Most-Viewed Posts of 2012

Graph showing growthIf you are a blogger, you owe it to yourself to study your blog stats at least annually, if not more often. It’s fascinating what you can learn and how much you can improve your blogging by paying attention to your traffic patterns. In just a few minutes of looking at my most popular post rankings for 2012, I gleaned some useful tidbits:

♦ My “About” page and other informational pages (Submission Guidelines, etc.) are viewed much more often than I’d realized, which reminded me to keep them up-to-date.  It’s annoying reading a blogger’s “About” page that’s clearly not current.

♦ Of my 40 most-viewed posts of 2012, only 24 were written and posted in 2012. My archives get a lot of action, especially on basic topics such as titling your book, writing an author bio, and writing a query letter. This tells me I can probably reach even more readers if I occasionally tweet links to these perennial posts.

♦ The most-read posts correspond roughly to the “Popular Posts” list that always appears on my blog sidebar.

♦ The posts that get the most comments are NOT the same as the ones that get the most traffic. I have to be careful to avoid weighing the number of comments too heavily when assessing the relative success of various blog posts, remembering to look at the actual pageviews over longer periods of time.

Here are my 10 most-viewed posts in 2012. You’ve probably seen them already, but if  not, check out whatever you missed!

1. How to Title Your Book (2010)

2. How to Get Published (2011)

3. How to Write a Terrific Author Bio (2011)

4. If Shakespeare Had Written The Three Little Pigs (2012)

5. How to Write a Book Proposal (2011)

6. 7 Bad Habits of Successful Authors (2012)

7. Identify Your Novel’s Genre (2012)

8. How to Make a Living as a Writer, Part 1 and Part 2 (2012)

9. How to Write a Query Letter (2011)

10. Pinterest: 13 Things Writers Should Know (2012)

Have you analyzed your blog or website stats lately? If so, what have you learned? If not, what’s holding you back?

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  • http://www.gabrielle-meyer.blogspot.com Gabrielle Meyer

    Rachelle, I missed a few on your list, so I’ll have to go back and check them out!

    I have analyzed my stats and I find that people like to read my posts about faith, parenting and marriage the most. I write on a whole range of topics, but when I get personal and real, people resonate with my message. I love reading the comments, but it’s the personal emails, or people stopping me at church, the grocery store or even my daughter’s school, to tell me how much it meant to them, that really matters.

    I’m switching up my blog a little bit this year to keep it more focused and reliable. I want my readers to know what they’re getting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

  • http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/ Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    My most popular posts have been on faith and relationships. That would REALLY be surprising to people who knew me…not that long ago, now.

    I’ve also found that putting in the occasionaly humorous post has helped. It’s not something I want to overdo.

    I post very nearly everyday, which has been challenging, but it’s a challenge I enjoy more and more. At first I almost dreaded “blogging time” (which is around midnight), but now I look forward to it.

  • http://doubtingwriter.blogspot.com/ jeffo

    I need to get Google Analytics, because blogger’s built-in tools don’t tell me enough. And while I can tell you what my most popular posts are, I can’t necessarily tell you why they are popular, or who they are popular with.

  • http://theotherstephenkingonwriting.blogspot.com Stephen H. King

    How interesting, that 6 of the 10 of your top entries start with “How to….” Thank you for the observation regarding tweeting these archived posts; I’ll make use of that as well.

    I was looking at my own (shorter) history of blog action this weekend, matter of fact. Far and away, the most looked-at post in my list was the one where I announced that I was breaking away from my publisher. That one generated a lot of angst, though, so it’s not surprising. #2 was one of the very first posts I wrote, a sort of whimsical beast titled “Adverbs Suck.” Also on the list are a couple of the author interviews I’ve posted.

    Looking through the list, though, I can tell when I successfully hit one out of the park as far as resonating with people.

    – TOSK

    • http://annemartinfletcher.wordpress.com/ Anne Martin Fletcher

      Ugh. Stephen, like you, I see I need to tweet about my most popular posts — that also start with “How … .” “How to Help a Soldier,” “How to Tell if a Cadet Needs Help,” “How to Read Hurricane Prediction Maps.” Since I have not blogged at all since November, does this alleviate me from actually writing new posts? :-)

      • http://theotherstephenking.com Stephen H. King

        Interesting you should ask that. My own posting frequency went way down after I broke a collarbone and a few ribs in October, yet the visits to my blog continued unabated. Now I’m hammering out a post a day as part of a challenge (specifically, a challenge to blog once a day for 365 days). Seeing traffic increase slightly but not hugely. But then again, my blog has never been about generating traffic but instead about getting in some good writing practice while chronicling my progress.

        – TOSK

  • Susan

    I’m getting ready to resubmit a proposal and wonder if I should mention that I’ve gotten professional advice about the rewrite. Does anyone have an opinion?

  • Roxanne Sherwood Gray

    Rachelle, I’d missed a few of these and look forward to reading the one with an intriguing title about Shakespeare and pigs. ;-) I blog with a group of writers but will soon start my own. So this is perfect timing. Thanks so much for your insight!

    • Jeanne T

      I was thinking the same thing, Roxanne. ;)

  • http://www.janellrardon.com Janell Rardon

    Rachelle,
    While sitting in my mom’s hospital room, wordpress surprised me with a detailed annual review of my blog! Little did I know that they even offered such a service. I check Google Analytics regularly, but their review was not only informative, but a great deal of fun to look at. I was definitely surprised to see that my most looked at post was about “Hearing God’s Voice.” Who on earth would have thought that? I was taken back by that. I had posted AND VLOG’d (spelling? :)on that subject after speaking to college women about finding their “calling”-a subject they requested. In light of that, I will certainly be writing more about that in 2013.

