The NYTimes.com site drew 12.96 million unique visitors in March, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. But that large audience didn't stay long or dig deep. The average visitor spent about a minute a day and viewed just 29 pages during the month.
With the April 4 debut of an extensive redesign, the people behind NYTimes.com are aiming to dramatically increase that level of engagement.
"We definitely want to increase the number of pages people use," said Martin Nisenholtz, senior VP-digital operations, the New York Times Co. One new feature designed to achieve that goal is the Most Popular page, located on the main navigation bar above the Times logo. It includes Top 10 lists of the most e-mailed articles, the articles with the most links from bloggers and the most-often-searched keywords.
The redesigned site has also been "highly optimized for search engines," said Rob Larson, director of product management and development at NYTimes.com. A section called Times Topics, based on the annual index to the extensive contents of the paper, helps users access articles on thousands of people (living and dead), places, events and more.
Nisenholtz is especially enthusiastic about a part of the redesign that has not yet been launched-MyTimes, an area designed to "build communities of interest" and allow users to personalize and aggregate information or access MyTimes created by Times staffers. MyTimes will soon be rolled out in beta form, said Nisenholtz, who declined to reveal an exact launch date. -M.G.