Hi, I'm Ben Hazell. I used to blog here about the media, but now I work there I don't write here anymore.
I'm the Web Publishing Editor at - I find better ways to tell stories, developing tools, training and practice for journalists.

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The Blog

Rarely updated now, used during Journalism MA at the University of Sheffield.

The Telegraph storms ahead

Friday, 30 May 2008
For anyone who hadn't noticed, the has just overtaken the Guardian as the UK's most popular national newspaper website.

It's a close run thing at the top of the charts, with the Daily Mail online also making big gains. All three sites now sit around the 18 million monthly users mark. Most impressivly that means the Telegraph has added around 7 million readers in the last year. The Guardian has in fact dropped by about 1% whilst the Mail is seeing healthy growth.

Telegraph Communities editor Shane Richmond is predicting the lead will swap around a little in the near future, but it's clear the Telegraph's made a big jump.

It doesn't seem like the Guardian has taken this very well. Back in April Guardian Media writer Jemima Kiss wrote about how the was growing fast by boosting page download speeds, producing more content and improving it's search rankings.

Now they've been overtaken they're complaining, and together with the Mail and the Times have called for a review of the way website traffic is calculated.

I don't know what will come of it, but the timing smacks of sour grapes. It's no crime to improve your product and market it better. And this is a growing market, not a limited number of users to be won away from rivals.

Methods of measuring website traffic are vague at best and nobody can quite agree what exactly should be counted. Is it better for twenty people to read one story, or one loyal reader to read twenty?

Perhaps it's really up to the advertisers to judge sucess as that's where the money comes from, not the readers. But then are their adverts simple brand awareness exercises, or do they expect readers to click through and buy products. How do they measure sucess?

Maybe it's just the news demand that's shifted market share. As the credit crunch hits, readers are drawn away from the Gurdian's liberal worldwide focus and pay more attention to the Telegraph's sharp domestic business news.

Politically too the wind has shifted away from the Guardian as Labour slump and Conservative media is boosted.

Now the other interesting piece of news this week was the BBC website's massive overspend. All the news traffic they pull in hurts the newspaper websites, and if they face cuts it could boost the newspaper sites again.

So in the bleak newspaper market, at least the websites are looking the picture of good health.


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