It seems fairly normal here in the blogsphere to take an end-of-the-year look back at your most popular posts from the last twelve months. As this is Tech Tuesday, I’m going to do this slightly differently though and try to look at WHY each post was so successful.
Before I start, I will give the disclaimer that this is a fairly small blog – the most viewed post only got 527 views. I can’t tell you how to get thousands of pageviews a day because I haven’t worked it out myself yet but I can tell you what seems to work for me. So here goes:
- The most viewed post on this blog in 2009 was Ever Think God is Trying to Tell You Something? This post was popular because I was open, honest and forthcoming about the internal struggle I was going through and what I had learned from it. It really benefitted from a retweet by a very popular tweeter. Over sixty percent of the traffic came in the hour after he tweeted the post.
- How to Die to Yourself. Most of the traffic for this post came from Reddit.com. It was most likely the catchy title that drew in reddit.com readers. The post received very few comments, which is probably due in part to the fact that it had a different readership base than most of my posts.
- With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. Most of the initial traffic that this post recieved was due to it being tweeted about by the same popular tweeter as the #1 post. However, it has had regular visits ever since due to its title. Almost every day people arrive at it from Google searches.
- So What Should We Do With The Bible? This was a guest post written by Marla Taviano. Much of the traffic came from Marla’s regular blog readers but the controversial topic also created a lot of discussion and additional traffic.
- A few posts recieved large amounts of traffic due to me hosting a blog carnival. The carnival has not resulted in a huge amount of additional traffic to this blog every day but that is not the aim of doing it so I’m quite happy with it anyway.
- How to Live for Christ. This is the second ‘how to’ post in the top ten. It has recieved consistent traffic from Google searches because the title suggests that it answers a question which lots of people are asking.
- Definititon of Worship. Although this post did not get many comments or many retweets, it’s title has drawn a lot of Google search traffic.
- Is it Time for You to Have an Affair?Again, the provocative title brought in visitors from Reddit.com. This, however, is one of my personal favorites of the year and so I retweet it monthly, which invariably brings interest from readers who have only found my blog since the last time I mentioned it. I’m actually surprised it didn’t rank higher, but it doesn’t seem to generate much Google search traffic.
- In Search of Scooby Doo. This guest post, by the inimitable Billy Coffey should have had more visitors. My only guess is that the title needs a little work to make it more appealing. Watch for Billy later in the year as the release of his first book could be an overnight best-seller.
- Social Networking – it’s Time to Plan. In my not particularly humble opinion, anyone using or thinking of using social networking sites should read this post. It received possibly the most diverse readership of any post on my blog this year, probably due to the nature of the post.
- How Can I Contact You?This post was a tutorial, written to help people safely put their email address on their website. It was retweeted by many people the day it was written, which suggests that a lot of people thought it was a useful tutorial to pass on to their friends.
- Finally, I am NOT OKwas published on the 28th December and in that one day got enough views to push it above others which had been receiving constant traffic for months. I think the reason it was so popular was because of its raw honesty and that fact that many people were surprised that I would be prepared to so openly admit that I’m not OK. This post received the most comments of any post on this blog in the whole of 2009 – which really surprised me.
What I learn from looking at my most successful posts is:
- A great title really helps. I’ve been trying to learn the art of title writing. This resource is incredibly helpful in doing so.
- Being provocative or controversial is not necessarily a bad thing – providing you take care not to be offensive or alienate people.
- Openness and honesty is a great policy (isn’t it always?) Even online, people want to feel they can connect with you personally. People like to know that you’re fallible just like them.
- Retweets are great. The more you get, the better (if you want more people to read your blog). Retweets from uber-tweeps are like blogger gold!
I hope some of this helps you to write in a way which draws more readers in to your blog and engage them in such a way that they will keep coming back.
Have a great 2010!