The results are in.
The way forward is clear.
Statistics on naplesnews.com Internet traffic compiled over the first six months of 2010 reveal the secrets to continued success.
While newspapers nationwide look for ways to make web sites profitable, careful consideration of the data shows that in order to get the most out of the Internet, journalists need hard-hitting news content that cannot be found elsewhere, an understanding of how readers come to a particular page, strong community outreach and Hooters.
More than 39 million times in the first half of this year, someone clicked on a naplesnews.com page. Put another way, that’s nearly one click for every AA meeting Lindsay Lohan skipped during the same six months.
The key to attracting so many readers is what the experts call, “search engine optimization.” Search engine optimization means getting the major sites such as Yahoo and Bing to list your page first when someone searches for a specific subject. For instance, someone types in the search phrase, “major storm headed for coastal landfall,” and the first thing that pops up under results is, “naplesnews.com _ major store headed for Coastland mall.”
To achieve search engine optimization, skilled professionals must construct stories, headlines, photos and graphics in a well-thought-out manner with a deep understanding of key phrases and an inherent sense of the logarithms and matrices used by the leading search providers. That and slip a c-note to the kid on the Google tech desk every once in a while.
The types of stories receiving significant hits varies. Readers like breaking news, in depth analysis, opinion and reader contributions.
But a couple of themes keep popping up. The most popular video over the first six months of the year was “Hooters Annual Bikini Contest.” It was joined in the top 10 videos by, “Two Naples Hooters Waitresses Featured in Company Calendar.”
The second most viewed photo gallery centered on Goodland’s Mullet Festival. The ongoing Blue Martini night club probe is a top-ten story.
Clearly, there is a demand for items about bikinis and booze.
The obvious solution is to devote all our resources to these two topics. Already, several of the younger, unmarried male staff members have volunteered to man the Hooters beat. Quite coincidentally, several of the older, married male staff members have volunteered to man the booze beat.
But as a serious news organization committed to comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the community, we would never think of abandoning the hard news, insightful commentary and engaging features that make for a well-rounded newspaper.
But hey, we’re human. Who’s to say an occasional stray word won’t find its way into a story or headline? And if that stray word should happen to drive readers to the web site, what’s the harm?
“Hooters heat wave plagues East Coast.”
“Obama touts economic bikini recovery.”
“Jackson Lab vodka martini pitches plan.”
“Arizona swimsuit model immigration law challenged.”
Connect bathing suit with Hooters Brent Batten at naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten