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Blogging 101, Day Twenty-Seven: Build On the Popular

Today’s assignment: find the post that has received the most views, likes, or comments, and write a related follow-up post.

One of the keys to growing your audience is learning to capitalize on posts your readers loved the most. Time to start looking for patterns in your blog’s performance and build on your most popular content.

Today’s assignment: find the post that has received the most views, likes, or comments, and write a related follow-up post. 

Why do this?

  • Because keeping your finger on your audience’s pulse will help you write posts that people want to read and plan an editorial calendar for yourself.
  • Because the best blogs are cumulative — their posts build on each other and take the reader on a journey.

When you go over your previous posts to see which resonated with readers, it’s not to rehash them for pageviews. It’s to learn what content makes the strongest, most meaningful connections with your readers. It’s also the first step toward developing an editorial calendar that works for you, if you’re interested in that.

Which metric to look at is up to you  — some posts are like-magnets, others generate lively discussion, others get shared on Facebook, and some are unicorns that get all three. Choose the one you find the most meaningful, and go with that.

Feeling ready for something more advanced? Take a look at this Blogging 201 assignment on analyzing your stats to learn more about your readers.

You can also dip your toes into your stats page, and just pick the post with the most views. What do you think made that particularly attractive? Your funniest? Your most heartfelt? The one with the most adorable cat picture?

Not sure why your popular posts are popular? You can always ask — either ask your readers directly, or ask for feedback in The Commons.

Now, publish a follow-up post: pick up where you left off. Give more context and background about that first post. Write about your reaction to that post’s success, or reflect on the comments readers left. (Be sure to link to the original post, so new readers who missed it can get the full story.)

Think about that: you’ve been so prolific some of your posts are already four weeks old!

Bonus: if the adrenaline rush of getting close to the finish line has already kicked in, make the most of it and add a Recent Posts Widget to your sidebar — it’s a great way of leading new readers to your freshest content, and making sure repeat visitors can catch up quickly.

 

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  1. What if the majority of your posts attract people after the fact? I find I get lots of hits from search engines, not from same day posting. So something I share, like a recipe for Bolas de Verde, might not see a lot of hits that day I post but will see lots of hits over the next few weeks. How could I better take advantage of that?

    1. You can click “summaries” next to your stats to see the popularity of your posts over time — if there’s a post that continues to get regular views, build on that.

  2. What if your most popular post is really recent? I made a rewrite of Annabel Lee in my daughter’s words, and it got the most views and has been more popular. I can and will write a follow up, but how long should you wait? Also, can you have your most viewed posts on the sidebar? I have my recent blogs, but when I get more, I would like the most popular/read ones to be on their own little tab. Thanks for your help!!! These posts are so awesome and they really have helped to build my blog. I really appreciate it. :)

    1. There’s a popular posts widget you can use in your sidebar. As for how long to wait, that’s totally up to you. There’s no rule — if you feel like writing more now, go for it. Otherwise, give your blog a little more time to breathe, and take a another look at your stats when it’s had more time.

  3. Hi Michelle, I have a question that is not related to today’s assignment. I have added a poll to my blog (in the side bar). What is the best way to publicize it. I’m not sure if people who follow my blog get a notification on a poll widget being added. And where can I see the results? Thanks!

    1. No, there are no notifications for widgets — your best bet would be to publish the poll in an actual post.

      You can see all the results in your dashboard; go to Feedback >> Polls.

    1. Perhaps your readers are interested in restaurants in particular neighborhoods, or that serve particular cuisines — it might give you clues on future reviews to write. Or maybe people respond better to a particular posting style or type of review, and you could try to build on that.

    1. Go to your stats and then over on the right hand side of the “Top Posts and Pages” click on “summaries”. On the next page click the link for “All Time”. That will tell you what the most popular post has been, i.e. the most views. It will likely be your “Home” or “About” page but dig into the posts section and see what is popular. :)

  4. Hey ya’ll!

    Quite interestingly, my post which had the most number of comments and likes was actually the one where I decided to write in the point of view of a straight me! Yeahp, I posted a “Women Appreciation Post” before and it was quite a popular one! Hahaha! Now I did a part 2 and I hope ya’ll will like it!

    http://diaryofafathappybitch.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/the-women-appreciation-post-part-2/

    Yay, assignment done for today! <3. :).

  5. I’ve gotten super behind in assignments. I’m slowly trying to get caught up. I’ll finally be a doing a blog event (or 2) this week. I was looking at the posts I’ve written and I have a few that are pretty evenly commented/liked. At some point I plan to do some follow up posts on all of them, but I’d love some input on which one to do first. Thanks!

    http://ftnttslisa.wordpress.com/

  6. One of the top five items looked at on my blog was actually a page about how we moved to Panama. I updated it with some new information and also added another page related to the same topic:
    http://indacampo.wordpress.com/how-we-walked-outside-the-carton/
    http://indacampo.wordpress.com/documentation-process-for-pesionado-visa-for-canadians/

    The next most read topics were our cost of living, I’ll have to get all that information together and write another blog for the month of May.

    I’m not usually hung up about my stats but I guess it was time I took a look at them. Good assignment today!

    1. Be aware that your readers don’t get notifications for new pages, only posts, so you might want to share these links in a post/on a FB page/etc to make sure your readers know about the updates.

  7. I’ve gotten behind on some assignments (and my blog and facebook page) because of, well….life.

    This is a tad bit embarrassing to admit, but my most popular post came about because of Blogging 101 so that skews the results. I’m a laid-back, introverted person and I think that shows in my posts. Is there a remedy for boring?

    I plan on creating a new post later on today’s sheep activities that darn near made me cry, but I probably won’t be able to create it until late tonight.

    I’m open to suggestions / opinions / ideas; no need to worry about insulting me with the truth.

    thank you very much, Gail

    http://www.tastylamb.biz

  8. HeyLo,
    First of all , great post and very helpful as always :)
    Speaking of the post of mine which attracted the most traffic was my WHO AM I AND WHY I AM HERE post.. So you would have known by now that it was a part of the zero to hero challenge.. And actually speaking my traffic has gone up by a pretty decent graph ;)
    I guess from there on, I have had a nice interaction with my followers, that ofcourse is something for which I joined wordpress for!! I love interacting with people.. Which naturally comes to me with habit of talking too much !!
    Thank you WordPress!

    Take care
    From the not so-
    Purrfectgirl

  9. On the next page click the link for “All Time”. That will tell you what the most popular post has been, i.e. the most views. It will likely be your “Home” or “About” page but dig into the posts section and see what is popular

  10. The biggest challenge I find is building up an audience. I’ve been stuck with the same one for a while now, but I hope in the future I have expanded even further with it.

  11. That’s definitely a great idea I’ve not tested yet, but I’ll make sure to try that next time I’m lacking inspiration for a post.