Inside NCNow: Storms draw the most viewers to NorthCountryNow.com, but updating without electricity can be a challenge
Sunday, December 30, 2012 - 5:32 pm

By BILL SHUMWAY

What news events draw the most traffic to NorthCountryNow.com? Storms.

With the year coming to an end, we looked back last week to find out which stories were the most popular in 2012.

The winner? The July 17 thunderstorm that ripped roofs from several downtown Potsdam buildings and uprooted hundreds of trees, with 157,825 page views that day. You can read one of the stories about the storm at northcountrynow.com/news/roofs-blown-two-downtown-potsdam-businesses-man-trapped-briefly-liquor-store-061966

The lead-up to Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29, which ultimately fizzled in St. Lawrence County, was a close “number two,” with 137,344 page views.

Runners-up were about a half-dozen days when winter snowstorms and ice cancelled or delayed school. Total page views on those days ranged from 102,000 to 110,000.

Normally, NorthCountryNow.com receives 75,000 to 95,000 page views each weekday.

The spikes in traffic experienced on July 17 and Oct. 29 were actually uncommon for NorthCountryNow.com.

According to figures from Google Analytics and Quantcast.com, our website has a solid base of devoted viewers who visit the site twice a day, on average, regardless of whether there is “breaking news.”

Day to day, viewership patterns don’t vary much. The number of people checking out the site usually peaks between 8 to 9 a.m., when 2,100 to 2,400 visit on weekdays.

The number of visits tapers off slightly as the day goes on, with between 1,600 and 2,000 people logging in each hour through 8 or 9 p.m. each weekday.

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Our coverage of the powerful storm on July 17 required some extra creativity after most of the greater Potsdam area lost power for several hours. Nonetheless, the first stories and photos of the storm appeared on our website about an hour after the storm struck.

Since the area was left without electricity, we updated NorthCountryNow.com with a battery-powered laptop connected to the internet via WiFi from a neighboring business operating a generator. NorthCountryNow.com was the only local media to provide significant reporting, photos and video of the storm on the day it happened.

Ultimately, more than a dozen stories were posted online. News Editor Craig Freilich, Assistant General Manager Debbie Morgan and Marketing Manager John Basham, along with more than a dozen viewers, took dozens of photos that were also posted.

Two slide shows were ultimately created and two videos of roofs being ripped from buildings sent by viewers were also posted. One of the slide shows can be viewed at northcountrynow.com/slideshow/thunderstorm-damages-buildings-boats-spews-debris-potsdam-and-st-lawrence-county

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Don’t forget to visit us on New Year’s Day.

Even on legal holidays, we update NorthCountrynow.com three times during the day.

This Tuesday, you can count on seeing new stories, photos and community events listings, along with updated police blotter items and obituary postings.