200,000 join the Echo's online revolution

The Sunderland Echo website has reached a landmark – being read by 200,000 people.

Last month 216,000 users visited the website, which is well over double last year's figure for January of 79,000.

This achievement cements the Echo's commitment to making our website accessible to as many users as possible, as well as improving its content.

Sunderland Echo Digital Editor Lee Hall said: "More and more people are logging on because we're publishing news fast and first – from traffic chaos as it happens, to Saturday's match reports, filed when the players are still in the team bath.

"We've had a serious shift in emphasis at Echo House now that we can deliver up-to-the-minute news directly to the homes of our readers."

Sunderlandecho.com is the first place to look for the latest news as it is updated 24 hours a day, seven days a week by our dedicated digital team.

Stories from the paper are brought to life on the website using slideshows to showcase the photos we could not squeeze into the paper, videos, and podcasts which allow you to hear the views of our experts while you drive to work.

Sport has become the most successful area of our site with daily hits regularly in the thousands.

Lee said: "The people of Sunderland love their sport, so it's no surprise that our big transfer scoops, exclusive player interviews and Premier League video highlights are proving to be a smash hit."

Anyone who logs on to sunderlandecho.com can comment on articles, email photos and videos and even post their own reviews.

"This year's big target is improving interactivity," said Lee. "We're looking to introduce more ways to get involved with the website by giving users the chance to submit their own content.

"Expect to see more forums for debate and more community sections as we look to bring the people of Sunderland together online."

The increased user figure is also a massive benefit to online advertisers.

Nina Russell, marketing coordinator for Lumley Castle, in Chester-le-Street, said: "The number of click-throughs we get from sunderlandecho.com continues to grow every month.

"As a result of the amount of traffic that is coming through the homepage advert we are now considering different types of advertising like banners."

The figures measure "unique users" to give a true representation of readership, only counting each user once, no matter how many times he or she visits the site.