This was something I discussed at a panel session I was taking part in at yesterday's News:Rewired conference, organised by Journalism.co.uk, and I wanted to write briefly here about our ongoing efforts to improve the ways in which we link externally from our news articles.
Having asked for the figures from our research team for my presentation, it was great to hear that we appear to be well on track to achieve the goal set for us.
Looking back at the third quarter of 2010, we had an average of around 2.9m external click-throughs per month from UK users. That period - last year's July, August & September - was around the time of the redesign of the News website. That meant, among other changes, that the 'From other news sites' and 'Related internet links' sections moved from the right-hand side to the bottom of news stories. And we have also been doing more linking to external sources from within the text of story pages.
The figures for the third quarter of this year show that all this has had an effect, and it looks as though we've been getting something right. The monthly average is now around 6.1m click-throughs i.e. more than double what it was last year. One caveat is that there have been some big news stories over this period, including the August riots, Norway shootings and Amy Winehouse's death. Another caveat is that we are using a different method to measure the figures now, so whilst the comparison should be pretty accurate, there's a small margin for error."