Posted on November 24, 2016

My most popular blog posts of the last year and what I’ve learnt from them

lifestyle

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It’s getting to that time of year now where I’m thinking about the this past year and where the next one will take me. I always get a bit.. I’m not sure what the word is. What I’m trying to say is that I look over the past year to reflect on what has been good and what has been bad and see what learnings I’ll bring into the next.

Reflective. Yes. I guess that’s what I mean.

One of the things I like to do is see which of my blog posts were most popular. I judge this by seeing which blog post has had most page views, as this is the easiest.

2016-24

Here are my top 5 most read blog posts:

  1. So what IS the best camera for blogging?
  2. I’m the idiot that bought a fake Naked palette?
  3. How I tripled my traffic from Twitter in just a week.
  4. How To Use Google Analytics // The Basics
  5. Aldi Christmas 2016

I think the thing I’ve learnt the most, looking at these, is that you can never tell which blog posts will take off.

A lot of us dream of finding that secret ingredient to having a post go viral, but the truth is, there is no secret. It’s a case of if the conditions are right, then you win.

Post 1, 2 and 5 are popular because they rank high in Google.

You can only look back on Webmaster Tools for 3 months, but in the past 3 months, these are the terms people have searched the most that have brought them to my site:

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I wish I could say that I did something different with these 3 blog posts that made them much more popular than the rest, but I think it was a combination of the following things:

  • I picked the right keywords
  • I put the right Alt tags in the images
  • People were searching a lot for those things
  • I was lucky

It seems that when something is doing well in search, it’ll continue to do well. Also, it’s difficult to try and create the same hype with similar keywords in a different post. I tried to see if I could get lucky and wrote a post about the Best Blogging Cameras out in 2016, but it didn’t do particularly well. It was a pretty average post for me and I had expected it might have picked up a few more hits on Google.

Search Engine traffic is wonderful though, because it’s really passive. I always had to work hard on my page views, mostly by commenting on other peoples blog posts and getting them to return the favour. Which is a great way to get views and build a community but then if you are too busy to do this all the time and stop commenting as much, your views fall off a cliff. I feel like this year I’ve managed to keep high page views even when I’ve not had time to be as active in the community.

The 3rd post is thanks to Twitter. When I first published that blog post, it went nuts on Twitter. It continues to do so. I still tweet the link to it and it always gets plenty of views.

It takes a special kind of post to get views and RTs on Twitter. I’ve had a few that have exploded on there and still get a lot of attention when I post the link months later. Other posts just don’t seem to get any attention. What I’ve learnt from this is when I blog post does well, keep posting it. If I’ve tweeted a link a few times and hardly got any views from it, I won’t bother tweeting it again. Stick to the stuff that works for you. I use Buffer to see which tweets are getting the most clicks.

I have a vague idea what posts do well on Twitter – these tend do be blog tips, motivational, self-improvement or stories about something bad I’ve experienced. Reviews hardly ever get clicks, although every so often one will get a bit of attention. I never expected the post about the Fake Naked Palette to do so well, but it did on both social media and in Google.

The 4th post became popular thanks to StumbleUpon. Now, if you think getting a post to go viral on Google or Social Media is hard, then StumbleUpon is even more of a minefield. Someone submitted the blog post to Stumble and after a few days, it got thousands and thousands of views. Stumble is a weird one, you peak quickly and then after about 5 days, it’s all over. Now the post does okay on Twitter and gets a few hits from Stumble, but it’s probably peaked now and I think it’ll slowly get less and less views.

The most valuable lesson from seeing what my top blog posts are has to be that piece of advice that is often echoed among pro bloggers – do not rely on one source for traffic.

It’s clear here that multiple sources can work for you in different ways and the amount of plugins and apps out there make it very easy to automate most of the work for you.

So, the advice I’d give anyone after analysing my top posts:

  • SEO SEO SEO SEO. Your images, your URL, your subtitles and your headlines.
  • Promote all blog posts across all social media.
  • Submit links to StumbleUpon.
  • Use Pinterest.
  • Set up your posts to they automatically post to Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr when you hit publish.
  • Promote your most popular content on Twitter over and over.
  • Never expect a post to take off, but embrace it when it does.

What are your most popular posts from the last year and what made them so popular?

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8 Comments

  • Reply Sarah November 24, 2016 at 7:53 am

    It’s funny what does and doesn’t take off. I was having a mooch at my most popular posts from the past year and it seems to be a real mixed bag! I’ve got one event round up that went nuts, a beauty box review that went crazy, a couple of my Disney posts have and continue to do really well on Twitter and one of my brand collabs from the past year STILL rakes in the views. Can I see a pattern or a niche in here? Nope! I think I just got lucky!

    Sarah 🙂
    Saloca in Wonderland
    Sarah recently posted…Lush Lock In – Christmas 2016My Profile

  • Reply Anca November 24, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Well done! It’s interesting how one was popular due to twitter and another one due to google and so on.

    I have no idea which are my most popular posts. I will have a look :))
    Anca recently posted…Tate ModernMy Profile

  • Reply sonia // daring coco November 24, 2016 at 9:17 am

    These are great tips. I’ve actually never really looked into my most read, unless you count the favourites widget on my blog. I’m intrigued to check it out now. I did have a plan to do so actually, but I just haven’t had time. Going to bookmark these links so I can delve into them deeper

    Sxx
    http://www.daringcoco.com
    COMME des GARCONS GIVEAWAY

  • Reply Amy November 24, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    It’s so true that you never know which posts are going to take off! It’s always the ones I don’t think are going to do as well that end up getting lots of views!
    Amy xx
    http://www.callmeamy.co.uk

  • Reply Kaitlynn Marie November 24, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    I could find out my most popular posts but I have no clue why they were so popular. I just write and publish and share and don’t focus as much as I should. It works for now but maybe in the future I’ll be more inclined to make posts go “viral” or something.
    Kaitlynn Marie recently posted…My Tattoos & PiercingsMy Profile

  • Reply Shireen L. Platt November 24, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    My negative reviews are usually the ones that people like the most and I only started using StumbleUpon a few months back. I don’t think it generates much traffic but who knows maybe there’ll be a post that takes off in the future.
    Shireen L. Platt recently posted…BRAND SPOTLIGHT: Rodial MakeupMy Profile

  • Reply Erin November 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    I have two posts (both Jeffrey Star published before he started selling on BB, and when you had to order from his website) and they rank higher than Beauty Bay when you type it into google… so every time he launches anything new my views go up, took me AGES to figure out why people kept commenting on it lol, SEO is a funny thing… but it has never happened again lol

  • Reply Lucy November 25, 2016 at 2:03 am

    It’s funny what does well and what doesn’t. Its really unpredictable. It does seem though that help or big brand posts do much better Lucy x
    Lucy recently posted…Baby essentialsMy Profile

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