NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Visitors to People.com generated more than 1 billion page views in January, according to Omniture, setting a record for the magazine and probably for all magazine sites. What's the secret, beyond obsessive coverage of Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry and Katie Holmes?
"Hitch your website to an enormously successful magazine," said Mark Golin, editor of People Digital. Beat. "I'm joking."
Here, then, are Mr. Golin's four ways to get your magazine to 1 billion page views.
No. 1: Make the tech work for users
"Over the last few years we really have focused on speed," Mr. Golin said. "The faster you serve up your pages, the lower your bounce rate is and the more likely people are to keep looking at your site. It's sort of a like a light switch. If it only works 50% of the time, people stop using it."
No. 2: Press on social media
"At first I was unclear whether it was going to pay off for us," Mr. Golin said. "But Twitter and Facebook are in our top 10 referrers at this point. So we've been spending a lot of time building up our Facebook fan base. And our Twitter followers are at somewhere like 2.3 million. Once you start hitting the big numbers, you really start seeing your returns."
No. 3: Highlight different kinds of content
"When I first got here the site was sort of 'Here's our news, here's our photos, come again please,'" Mr. Golin recalled. "We started building out verticals -- a StyleWatch channel, a moms and babies channel, a games channel, a video channel. ... It's not as though we didn't have all of those things in the mix but, you separate them out and emphasize them and throw a little more work into each one and you start to see more page views per user in each of these categories."
No. 4: Link to yourself
A lot of sites don't link to themselves very well.
"We spent a lot of time doing a celebrity database," Mr. Golin said. "When you look at most of our news articles, you get to the bottom and there's an automatic feed from our database: Would you like to read more about this celebrity? There's a bio, more photos."
"Essentially it's impossible to know everything about your user but when your user is on a particular page, you do know what they're interested in right now," he added. "You do that well, you keep them in the site longer."
"And then, finally, we do free pancake Tuesdays," he said. That was another joke.