DIGITAL readership of the Central Western Daily continued to grow in 2012, with our website attracting almost half a million visitors, many alerted to our online content via social media.
According to Google Analytics centralwesterndaily.com.au had 458,400 unique visitors during the year. They made over 1.4 million visits to the site generating almost seven million page views.
The introduction of a seven-day newsroom roster in July with more frequent updates, including on weekends, won the endorsement of our readers. Several of our top 10 stories for the year included vital information on road closures, accidents and storm damage which would have been of far less value if they had only appeared in the next day’s paper.
More frequent online updates and richer content, including video, gave our readers more reason to spend time reading the CWD online. On average readers viewed 4.6 pages per visit and spent 3 minutes and 16 seconds on the site each time.
In 2012 new visits to the site made up 29.35 per cent of our visitors.
Last year also saw the introduction of the Central Western Daily’s iPhone app on December 1, only the second app to be launched by Fairfax Media in regional NSW.
By the start of 2013 over 1100 iPhone users had downloaded the free app, giving them yet another way to get their daily local news and photos.
The top five stories for Centralwesterndaily.com.au were:
1. Toddler critical after horror head-on collision;
2. League star dies in horror crash;
3. Bypass fatality: Mum, three girls in stable condition;
4. The final straw: youths attack staff member;
5. UPDATE: Search for missing man at Carcoar Dam.
Photo galleries remain as popular as ever with the top five being:
1. Storm hits Orange;
2. James Sheahan Catholic School Graduation;
3. CGU Orange Outstanding Business Awards;
4. Old Errowanband Woolshed open days part one.
5. Orange Roller Derby League training.
Readers also appreciated photo galleries created from reader’s submitted photos. Our first app assignment, a photo of what you love about Orange in summer, ranked in the top 20 galleries. One of our app readers, Danlelle Jolliffe, won an iPhone 5 for tapping the assignment button and sending in a photo of her son Joshua eating a piece of watermelon.
Other galleries to make the top 20 included regular baby photo galleries, reader photos of snow falls, storms and other school graduation photos.
Social media continued to grow in importance as a way for readers to keep up with social news and receive alerts and convenient links to online stories which matter to them. Over the last year the number of ‘likes’ on our Facebook page have increased by a whopping 348 per cent to 1608 likes.
Our Facebook updates of this week’s fire at Long Point, is an example of how the Central Western Daily’s multi-platform approach is keeping readers better informed. On January 1 and 2, day one and two of the fire, 1579 people clicked through to the CWD website from Facebook and Twitter to get the latest news on the developing fire emergency.
Some of our biggest clicked items over the last year have included some of our most tragic local news.
When a toddler was injured in a horrific crash on the Mitchell Highway east of Orange on April 15, 1299 people clicked through from Facebook and Twitter to see the latest news on the CWD’s website.
Other huge news stories included 461 clicks when a man was killed in a head-on crash on the Northern Distributor on August 19 and 375 clicks when bull rider John Crasti was injured in a rodeo accident, October 27.
Good news also stirred the emotions on Facebook and Twitter when 158 people clicked to read about eight-year-old Tori O’Neil being awarded the Ambulance Service of NSW Commendation of Courage.
Facebook feedback is now a regular feature of our newspaper edition.