Talking of homepage traffic, Zachary Seward has actually looked into the NYT homepage traffic for Quartz:
Traffic to the New York Times homepage fell by half in the last two years, according to the newspaper’s internal review of its digital strategy.
Is that indicative of an overall fall?
Overall traffic to the Times isn’t falling; it’s just coming in through the “side door” more often.
So, no, then.
As the report itself says:
Traffic to the home page has been declining, month after month, for years. Traffic to section fronts is negligible.
Yet, how much time and effort is going into producing that homepage and those section fronts? An amount massively out of proportion to the traffic, I’d suggest.
This is absolutely symptomatic of the problems with traditional publishers moving online. They bring the habits of print with them, they don’t use metrics intelligently to understand how traffic actually moves across and around the site, and they end up wasting time and effort in pointless pursuits.
We cannot afford this moronic head-in-the-sand attitude to how our readers actually use our sites.