After a couple years of blogging, I'm getting slightly better at predicting which of my posts will be the bigger "hits" with you. But sometimes my predictive powers aren't... well, let's just say I haven't unlocked the "psychic" level yet.
What You Can Learn From Your Most Popular Posts (and the Ones That Flopped)
I've learned to rely on a couple of very helpful metrics in my statistics to help me "read your mind" and produce better, and more helpful, content for you here on my blog.
Here's a few things that are worth watching on your blog:
Most Popular Posts Over Time
One surprising trend I spotted in my most popular posts of 2012 is that the majority of them were written in 2010 and 2011! How's that for proof that writing evergreen content is worth it?
Looking at what was the most popular this year -- and where that traffic came from -- shows me what my newsletter and blog subscribers are most interested in, what my search engine traffic is attracted to, and what's working to draw visitors from social media (each group results in different popular posts and you can see it in your stats if you dig deep enough).
Learn to model and repeat what works for you!
How you can track it: With the free JetPack plugin, you can view most popular posts/pages over different time periods. Other stats trackers should offer similar capability.
Most Commented Posts
This tells you what topics get your audience excited and fired up to the point that they want to share their thoughts. It's valuable because you can see exactly what's pushing their buttons.
Take time to dissect the posts that get a response. What was your topic? What emotions were involved? What questions did you ask and how did you phrase and format them? All those little things can be a model for future posts to generate more discussion.
Look for posts where your commenters interacted with each other, too. Watch the dynamics there and challenge yourself to recreate that.
Most Shared Posts
You might think the "most commented" and "most shared" would be the same posts, but in my experience they aren't.
As with most commented, take time to look at why the posts got shared. Look at your titles, your format (top 10 lists? how tos?), and which networks they got shared on the most.
This information will tell you a couple of interesting things about your audience:
- what they think their circle of influence is interested in (if they share it, they think their friends/connections would like it, right?)
- how they want to be seen (they're sharing to be helpful but also to build their own credibility and image)
How you can track it: Check out the Social Metrics plugin.
Most Ignored Posts
Raise your hand if you've ever written a post you thought would get a great response, but you got crickets. *raised hand* Yes, I have. (And hey look, I'm still blogging! Don't let it get you down when this happens.)
What can you learn from those posts? So many things!
Look at your content and consider whether it's a good fit with what you typically share. Maybe it wasn't what your readers were expecting or interested in learning from you. Sometimes unexpected works. Other times it doesn't.
Or maybe your content was good but missing those little things that take it from good to WOW. Review your title, your formatting, all the little pieces that play into how readers perceive content.
How you can track it: I'm betting you already know which posts to look at for this one...
Most Searched for Terms
When I checked my search trends last week I found quite a few readers were searching for "Navigator." I haven't posted a word about that here on my blog... which is a total miss on my part. Navigator is the coaching program I'm co-leading with Adam Urbanski that kicks off this week. You're looking for information about it and that means I need to be sharing more about it! I will, soon.
Looking at search terms also allows me to see what you expect me to be writing about and what you think I know about. Very interesting information and inspires quite a few new blog posts ideas for me.
How you can track it: Install the plugin Search Meter if you're on WordPress. Other platforms, ask your host how to track this.
What metrics do you track on your blog? Or, what metrics are you interested in watching after reading this post?
Are there any particular lessons, trends, or valuable intel you've picked up by watching these types of stats on your blog (or the blogs of others)?