The figure of six million unique visitors (6,011,886 to be precise) for January was 13 percent higher than for January 2016. The figures come the month after we completed the rollout of our new design.
It was an exceptionally good month for our original site, thelocal.se, with 1.5 million visitors. The 830,000 visitors to our French site was double the figure from the previous January. The number of readers actually in France (as opposed to reading from elsewhere in the world) was also up 100 percent – and who could be surprised, with the fascinating race for the Elysée throwing up ever more surprises?
Similarly, our German site thelocal.de reached 797,000 readers, and the number of domestic readers was up 47 percent. Our sites in Italy and Spain each reached 454,000 and 453,000 respectively, after a year of steady growth. Our Swiss site reached 282,000 people, a 40 percent increase on January 2016.
So what is everyone reading?
The terrible avalanche in the Italian Alps was one of the most-read news stories of the month. Another major news item was a horrid story from Sweden of an alleged rape that was, according to witnesses, broadcast live on Facebook.
On a lighter note, some of our most popular articles are those that debunk myths about our countries. Our article explaining why the French aren't rude (it's true – French culture prizes politeness), became a real talking point.
Europe's reaction to Donald Trump's inauguration also caught people's attention – this expert bit of trolling by Germany's state railways was particularly popular.
On the kookier side, this story about how Madrid authorities are resorting to medieval technology – bows and arrows – to control the rising boar population in the city.
And in Switzerland, our interview with a Dutch woman who had been denied a Swiss passport after she launched a campaign against cowbells was cited by media around the world. What story could be more Swiss?
Indeed, what story could be more Scandinavian than Denmark's decision to appoint a digital ambassador to represent the country to tech giants like Apple, Google and Facebook. In Norway, we looked at why the state and church were divorcing, while in Austria we asked if you have what it takes to be a part-time hermit (yes, that's a real job).
We hope you'll keep reading. And if you have a business to market – why not check out what we offer advertisers? After all, 6 million readers can't be wrong.