Better Blogging / Blogging Tips / Tips Top Posts and Pages

imagesThere’s an interesting stats series being published on the blog that’s given me a lot of food for thought.

I have never been drawn to bean counting, but if one doesn’t look at the numbers then they don’t know as much as they could about how their articles are being received. 

Taking a look at your Top Posts and Pages gives you a quick, clear idea of what’s most popular. You can use this valuable data to inform future posts, but also to make sure your perennially popular content is polished and primed to turn a casual visitor into a die-hard reader.  via Stats Wrangling III: Top Posts and Pages — Blog —

Related posts:

Definition of Statistics: The science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures.- Evan Esar

Do the top posts and pages in your blog surprise you?

The Top Posts & Pages Widget allows you to display either your most liked posts or up to ten of your most popular posts in the last 48 hours. However, you don’t need to use the widget to access the numbers. Click the stats tab to find them. There you can click Summaries and find Top Posts for

This blog had hundreds of published posts before the like button was introduced. What surprises me is how the top four posts and pages never change.

Definition of a Statistician: A man who believes figures don’t lie, but admits than under analysis some of them won’t stand up either.” – Evan Esar

I know have published more informative and better written posts than these:

Home page / Archives
How to make HTML tables for your WordPress blog
5 free Grammar Checkers for Bloggers and Writers
Align Images: HTML Tables for WordPress Blogs

Are the top four posts and pages on your blog always the same too?

Does that annoy (oops! ) concern you?

Important Question: If you had to select four top posts or pages on my blog, based on the ones that were the most useful to you and excluding the Home/Archives page, what would they be?

Related posts found in this blog:
Hans Rosling’s Wonderful World of Statistics
Mastering Blog Metrics, Content Creation and Retaining Readers
Blogging is Big: Blogging Statistics
Blogging and Demographic Groups
Silver Surfers: The New Social Networking Wave

40 thoughts on “ Top Posts and Pages

  1. Perhaps because my blog is not even a year old, my top posts do change depending on the reporting period. Although, of course the homepage/archive and about page remains consistently at/near the top, which I would ignore.

    The first 7 days period shows me how effective marketing for the newly published posts for the week is.
    – By marketing I mean publicising it through twitter, facebook as well as participating to the daily prompt or to blog hops so that I can be easily found by existing and new readers.

    The 30 days helps to show me which content may be more popular within the month. Although it will not be truly accurate. Posts published earlier in the month will have more time to rack up the views. Comments showing engagement may be a fairer proxy metric in that sense.

    I look at the longer term stats for top posts to get a sense of the effectiveness of the SEO the inidividual pages. After the initial burst of marketing efforts at time of publication, posts that get a continuous SEO benefit from search engines will surface here consistently, whereas those that are short and not so optimised will be buried further in the list.

    I’m not sure if they will start to look the same if I had been blogging as long as you have. I do wish we have the option to deepdive into specific pages to see the breakdown of where the traffic come from because right now, alot I do is guesswork or proxy data. Haha.

    • It’s great getting to know you. Your reader senstive approach is defintely on track and stands as an example of what to do that new bloggers can look to.

      As I spend hours almost every day answering support forum quyestions I come up short on time for social networking and commenting. I’m not into blog hops, daily prompts or any kind of memes and if I had an abubndance of time I’d prefer to spend it on content creation as opposed to either diving into stats data or promoting my content. That’s pretty consistent with my personality type. I’m an introvert and though blogging has encouraged me to become more communative I think I’ve reached my limit.

      Like you also tend to ignore the homepage/archive and About page ranking as it’s almost always at or near the top. I’d like the ability to be able to remove some Top Posts and Pages from widget display only but there is no visibility setting in the Top Posts and Pages Widget.

