The 90/10 Of Blogging – How To Write Popular Posts

Check this post The 90/10 Of Blogging – How To Write Popular Posts from Freestyle Mind:

Last week I decided to analyze my blog traffic stats, as well as other popular blogs looking for patterns of what makes a good blog post. My goal was to eventually extract a few rules that I could then use for my future posts.

What I learned is that there are indeed solid patterns that we can follow when writing articles that are going to be published online.

The following guide will be useful for bloggers, but it would be extremely cool if non bloggers would share their opinion of what they’re looking for when reading something online.

ANALYSIS OVERVIEW

For this analysis, I first went over to Google Analytics and analyzed my most visited posts since I have started blogging last year. The picture below represents the number of visits for my most popular posts:

At this point I started analyzing each post asking myself: why did this post went popular? Here are a few observations based on my analysis:

  • All posts are either lists posts or they have a very good structure made of titles, paragraphs and lists.
  • All posts provide a lot of value, and they generally cover a topic in great detail.
  • All posts are either something of general interest for people, like the mental math tricks post, or they provide something controversial, like the law of attraction post. The perfect mix seems to be interesting and controversial.

I then tested my assumptions by researching other popular posts on different blogs. I wanted to see if the patterns I found on my blog were still valid on the other blogs as well. Here’s what I found:

Four Hour Work Week

The Four Hour Work Week is a blog about lifestyle design. Here are the most popular posts on the blog (link):

I analyzed the first 10 posts, and they all presents something of interest to people. They all solve some kind of problem in an interesting and new way, which you would rarely heard elsewhere. They’re generally not list posts, but they have a clear structure that is easy to follow.

Copyblogger

Copyblogger is a blog about copywriting tips for bloggers. Here are the most popular posts on the blog (link):

The majority of these posts are either lists posts, or they tend to give some controversial information. The posts on Copyblogger are easy to follow and provide great details, which is probably the reason of its popularity. I also believe that headlines play an important role on this blog.

I then analyzed other popular blogs, but the results were similar, so I omitted them from this analysis.

Lesson learned

Is there something that we can learn from this analysis? Based on the data we have, I think it’s safe to say that there is indeed a common pattern that we can follow. Here’s a summary based on my observations:

  • Write lists posts or structured posts. List posts are great because they are very easy to scan, and they tend to work very well on many social media websites where people want to know what they’re reading about in a matter of seconds. If you can’t make a list post, the next best option is to have a very structured post. Use titles, images and paragraphs to make your post as readable as possible.
  • Provide massive value. If you don’t provide value in your post, I’m not going to share it with my friends, and I’m not going to subscribe. Why would I want to anyway? In order to provide massive value, you have to cover a topic in deep detail, even if that means that you have to spend hours working on it.
  • Must be something interesting. All the posts that I’ve analyzed (with some minor exceptions) presents something interesting that people didn’t know about, but that they somehow wanted to know about. Controversy content also works very well, as well as personal experiments.
  • Should have a good headline. I once thought that having a great headline was only good for social media promotion. The reality is that the majority of people will decide whether to read your post or not based only on your headline, so make sure you have a very good one.

I now honestly believe, based on these data, that it’s far better to post one time per week, or even one time every two week by following the tips provided above rather than having a strict deadline and trying to come up with mediocre content each time.

What are your observations?

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