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T-Squared: The Nine-Month Stats

Monthly uniques and page views are much higher than we projected; more of our visitors are from outside Austin than we ever could have hoped; and our search engine optimization strategy is paying off: All is better-than-well here at the Trib.

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Every now and again I've reported in on the traffic to the Trib site. Well, today is exactly nine months since we launched, which is as good an occasion as any for an update.

The number that blows me away is our page views: As of the end of July, we've passed the 12 million page view mark overall, and we fully expect to record 13 million to 15 million more page views over just the next five months. Our unique visitors to date total more than 1.2 million; our average monthly uniques since March have been more than 193,000. July was our biggest month yet for monthly uniques and page views: just over 220,000 of the former and just under 2.5 million of the latter. At the rate of growth we've been enjoying, we could hit 300,000 monthly uniques by year's end — double what we projected.

Two measures of engagement that make me happy: the average time on our site per visit is more than 3.5 minutes, and we're averaging nearly 5.5 page views per visit. Both suggest people aren't hitting the Trib and bouncing off right away but, rather, are poking around and looking at different stories, topic pages, data pages, etc. More than 25 percent of our visitors have been back to the site more than eight times since launch.

I also continue to be interested in the geographic distribution of our traffic: Only one in four visitors to the site are from Austin; another 25 percent are from the real Texas, which is to say, outside the big cities; and 32 percent are from out of state. We said we would reach more than just the Capitol insider crowd, and it seems like we have. In fact, I know we have: We've logged visits from 1,228 cities and towns in Texas, all 50 states and more than 200 countries.

Another way to look at where the traffic has come from over these nine months: 41 percent is from search engines, with the vast majority from Google, then Yahoo and Bing a distant second and third; 21 percent is direct; and 31 percent is from referral sites. Facebook is the king of the referrals by a wide margin, and Twitter and Reddit are about tied for second. The trend line, however, is showing a greater amount of traffic from the search engines: We were at almost 60 percent in July, no doubt thanks to the implementation of our search engine optimization strategy this summer.

That's just a fraction of the data we're collecting, of course. It's all gratifying and good. And it's only the beginning ...

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