      • Took some time to get back here :P your work on the forum questions is what led me to your site. That is a powerful traffic driver because it is so relevant to your blog content. At least I think so, although I don’t know if your stats will show this to be a fact or not. :)Daily prompts etc may not be that relevant to you in this case :)

        • Hello,
          I like answering support questions and Staff have been away at a meetup so I have been answering more than usual. The major source of traffic to my blog is search engine traffic and traffic from returning readers is the secondary source. I do get some traffic from the support forums but it certainly doesn’t reflect the hours I put in there almost every day. I answer questions there because I like doing it. However, I’m thinking I need to spend less time answering questions in the support forums and more time creating content for my blogs in the future.

          Daily prompts and other memes are traffic generators but I’m not inclined to participate in them. That could be because I’m a control freak who does like others setting my agenda for me. Or it could be because I tend ruminate over what I will publish and by the time I stop ruminating the calendar page has turned to the next date.

  2. I like your important question on taking a look at our top posts – and as soon as I get off mobile blog reading I will investigate it.

    On a side note, as I try to read all your interesting comments and readers feedback, how (or is it possible) can I get the comments on the mobile phone to not descend slowly to one long thread? Hope you understand my explanation on this dilemma.

    • Hi Sunshine,

      how (or is it possible) can I get the comments on the mobile phone to not descend slowly to one long thread?

      I’m sorry I don’t have an answer to your mobile question. I don’t have a mobile. Some of my readers do so I hope they will chime in and answer you. If they don’t you will have to ask in the support forums.

      • One little chime is when someone answers you, go to compose, pop in their text number, respond to their response that way. That way you have the option of no long thread if you want.:)

      • Thanks, TT. I do not know if mobile is the same but a reader advised me, at one time, my reader’s comment thread turned thin whenever more than one comment was left.

        Her advice was to check in Settings→Discussion→Other Comment Settings→√the Enable Threaded (nested) Comments to 3 levels deep.

        Once activated, the stringy comments resolved itself. Thanks, and I will check with Support. ☺

  3. I’ve experienced something similar to other commenters, that is, I’ve written a handful of “my perspective” posts that generate controversy and and lots of traffic. Unfortunately, I’m aiming at helpful, not controversial. I find that many of my least viewed and commented-on posts are the ones I think would be most helpful to people if they attracted attention and readers. (Bummer) Wish I knew how to attract more attention to topics that aren’t as emotionally charged for people.

    • Hi there,
      re: your last sentence.

      You are a religious couple with a mission. Your mission is to share your belief system with others and present yourselves as an average couple. The definition of average is very wide ranging. When any subject matter is viewed through the fish eye lens of religiosity it will give rise to emotionally charged controversy.

      I visited your blog, read your introduction and knew immediately I was not prepared to volunteer to become a member of your target audience. There is nothing you can do that will attract my attention to any helpful subject matter in your blog posts because you have proclaimed your faith in a belief system, which I rejected decades ago as being founded in delusional nonsense. Additionally, you two do not meet my definition of the “average” couples I associate with. However, that being said, I bear no malice towards you. May peace and love be within you always.

      • Hello,

        I wish the same peace and love to you. I appreciate the advice you’ve freely offered when I’ve asked questions. And I appreciate you sharing your statement of faith honestly. Please allow me to share mine…

        [large block of text removed by timethief]

        Sincerely, Lon

        • Lon,
          I appreciate your attempt to clarify what average and Christian mean to you in response to my feedback. However, I do not wish to embark on an off-topic conversation re: your belief system and that’s not because I am not educated in that belief system and in others as well. On the contrary, I have been educated six ways from Sunday in comparative religions and have a couple of framed pieces of paper to prove it moldering in a trunk in my storeroom. Instead I’d like to direct you to the article your first comment gave rise to. I hope you find How to Identify Your Blog’s Target Audience contains useful information.

          Be well and happy.

  4. Top posts do not equal best posts, but it is interesting to look at which posts end up getting googled the most (butch bathing suits?).

