How a Quick Analysis of Your Top Posts Can Improve Your Blogging Results Next Year

Now is a good time to review your previous year’s blogging results and see what you can learn. I just went through this exercise today and thought I’d share what I learned. Hopefully, it will encourage you to do a similar assessment.

How a Quick Analysis of Your Top Posts Can Improve Your Blogging in the Year Ahead

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

Here are my top 10 posts for the year, along with the number of page views they generated:

  1. How to Setup Google Calendar on Your iPhone (206,004)
  2. 12 Ways to Get More Twitter Followers (139,014)
  3. How to Organize Evernote for Maximum Efficiency (136,014)
  4. Creating Your Personal Life Plan (118,060)
  5. Fix for Wireless Connection Problems on MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs (101,581)
  6. The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter (98,680)
  7. Why You Need a Platform to Succeed (89,913)
  8. 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Every Day (79,113)
  9. How to Speed Up Your iPhone If It Starts Slowing Down (61,430)
  10. How to Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less Screencast

Essentially, these statistics represent how well readers responded to my content. Each page view is a “vote.” If I am paying attention, I can learn what worked and want didn’t. This can tell me how I need to shift my emphasis for this next year.

For example, as I reviewed this list (along with my top 100), I came to three conclusions:

  • Practical technology posts are very popular with my audience. Productivity is also my most popular category. I plan to do more of these posts in 2013.
  • Platform-related posts—particularly regarding social media—are also popular. I am launching an entire new website about this in 2013. I can’t wait to tell you about it.
  • My Evernote posts are still a major overall traffic-driver. Six of my top 30 posts overall were related to this. I plan to update these in 2013, since my use of Evernote has evolved considerably since I wrote the original twelve posts.

While none of my leadership, personal development, or publishing posts showed up in the top 10, they still performed well overall. I will continue to write about these topics.

You can go through this same exercise on your own blog. You can get the stats in one of two ways:

  1. Google Analytics:
    • Log into your Google Analytics account.
    • Select the appropriate website (if you have more than one).
    • Select Content | Site Content | All Pages.
    • Set the “Primary Dimension” to Page Title.
  2. WordPress (self-hosted):
    • Make sure you have JetPack installed. (It’s free.)
    • Log into your WordPress Administration page.
    • Under the Dashboard, select “Site Stats.”
    • Now select “Top Posts & Pages.”
    • Select Summarize “Year.” (Be patient, this can take a while to tabulate, depending on the number of posts you have on your blog.)

By the way, WordPress.com just compiled an “Annual Report” for me that summarizes all my stats for the year. They sent one to my wife, Gail, too, so I am assuming they sent these to everyone who has JetPack installed. I made the report public, so you can have a look.

It’s instructive to look at the top 10, you might also consider the top 100. This will help ensure you don’t draw the wrong conclusions based on a limited data set. With the data in hand, ask yourself, “What worked?” and “What didn’t?” Most importantly, what are you going to do differently next year?

Question: What were your top 10 posts of this past year? What conclusions can you draw from these? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to a self-hosted WordPress blog? It’s easier than you think! Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it, step-by-step. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    For the life of me I cannot locate “Site Stats” on my self-hosted WP dashboard. 

    Page views for my top posts of 2012 range from 1,194 views for my #1 most “popular” post (written in 2010) to 293 views for my 10th most popular post. 

    In fact, only one of my 2012 posts has made it into the top ten for 2012. Clearly, I’m way past my prime as a blogger.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Or just need to crank it back up in 2013!

    • http://dustn.tv/ Dustin W. Stout

      Do you have Jetpack installed?

      • http://mattragland.com/ Matt Ragland

        +1 to Dustin. CyberQuill on your WP Dash, go to Plugins – Add New – Search for “Jetpack” – Install and activate from there.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

        No. I’ll check it out.

  • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

    Thanks for this post, Michael. After I compiled and posted my top ten posts for 2012, I unconsciously did the same analysis: What’s the pattern? What can I learn from this list? You have helped me take it a step further with the “vote” perspective. Thanks for your great posts this year. I appreciate your work very much.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       What conclusions did you make, Wayne?

      • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

        Michele, I concluded that my Bible Lands devotionals and practical Bible helps are hitting the mark. Much like Michael’s conclusions with the “votes” perspective, I’ll continue the same pattern. The affirmation from analysis is helpful!

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Glad to hear it, Wayne. Keep at it!

  • http://www.philippknoll.com/ Philipp Knoll

    I believe many bloggers are guilty of forgetting whom they are writing for. Its a great reminder to go check what worked FOR YOUR AUDIENCE! If you want to grow the engagement of your community on your site it might also be a good idea to use the comments counter as a metric. It shows what kind of posts invited readers to share their opinion.

    I lacked this analyses myself in 2012 but definitely have it on my radar for 2013.

    Here are the tools I plan to focus on in early 2013:

    Google Analytics: http://www.google.com/analytics
    Google Keyword Tool: http://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool
    Google Alerts: http://www.google.com/alerts
    Sistrix: http://www.sistrix.com
    Strucr: http://www.strucr.com

    While most will know the first three Sistrix and Strucr might also be useful for some of you.
    Sistrix is a general SEO tool that helps you to analyse and optimize your site. It’s expensive but worth it if you have a plan for how to make use of it. It lets you analyse competition, find out where and why they rank well, find their keywords etc.

    Strucr is the most in-indepth Onpage Analyzer Tool I found. it crawls your site and list all necessary / possible improvements.

    (All links are non-affiliate)

    Wish you all a very successful new year!
    Philipp

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This post is a good example. It started out as a ”My Top 10 Posts of 2013” post. Then I thought, How can I make it about my readers?”

      • http://www.philippknoll.com/ Philipp Knoll

        Thanks for your reply. Two more questions:

        1) How do you draw a line between creating what works and keeping it authentic and YOU on the other hand? Is that even an issue for you?

        2) I can’t seem to find the “Site Stats” on my self-hosted WordPress. Is it a plugin that you use?

        Thanks for your effort.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          The balance between these two is challenging. Success found, I think, at the intersection of three components.
          You may have to install JetPack by WordPress.com. It’s free.

  • http://www.toddliles.com/ Todd Liles

    Fantastic Post!  Here are my top ten (Excluding the homepage)
            1. Be the Salt of the Earth  532  http://toddliles.com/be-the-salt-of-the-earth.html
    2. 5 Principles that Win People with Different Values 247
    3. Successful Training for Those That Hate Role Plays 192
    4. What Anne Frank Taught Us About Positive Thinking 174
    5. 7 Warning Signs That You Are About Ready to Quit 165
    6. How to Handle the Stress of Emergency Surgery 164
    7. LIVEwell – Podcast with guest Barry Granger: Starting a New Heating and Air Conditioning Division in Your Plumbing Company 159
    8. Why do Ignorant People Claim to Be Smart?  136  11. Fear and Intoxication: The Dynamic Duo of Bad Life Choices 135   9. Winning the War on Weight Gain | Todd Liles 134 10. 2 Easy Steps for Pricing Any “Dig Job” For Profits 94

    I will write more posts on how to live a life of example, and bring in more focus on other people.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great titles. That’s so important.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        I was just going to say the same thing. The titles are excellent. Likely a big contributor to traffic.

  • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

    Mike, how much do you factor in Google search results? I think your technology how-to posts (like the MacBook wireless fix) may get so many hits because they are found through Google search- not necessarily because they resonate with your audience.
    True or false?

    • http://www.toddliles.com/ Todd Liles

      I was wondering the same thing

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      True. I don’t factor this at all, but I probably should. Good question.

      • http://www.RodneyGoldston.com/ Rodney Goldston

        That might be true but a better thing to consider would be do the readers who come for the tech how-to post become regular visitors for the other types of post.  It’s like a lost leader in retail.  You come in for one thing but end up with a whole lot more.  