    All in all, the surprise stats encouraged me right when I needed it. Having spent the last three and a half years finishing up my Masters, time was limited and I was constantly beating myself up about it! But, the stats quieted my inner ambitions and assured me that as always, GOD blesses even our meager offerings when they are earnest. Ah, relief. Thanks, Rachelle, for always encouraging us to do our best! Blessings on you 2013!

  • http://livingawritinglife.blogspot.com Jennine G.

    I also pay attention to topics of the posts with the most page views because those are the types of things that I need to write about more often if it is what my readers are coming to see.

  • Jeanne T

    Rachelle, definitely a great suggestion for when I begin my own blog. I’m with Roxanne, I need to check out the Shakespeare and the three pigs post. :) Thanks!

  • Joanne Wiklund

    Rachelle: I have a blog, I check my stats often. I’m surprised at the number of countries involved. I wonder if they are really pageviews or if people actually read this, since I’m not getting many comments. I’ve tried to encourage people by asking questions, but still no comments. Got any ideas to help with getting comments?

  • http://www.danerickson.net Dan Erickson

    I would say we ought to study our blog stats monthly. I have the opposite problem and study mine a few times per week, probably too often.

  • http://www.joycetremel.com Joyce Tremel

    In addition to the regular blog stats, I have a Feedjit widget on my sidebar that lets me know in real time who is visiting. I’m not sure how valuable it is, but it’s fun to see.

    My most popular post is one I wrote back in 2008 about my (former) job as a police secretary. I never would have guessed so many people wanted to know about that. And the posts I wrote I thought would be popular, aren’t!

  • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

    Yes, WordPress surprised me with some end of the year stats. I was heartened. I had no idea so many were lurking and never commenting. It heightens the sense of responsibility to write well when you know it is not just for yourself. Others are reading.

  • http://www.tudorrobins.ca Tudor

    Rachelle, I’m not surprised about the popularity of “How to Title Your Book” – I used that post to get the title for my book!

    I also loved your “One-sentence summary” post and, yes, I now have a one-sentence summary I’m very happy with.

    Thanks for your practical good advice…

  • http://vaughnroycroftblog.com Vaughn Roycroft

    One thing that stood out for me: the two most viewed posts of the year were two that I never shared in social media (myself). I think I eased off (read: chickened out) on promoting them because the content made me feel vulnerable. Hence their appeal? Interesting stuff. Long time lurker, first time commenter, here. Thanks for all your wise content, Rachelle!

  • http://thoughtsthatmove.blogspot.com/ Wendy Paine Miller

    My book club and dog posts get a lot of hits. Makes me want to write a book about a book club for dogs. Okay, not really.

    Also, whenever I blog about writing or communication my traffic spikes.

    I’m encouraged posts by guest bloggers are well-trafficked.

    It intrigues me what draws people and I like to pay attention.

  • http://www.meghancarver.blogspot.com Meghan Carver

    Rachelle, I have a blog planner for this year (yay for organization!) which has a page in the back for keeping track of monthly numbers. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to quantify growth over the course of the year. My hindrance right now with analyzing 2012 stats is that I haven’t figured out Google Analytics. It’s on my to-do list. Thanks for the push to get that done.

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  • http://marcusdehart.com/site Marcus

    Hey, Rachelle.

    This is great insight. I had some comments about interpreting metrics, especially when looking at traffic versus comments. You can read my post on my blog: http://marcusdehart.com/site/2013/01/14/interpreting-your-blog-metrics-traffic-pageviews-and-comments/

    ^MD

  • http://ohsusannah.blogspot.co Celia Jolley

    I blog daily with a slice of life, quotes, a scripture, and usually flavored with humor. I, too, am encouraged at the different countries it reaches (hopefully it’s true). That satisfies my goal of being a blessing at ohsusannahwesleyan.blogspot.com.

  • http://evilnymphstuff.wordpress.com Daphnée Kwong Waye

    Every end of year, WordPress sends me an annual report of my blog stats. So interesting to study that. Often the posts that are most viewed are those I least expect… Sometimes, it is the post I wrote without any preparation that is the most continuously clicked on, and vice versa… I thus believe that I should just write whatever I like, because I really can’t predict my stats or my reader’s anticipation on future posts.

  • http://davidatodd.com David Todd

    Good post, Rachelle. I almost never check the stats at my blog, figuring those who visit visit and those who don’t don’t. I guess I need to start.

  • http://aarsi-reflections.blogspot.com/ Navdeep Kaur

    I love looking at my blog statistics. It’s so interesting to see what your readers find most interesting and where your audience comes from. Blogspot allows me to look at these statistics on a regular basis and even see what search terms may have led someone to my blog.

    I’m bookmarking some of your most viewed posts to increase the view count and my knowledge. :)

  • http://www.peterdehaan.com/ Peter DeHaan

    I recently did this for my blogs. I was shocked that for one of the blogs a few of the top ten posts for this year were from 2008. They’re four years old and still being read. It amazes me.

  • http://thewritingplace.wordpress.com/ Carol Benedict

    I was surprised that my blog receives as many views when I don’t post as when I do. It’s encouraging to think my older posts still have value, but it doesn’t motivate me to blog regularly. Since I don’t feel pressured to blog, however, I enjoy it much more when I do.

  • http://www.kristaphillips.com Krista Phillips

    I do analyze mine, although the last few years, it’s skewed a bit because I have a definite huge influx of views when Annabelle is sick or in the hospital.

    And since I’d rather her stay OUT of the hospital, I’m honestly thrilled that they are down a bit lately!

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