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How many browser tabs do you have open right now?

For media companies (or anyone with a digital business), getting past the reader’s (aka your) short attention span is a major challenge. Content giants like AOL, CBS Interactive, The New York Times, and Comcast NBC Universal consistently rank among comScore’s top 50 visited websites, but still struggle to develop a loyal reader base and grow their revenue streams. Business opportunities may be strong, but the competition for eyeballs, clicks, and engagement is fierce.

The indexed web contains billions of pages. A recent Wired article  estimates that each day in 2013, 500 years of YouTube videos were watched on Facebook and more than 3 billion likes and comments were posted. On average, 700 videos were shared on Twitter each minute. The game has changed. People have more options. Keeping a reader on your site is harder today than it ever was.

It’s safe to say that all media companies find themselves at a crucial point in their evolution. Those companies that started 100+ years ago in the print-era, like The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, are now reevaluating their content creation and distribution models, inventing new engagement methods to sustain their reader base. Today, web-only publishers like Upworthy, Buzzfeed, and Refinery29 are popping up all over the place and fighting for your attention in creative and disruptive ways.

It’s common for media companies to invest heavily in traffic acquisition initiatives through paid channel advertising, SEO, social media and newsletter programs – web traffic is a media company’s core currency. A problem that media companies face, however, is that these traffic acquisition mechanisms are inefficient engines. When users come to your website, a portion will stick around to become lifetime readers, repeat website visitors, or paying customers – but many of your readers will never come back.

Does pouring more and more money into traffic acquisition ultimately result in higher revenue? If the answer isn’t yes- then there is a huge problem in the P&L.

This is where website optimization comes in. By increasing conversion rates, media companies can get a return on investment from the money they’re spending on traffic acquisition. In addition, creating better experiences through testing will transform visitors into loyal, engaged online and offline readers and thus increase ad revenue, pageviews and other crucial goals.

By employing website optimization as a methodology, media companies have unparalleled opportunities to grow and engage their audience—and their bottom line. Our brand new guide, The Ultimate Guide to Website Optimization for Media Companies provides the most in-depth and thorough crash course you’ll find.

This guide is based on experiences and data gleaned from working with companies like NBC Universal, CNN, and Forbes.