        Google Analytics used to make it easy to track domain ID but not so much any more.  This would be an easy way to figure it out.  HubSpot may have a solution but not sure because I’m not on their service.  

        • http://www.RodneyGoldston.com/ Rodney Goldston

          Think I figured out a way to tell.  Follow the instructions Michael gave for Google Analytics.  Then sort by ‘Bounce Rate’.  Look at the bounce rate for the tech how-to type post.  Also look at ‘Entrance’ for those post.  This would tell you how many viewers entered the site through that tech how-to post and bounce rate would let you know what percentage view other content.  The lower the bounce rate the better (means the how-to post brought them in but their sticking around to read other stuff).  

  • http://twitter.com/ChasFlemming Charles Flemming

    Two things:

    First, I had to take a different route to the Site Stats:

    1) Dashboard

    2) View All (under the Site Stats quick view)

    3) Summaries (in the little box, Top Posts & Pages)

    4) Year

    Second,

    How did you weight your stats according to when in the year a particular post appeared? I think my 12th or 13th most popular posts occurred in the last couple months. Seems like that would make them rank higher than posts published earlier.

    Then there’s the question of longevity. Those of us with smaller platforms often have less of an initial burst, but people keep coming back (either because my readers share old posts with new friends, or because I figured out how to put “Michael Hyatt” in the title and Google brings ‘em in).

    Most of my posts are centered on, or arrive at, a Scripture verse. I share those via notes in YouVersion, which results in visits years later when YouVersion users come across them.
     
     

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I did not weight them at all. My philosophy is that you can really get hung up with a lot of qualifications. I was looking for something quick and dirty. If you really wanted to get precise, you could go back and measure, say, the first week’s traffic for each post.

      • http://twitter.com/ChasFlemming Charles Flemming

        Thanks. Did you notice the new improved stats WordPress is via WordPress.com?

        The section we’re using this morning is the same. But the initial view is enhanced. Pretty interesting.

        btw, I predict that this post will be number one for you in 2013!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Wow. I just tried. That is really slick! Thanks.

  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

    Michael, thanks for sharing. I’m just starting to look at stats after one year at it. I wrote my “top 10″ post yesterday (not out yet). I agree with you that it can be eye-opening. Isn’t it surprising how something you write that you are sure will be “big” ends up on the bottom and something else surprises you? (Or maybe you’re experienced enough to predict. I sure can’t!)

    One thing I noticed was that, if you go by traffic alone, you end up weighting to the beginning of the year. Posts from November / December would have a hard time competing with January / February.  Did you take that into account?  I decided to weight them differently. Yes, it may skew things slightly but I didn’t know how else to handle that. I guess you could also go by first month hits, but I didn’t dig in that deep.

    To your success in 2013!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Skip. Yes, I am rarely accurate in predicting what will resonate.
      I didn’t weight mine at all, though you make a valid point. If you wanted to get super accurate, I suppose you could measure each post’s traffic in, say, the first week or some other defined period.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Almost every time I think a post is “the worst garbage I’ve ever written,” it ends up with top traffic. Clearly I don’t have a future in fortune telling. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/ChasFlemming Charles Flemming
  • http://www.lawrencewilson.com/p/about-me.html Lawrence W. Wilson

    One reason your practical technology posts may get more traffic is that readers refer to them several times, essentially using them as a reference (I know I do). But your leadership posts have typified your blog for me. I hope you’ll keep that category strong!

    • Timothy B

      I would agree with this comment, I have gone back to some of your “how to” posts multiple times, but your leadership and effectiveness content is what has caused me to repost on Google+ and actually recommend your work offline.

      FYI – your “How to Shave 10 Hours off of Your Workweek” podcast is my favorite of the year, I have kept it on my iPhone and relisten periodically.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I plan on it! Thanks.

