News & Politics

AlterNet Editorial: Wow! 4 Million

It comes down to strong content and good friends who share our articles with their friends on social media.

Photo Credit: Dale

We're happy and excited to share a milestone and thank those who helped us reach it. In May, AlterNet, according to Google Analytics,  had more than four million "unique visitors" come to our site and read stories.  In several of those weeks we had more than one million visitors per week—that number crushed all of our previous records. And we owe our thanks to you, our readers—especially those of you on Facebook, Reddit and Twitter.

We're actually pretty stunned by the number. Why? Because previously, in our best months, we had reached 3 million visitors, which we always thought was swell.  So why, after publishing on the Internet for well over a decade, did our traffic explode by 33 percent in one month? We wish we exactly knew. Because if we did, we would bottle it.

Nevertheless, we have some good ideas why:  first, it is all about the content—popular writers with big traffic like the iconic Noam Chomsky; the numbers guru Paul Buchheit; our young drug reporter Kristen Gwynne; our great stylist and economic analyst Lynn Parramore; and Amanda Marcotte who writes about the right wing, are prime examples of strong content.  Also, our society seems to be increasingly traumatized; the police and disturbed individuals are doing a wild amount of crazy things that people want to read about.

Second, it comes down to having good friends who share articles with their  friends on Facebook, and other good friends who recommend us on Reddit. Getting pushed up the Reddit ladder can mean 50,000 readers rushing to AlterNet in an afternoon to read a single article. That can be a thrill.

Whoever said that reputation—accepting referrals from trusted friends—was crucial to success on the web was totally right.  Our content wouldn't be in front of so many people without many thousands of AlterNet friends pushing it out there.  Both we, and our writers, are very appreciative.  Thank you very much.


Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.

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