    I go directly to your “Basic Blogging” list when I have a problem. I particularly like the pieces on Content Creation, Writing Engaging Posts, and Tips for New Bloggers. I have revisited many of the posts when I am trying to understand how something works, or figure out the etiquette of blogging, or little ways that I can make my work more google-able.

    Some things I will probably never do because they don’t match my writing style (like put keywords at the beginning of the post instead of writing a shaggy dog beginning). But I have begun to think about what people see in the reader or as the teaser in the e-mail and whether they will want to click on it or not.

    I thought the WordPress Stats articles were very useful, although I try not to obsess about it.

    • Hi Jamie Ray,
      Aha! So I am not alone when it comes to puzzling over how a post becomes a top post. You are right. Top posts do not equal best posts.

      Thanks so much for the specific feedback. I appreciate it.
      I go directly to your “Basic Blogging” list when I have a problem. I particularly like the pieces on Content Creation, Writing Engaging Posts, and Tips for New Bloggers.

      What we place in a teaser ought to contain a hook and a hook does contain keywords.

  5. Truly amazing what is popular on my blog.
    I do get a lot of hits on my “About Page”.

    And for past few months blog posts most popular:

    Crossing the Canada-U.S. border (hmmm, I wonder)
    Saskatoon Berries – it is in season right now!
    Art memorials on the Chinese-Canadian railway workers – I think it must be school children doing projects.
    Northwest Mounted Police, now Royal Mounted Police Museum –again I think it’s school children researching on the RCMP historic role

    And I never expected sufficient interest on cycling and discovering ethnic grocery stores, but there has been enough traffic.

  6. My two all time top posts, and still popular, are about what’s on Romneys flag lapel pin. Amazing. One of them,, has more hits than my home page. My Freshly Pressed post about the Sandy Hook “Crayons” mural is also in the top five. And I’ve noticed a seasonal trend. Once the 2013 summer vacation season started, I started get lots of hits on older posts about popular tourist spots in Colorado (Pikes Peak, Mt. Evan, Trail Ridge Road, etc.) Overall, though, I see no pattern I can use to my advantage. The peace symbol, the Travelers Advantage scam, the triamterene shortage, ramen noodles … I see no common thread. And over say, a week, I see a lot of turnover in my top 10. Maybe that’s just the nature of my blog — anything goes.

    • My own use of the like button is consistent with my introverted personality type and the fact I’m hard pressed to make the time to blog. I am not a chatty person. I prefer to listening to speaking. And, I am frequently stressed for time. If I followed fewer blogs I would have the time to comment more frequently, however, I’m reluctant to stop following any blogs. So I click the like button when I appreciate what’s been published but don’t have anything meaningful to submit in a comment box. I assume that’s what’s going on with others too but I look at my stats and I’m not convinced that’s what underlies what I’m seeing. My top posts and pages stats puzzle me.

      • I guess I should have used “interested in ” or “intrigued by” or “bothers to stop and read” rather than “likes”.
        The reading audience is so fickle – what they want to read one day isn’t what strikes their fancy the next…hard to predict…sometimes it’s like the restaurant industry here…people flock to one place for a bit and are wild about it, then for no reason, the tables are empty.

  7. So far, I get the impression both sensational and very personal subjects work best, but then again, I cannot call all my posts “About me” to make people be interested and if you’re writing a language learning blog, it’s unlikely to be sensational too many times. I find it hard to reconcile consistency with popularity sometimes.

    • Hi Jane,
      Thanks so much for sharing your experience. The two kinds of posts you cite as most popular reflect my own experience when I first began to blog in two blogs I no longer keep.

      I enjoyed publishing posts on sensational environmental and political topics in one blog and publishing personal posts in the other. However, over time I decided I didn’t want to continue with either of those blogs.