  • http://SourcesOfInsight.com/ JD. Meier

    I think the beauty of stats is the insights and the patterns they reveal:
    – What does Google think your site is about
    – What does Alexa think your site is about
    – Are people searching to buy, or searching to learn
    – Are people diving in or driving by
    – Are you attracting the audience you want to attract

    One of the patterns I noticed is that I was using inspirational or aspirational titles in a way that worked better for humans, than SEO.  I also noticed that my focus on the positive often missed searches where peole were searching based on pains and needs.

    So shifting from abstact to concrete, and shifting from solution to pains and needs, and shifting from features to benefits makes all the difference.

    The other surprise for me was how all markets have niches, but not all niches have markets.  For example, personal development and personal effectiveness have similar search volume, but I remember that personal development had ad revenue while personal effectiveness was zero at the time.  

    Zero.  I was spellbound.

    I then remembered the secret of success that’s so easy to forget — drive from data-driven decisions even if it’s just to validate your own hypothesis, and failure is feedback, it’s not fatal, as long as you keep going, keep learning and keep improving.

  • Jared White

    Thanks Michael for the interesting stats. I’ve noticed, for my writing and blogging this year as I’ve been ramping up, that the posts I’ve seen the most traction on is when I’m talking about an issue or technology or public figure everyone is already talking about. If what I’m saying could be seen as somewhat controversial, even moreso.

    This is hard for me because I don’t want to write linkbait or be aggressive with opinions just to get traffic. But clearly the opposite isn’t ideal either. If I’m boring or don’t have strong opinions, why follow me as media figure? I’d be curious what your take on that is, Michael.

    Have a fantastic New Year’s! -Jared

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The challenge is to find that place where your passion, expertise, and market demand intersect. I wrote on that here.

  • Pingback: Top 15 Posts for 2012 | garymoyers.com

  • http://christianmomthoughts.com/ Natasha Crain

    I’ve been working on my 2012 blogging overview also and have come up with a slightly different way of analyzing popularity. 

    As a couple of people have mentioned, posts that generate a lot of organic search traffic throw my stats off in terms of what my “sticky” audience wants. I’ve also done some Facebook advertising to grow my blog, so the most recent posts when my advertising is on will always get more views. And, as someone mentioned, reference types of posts get multiple page views. For these reasons, here is what I’ve done:

    1. Look only at unpaid unique pageviews of returning visitors who visit the page within 7 days of its posting. (That’s a mouthful!)

    2. Calculate total combined Facebook likes, tweets and pins for each post.

    3. Divide those social voices by unique pageviews to get a measure of “vocal” popularity. This is a straight forward ratio I could use to order the posts, but I like to continue with number 4.

    4. Calculate the median of number 1 and the median of number 2. Divide all the posts into four segments – high pageviews/high sharing, low pageviews/low sharing, high pageviews/low sharing, and low pageviews/high sharing.

    Topics that get high page views are “conceptually interesting” – people desire to read about the topic (assuming you consistently use transparent, appealing headlines). Posts that get high sharing are those that drive action – people are willing to share that type of content with others. Low conceptual interest (page views) with low sharing is a dead zone. But low conceptual interest with high sharing might be an area for growth with a niche audience. High interest/high sharing speaks for itself – the golden apple. High interest with low sharing could mean an interesting topic that you didn’t deliver on or an interesting topic people just don’t have a desire to socially share.

    Using straight page views (what your post was originally about), my top 4 posts were:

    1. What to Teach Kids About Unanswered Prayer
    2. Should You Force Your Kids to Go to Church (the number one generator of search traffic!)
    3. 8 Reasons Why Kids Don’t Want to Go to Church (are we seeing a Google search pattern here?!)
    4. 16 Ways to Make Your Home More Peaceful

    My top 4 high interest/high sharing posts look different:

    1. 16 Ways to Make Your Home More Peaceful (the one in common with the other list)
    2. What Kind of Parents Did Your Kids Get Stuck With?
    3. 8 Faith-Based Reasons You Should Apologize to Your Kids
    4. A Must Read for All Christian Parents: Revolutionary Parenting

    I’m a numbers geek so I know this is way beyond the heart of what you are doing in this post! I just wanted to share in case anyone else is interested in digging deeper. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That would definitely be more accurate. Someone needs to write a plugin for this kind of assessment!

