful facts from the study:
- Direct Traffic drives 60 to 65 percent of the traffic. Direct traffic consists of users who directly type the website's URL, users who visit a webpage from another webpage of the website, and users who are referred from small websites.
- Of the big referral sites (which accounts for 35 to 40 percent of the remaining traffic), Google (Search and News) is the biggest source of traffic. Google Search drives more traffic than Google News.
- From the Google News page, about 95 percent of the referral traffic goes to the top 10 news websites (e.g. NYTimes, ABC News, etc.)
- Facebook is growing but still drives less than 10 percent of overall traffic.
- Surprisingly, Drudge Report drives even more traffic than Facebook. (IBT Note: Drudge Report does link to small websites as long as the content is newsworthy and compelling. Newsworthy and compelling content, of course, can receive traffic from links from other influential websites and blogs).
- Twitter is a very small source of traffic, typically accounting for less than 1 percent of overall traffic.
- Sharing tools on webpages work; as high as 5 percent of visitors click on these sharing buttons.
- The overwhelming majority of visitors to most of these news websites are 'casual users' who visit just once or twice per month. However, the most popular news websites in the world do have a comparatively high number of 'power users' who come 10 times a month or more.
- For the vast majority of the news websites, the home page is the most viewed page. The study said going online to check the latest headlines is still an important dimension of news consumption.