      I found it difficult to create a harmonious environment in my political and environmental issues blog. The tension created by commenters with diametrically opposed viewpoints who lacked an inclination to move towards conflict resolution was stressful. Worse still were the personal attacks by climate denial trolls, many of whom were misguided religious zealots flaunting behaviors that were inconsistent with their doctrine and dogma presumed to be derived from scriptures, but actually in direct opposition to them. Though I did not post their hypocritical nonsense and personal attacks just skim reading them daily wore me down. I recognized what was happening in that blog was affecting me emotionally and I became more and more reluctant to be personal in my personal blog. I decided to pull the plug on both blogs and start anew and I’m glad I did.

      • Thank you for sharing your experience in turn. I can very much identify with what you wrote, and as I’m the harmony-seeking kind of person, I usually avoid topics where I sense that discussions can get too out of control. I think you’ve put this very well.

        In my case, I think it’s not as valuable to have a whole lot of followers, but to have the right kind of followers. As I’m doing a charity project, I’m looking for people who are emotionally involved in language learning and Afrikaans and South Africa, in the hopes that they understand my situation and want to contribute one way or another. But having a heated debate about whether or not I should wear high heels or whether or not George W. Bush was a dork really doesn’t help the overall idea.

  8. I have gone for the image option to display the top posts widget recently. I think it is quite fun. I used to be surprised at mine but I know why they are my top posts. That pesky ‘How to… do X’ title plus unique content always gets lots of traffic. It is chastening to think that my biggest contribution to the internet knowledge base is a post on how to uninstall a Velux blind ( hee hee) but it is. I realise that quirky or attempts to be funny post titles may amuse my regular readers but in terms of getting search related hits they are a fail. Also a lot of hits come in based on people searching for famous food writers’ recipes. On one I simply have a photo of the cake, a paragraph of text and a link to where he published the recipe in a newspaper. No idea why after all these years it gets so many hits, it must be the power of his name.

    Of your posts I would have to go back a long way to think what was of most interest and use to me as I started reading your blog quite a while ago. There was one about blog rolls in the sidebar slowing you down and making a links page instead. Ones discussing the values of good About pages, Comment policy, copyright discussion, are the ones that come to mind. I know you are not fishing for compliments, but you have enriched and helped my understanding of the process in many many ways. so thank you once again !

    • Hi Joanna,
      I’m smiling about the Velux blind installation post. I read it too despite the fact I don’t have any. :) Part of my motivation in asking readers about their top posts and pages was to get them to provide links.

      Maybe I’m more disappointed than I am surprised by the top posts and pages in my blog. The posts I think visitors will benefit most from and what they click the like button on are not necessarily the same posts. I keep hoping to see some posts I think I did a particularly good job of rise to the top of my stats but they don’t.

      I look at what’s at the top and wonder if I ought to publish more posts along the same lines or on similar topics. But as the subjects aren’t my favorites and I don’t have more to say on the topics I’m not inclined to publish more of the same.

      My early blogging experience taught me that targeted posts titles draw traffic.

      You’re right. I’m not fishing for compliments but I’m happy to read what your top posts and pages choices for my blog are. :)

    • I think Staff (Krista, Michael, and Michelle) have done a great job when it comes to explaining how to navigate and analyze your stats so you can get some useful information from your stats summaries.

  9. I can’t remember its title right now, but I’m still so thankful for the post on avoiding spambots – especially that lovely easy tip on making your email address into an image rather than a link.

  10. Wow, this is fascinating. I have one post that gets the most hits–always from search engines. And I don’t know what I did to make it happen. Gotta think about this.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  11. Back when Google image search worked differently, I would have one particular post constantly at the top of the list. But now it’s become quite fluid. Usually a recently published post would stay on for a while, but sometimes an older post would get a surge of traffic and take up the top spot. I rather like the changes. Keeps things fresh. Wish they didn’t restrict it to just ten posts though.

    • Hi there,
      The changes to Google image search affected many bloggers. Some say the chnage had positive results for their blogs but more say the opposite.

      I’m interested and envious when I read about the fluidity re: your top posts and pages. I think I need to make some changes and the first one will be keeping a closer watch on my 7 day summaries.

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