"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
January 24, 2011

Most Read Blogposts Of 2010

A recent look through the Google analytics gave me some food for thought. I was curious to find the blogposts from 2010 that had drawn the most readers. I was used to seeing a lot of recent articles in list of highest ranked posts. This year was different. Most of the posts in the top […]

A recent look through the Google analytics gave me some food for thought. I was curious to find the blogposts from 2010 that had drawn the most readers. I was used to seeing a lot of recent articles in list of highest ranked posts.

This year was different.

Most of the posts in the top twenty-five were not recent and, in fact, some were quite old. Digging around it became clear that Google searches, especially for key words and brand names, were bringing a lot of readers to the blog. In fact, although incoming links from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, along with inbound links from other blogs still drive a lot of traffic to new articles, that traffic is really only a fraction of the total readership that finds its way here.

As an example, here are blogposts that drew the most traffic to this site in 2010.

Berklee Guitar Certificate – makes sense that this post, on completing a programme with Berklee College of Music’s highly regarded (but somewhat expensive) online programme would attract interest.

Logic Pro Icons – I was surprised to see this post, from 2007, still attracting readers. Made me realise that I could be writing a lot more about Logic Pro’s features.

A Franciscan Blessing – this simple post, from 2006, has always attracted a lot of readers from Google keyword searches.

Tom Ford Menswear In Hong Kong – I guess if I wanted traffic for the sake of traffic, I could blog about fashion and brand names. Anyway, the Tom Ford store finally did open, but sometime later and in a different location of that mall.

Inspiration And/Or Creativity – this was my most successful long essay of 2010. The average site time of close to five minutes suggests that a lot of visitors are actually read the whole thing. Being added by link to the original post shows that link-traffic from other blogs is still worthwhile (and possibly trumps social media links for sustained interest).

Gordon-Conwell Offer Free Online Theology Certificate – it is a mystery to me why this somewhat obscure post still attracts readers. Maybe it comes down to the way the title taps into commonly searched for keywords.

On The Waterfront – I make a point of reviewing everything I see as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival. However, those reviews seldom attract much traffic. This one was different. Perhaps it was the Barrie Kosky reference in the comments. Or, maybe it was the unusually caustic tone with which I critiqued the play.

It Helps, Now And Then, To Step Back And Take A Long View – Another prayer, again from 2006, that has consistently received solid traffic. There’s a pattern here!

Re- Words – I’m a little embarrassed by this one. It’s a poorly thought out and poorly written blogpost that attracted no comments, but lots of traffic when I first published it. And, amazingly, it still does well today. Beats me.

The iPad Thing – rounding out the top ten is a plain, straight up and down tech piece on the iPad. Droll and uninspiring perhaps. But, there’s plenty of interest in these sorts of articles.

While the idea of creating blogposts purely as a way to attract traffic doesn’t interest me – writing articles that reflect this life I live in important. For example, I could be writing more pieces like Logic Tips – Matching Tempo And Loops which was just outside the top ten. After all, I’m using that programme every day.

Moreover, my old film reviews, like this one for Blood Diamond, always seem to rate well. It’s ironic that I stopped writing film reviews because they attracted less traffic than other topics, but the reviews seem to keep attracting traffic long after more topical posts die off.

Perhaps that’s part of the big shift for bloggers. We used to write for something called the “blogosphere,” where our most recent, topical and controversial posts were all that mattered. But, now we just “create content” for web users to mine and search through Google. In this latter version of the web, even our simplest and oldest posts might turn out to be our most successful.

And, that is worth thinking about.

Mike Mahoney 13 years ago

I love trying to figure out what drives people to my blog, especially the popular posts. Even though I think of myself as a church and music blogger, by far my most popular posts are ones on Linux and music production.

I had stopped doing movie reviews, because frankly, I don’t see that many movies in theaters anymore. But a couple of things happened that made me rethink that: I saw (like you) those posts seem to have legs; I got invited to a free pre-release movie screening because of my reviews; and a couple of months ago, I was having coffee with Nick Champlin (remember him?) and he was telling me how much he liked them.

I agree with you. I blog primarily for me… I find it’s most genuine that way.

Jake T 13 years ago

I found, on my blog (when I was writing on it ;)), that despite the fact that my regular readership was very small, I could get a decent amount of traffic, just by writing good content that I knew people would look for (mostly the solutions to problems I found myself solving).

I pretty quickly changed my mind about what I was doing–I wasn’t part of the blogosphere, per se–I was writing content on a website.

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

Mike – Of course I remember Nick. Did he ever get around to moving his writing onto a blog?

Blogging is most interesting to me, as a writer or reader, when it flows from the stuff we do. I like to watch films and only really stopped writing reviews because it didn’t feel like a good investment of time. It’s something to ponder. Same with the music production stuff. I find writing posts about that a little dry, but there’s clearly a need out there and I’m doing that stuff everyday…

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

Jake – that’s a good point. I’m increasingly unsure that I even belong to something called the blogosphere anymore. That idea was important to me a while back – it gave this game a sense of community. But, that’s all fragmented now. Just because I still feel a bond to some fellow bloggers I’ve known for a while doesn’t mean there’s some greater, mythical league of bloggers out there.

Once the initial (small) gang of readers take in the new material, it all becomes part of a giant pool of content for people to search through. It’s a challenging notion – perhaps it calls us to drop the name blogger altogether and just call ourselves writers?

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