OPINION: What stories do you click on?

One of the most interesting aspects of being The Chief’s editor is the deep dive into analytics we can do.

I have always loved walking down the back alleys behind houses rather than down the road so I can see how people really live, rather than how they present themselves.

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Looking at readers’ analytics is a bit like that.

So what do Squamish readers really like to click on?

Well, for the most part, it isn’t arts or sports stories, as much as we love to present ourselves as a cultured and sporty town.

Before you write angry letters, this is not to say that those stories don’t have value or that we won’t be publishing them anymore.

We also know that our print readers and online readers may be interested in different things. And that, as the paper of record in Squamish, we have a duty to record for history, not just page views.

So arts and sports stories will continue.

Online analytics are merely a snapshot of what readers are looking at, not the whole picture, and we get that.

But it is hella-interesting, nonetheless.

Our two top read stories in the last 30 days were, “Highway 99 closed north of Lillooet due to slope movement” and “Product seized from two Squamish cannabis dispensaries.”

Overall, our most-read stories, according to our analytics, involve crime — in particular arrests and white-collar crime.

Popular social stories of this vein, which are categorized separately, are stories that include violence and abuse.

We care about people and their safety, this tells me.

Business stories, specifically those about real estate, rank the second highest on our site.

Stories about travel and hobbies also do well.

For October, The Chief’s website had more than 300,000 pageviews.

About 70% of those come from mobile visits. More than 40% of our online readers get to our site from our social media posts.

Squamish loves its Facebook pages, despite the negativity often found in the comments.

Though many tell us that “no one reads past the headlines,” thankfully that isn’t true.

Most people spend about two minutes on each story and 88% of our readers finish the whole article. Well done!

So what does all this mean? For us, it means that a lot of people are reading our stories and that is validating.

Knowing what people like to read does encourage us to pay more attention to those types of topics.

For readers, perhaps these analytics could encourage you to think critically about what you choose to click on. Are you delving into a range of topics for a well-rounded diet of news? Or are you snacking constantly on lighter dishes?

Perhaps a shameful plug, but it should be noted that the advantage of our print paper is that you get a balanced meal of stories on all sorts of topics, all in one place. Also, with print, you only get Squamish news. No temptation to click away and see what that celebrity — or U.S. president — tweeted.

Regardless of what you read, we’re grateful so many of you choose to read us.

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