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The Hill Tops Ranking of Traffic-Soaring News Sites in 2015

The year was bleak for US online publishers on average, but select sites posted big jumps in readership

Election day is still months away, but the political news site The Hill has already emerged as a winner of the campaign season.

The Hill’s enjoyed the greatest leap in year-on-year traffic of any US publisher in November, jumping 72 percent according to a ranking from Israel-based monitor SimilarWeb.

It was followed by Tech Times with a 69 percent increase in traffic and a 65 percent climb by Bustle, a site targeting young women.

The landscape was treacherous for most online publishers, however. On average, US news sites faced a 14 percent decline. For the ranking, SimilarWeb compared the snapshot of traffic for November with the same month a year earlier.

“U.S. audiences now spend more than a tenth of their time while online reading and sharing news stories,” said Joel Zand, digital insights manager for SimilarWeb. “However the ability to generate year-over-year growth for publishers is extremely difficult in a challenging market with constant innovation and new players.”

He noted that widely recognized names still dominate for sheer volume of traffic, but smaller sites that focused on reporting niche topics and being a vital source of news for their audiences found success in year-on-year growth.

Overall, the most viewed news sites, for absolute visits and not year-over-year gains, were CNN (313 million visits a month), The New York Times (202.8 million), Yahoo News (198 million), Huffington Post (190.5 million), Fox News (167 million) and BuzzFeed (148.6 million).
The following is the full list of high-growth publishers:
  1. thehill.com (72%)
  2. techtimes.com (69%)
  3. bustle.com (65%)
  4. breitbart.com (55%)
  5. newsweek.com (32%)
  6. idigitaltimes.com (31%)
  7. bbc.com (27%)
  8. vice.com (25%)
  9. nypost.com (24%)
  10. mic.com (13%)