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.
Here are my top 5 most read blog posts:
- So what IS the best camera for blogging?
- I’m the idiot that bought a fake Naked palette?
- How I tripled my traffic from Twitter in just a week.
- How To Use Google Analytics // The Basics
- 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:
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?