Traffic Grows Exponentially

For the first time, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ story-sharing site,, has exceeded 100,000 unique visitors in a month.

In July the site had 115,259 unique visitors. That is more than 11 times the number it had in April.

On average, the site got 5,096 visits a day last month, compared to 3,607 in June and just 593 in April.

Much of the exponential increase over the past three months can be credited to just a few member papers that are sending traffic to

Nearly two-thirds of visitors are coming to after seeing teasers of AltWeeklies headlines on other Web sites. The teaser on Cincinnati CityBeat‘s home page alone accounted for more than 30,000 visits to AltWeeklies in July. Boise Weekly also sends thousands of visitors to the collaborative site.

One of AAN’s newest members, Washington State’s Bellingham Weekly, put a teaser on its Web site and immediately started routing many more readers to The teasers provide free content to AAN papers and to other Web sites that share an interest in the topics covered on AltWeeklies.

Another significant contributor to traffic is an AltWeeklies link on the media Web site Cursor. The introduction of AltWeeklies RSS feeds has also helped.

Participation of member papers is crucial to the news site’s success. The traffic growth of the past few months couldn’t be sustained if AltWeeklies didn’t offer high-quality stories that appeal to readers with varied interests.

“The AAN board first discussed AltWeeklies as a modest story-sharing bulletin board,” said Clif Garboden, senior managing editor of The Boston Phoenix, who was AAN’s president when the site was launched in May 2004. “The far more elaborate result is a success beyond my imagining. Not only is it a convenient way to share stories among AAN members, it’s become a valuable showcase for the alternative press’s work.”’s traffic should spill over to benefit all papers that post stories on the site. The papers should expect an increase in the number of visitors directs their way. In addition, as more weeklies add teasers to their sites, the posting papers should notice more traffic being sent their way from other AAN members’ Web sites.

AAN is presently conducting separate surveys of publishers and editors with the goal of broadening participation and continuing to build traffic. If you missed taking the survey or have questions about how you can participate in, please contact AAN editor Ruth Hammond.