      • http://christianmomthoughts.com/ Natasha Crain

        I agree! It would save me a lot of time! :)

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    Here were my Top 10 posts from 2010:

    How To Respond To The Election Results (552)
    Ten Reasons To Attend FamilyLife Weekend To Remember (424)
    Guest Post: Wondering by Leanne Stolpe (333)
    Ice Breaker – Songs On Your Playlist ( 315)
    Leap of Faith (310)
    Ten Things Every Small Group Leader Should Know (258)
    Michelangelo Quote (251)
    Ice Breaker – Ice Breaker Questions (210)
    Book Review: The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (201)
    The Power of the Next Question (163)
     
    The timely “How To” post provided my most traffic by far for a single post.  But I think I also saw that my Ice Breaker posts and thought provoking, faith-based posts continued to get decent traffic.  Over the next few month, I’m hoping to finalize an eBook based on my Ice Breakers posts.  And I’ll continue to look for new ways to STRETCH through my writing.

    Thanks, Michael, for continuing to challenge and teach us through your blog and podcast!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Thanks for sharing your list, Jon. Good insight here.

  • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

    Great post Michael!  I love the year-end/top “this or that” posts.

    My blog went live in February of 2012, so I am a brand NEWBIE! :)  I am so glad I found this site in 2012, and not later.  I would not be anywhere near where I am today without the Platform book and posts I’ve read here.  

    Here are my top posts from 2012:

    1) Why the gay marriage debate is a major problem (624)
    2) 11 Reasons why married life is the best life (486)
    3) The single greatest thing a dad can do for his children (418)
    4) Family dinners are overrated (410) (guest post by @sportsdadhub:twitter)
    5) Why your family should be using Evernote plus 5 practical uses (390)
    6) What makes a healthy marriage (331)
    7) 7 Life-changing events (303)
    8) 10 ways to really know your spouse…and then some (297)
    9) You’re not interested in your spouses hobbies…what do you do? (276)
    10) Inconsistent date nights?  Here is a great way for married couples to be consistent (272)
    My posts about marriage have gained a lot of traction, and seem to be what my readers prefer most.  Although my #1 post had to do with marriage, it veered from my typical marriage posts, as it was controversial and sort of a rant by me.For 2013, I plan to share more posts similar to those on the list, while adding more transparent posts about how our marriage and family function, using specific and practical examples from within our household.

    I am also working on a few eBooks based on these posts.  Releasing one per quarter.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Sounds like a good plan.

  • http://dustn.tv/ Dustin W. Stout

    I actually did this same analysis last week. It’s a yearly ritual for me to go through “the numbers” and see where my success was over the last year. I had a couple surprises in my top ten posts, but the biggest surprise was in my Social Network Referrers. 

    I’d love to hear which social network you’re getting the most referrals from @mhyatt:disqus . I would guess Twitter since 2 of your top posts are about it. For me, Google+ has dominated with 31% of social network visits coming from there. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Actually, it is Facebook—by a WIDE margin. Here’s how the numbers break out.
      Search Engines: 33.4%
      Facebook: 4.9%
      Twitter: 3.0%
      LinkedIn: 0.1%

      Though I use Google+, it didn’t even rank in the top 100. I will probably discontinue my activity there this year.

  • http://www.faughnfamily.com/ Adam Faughn

    While my blog is nowhere near as highly-trafficked as yours, I was able to see what drew the largest audience. I write about church and family life, and my posts that dealt with truly personal issues generated the most traffic. They were about alcohol and then about how Christians should react to the election. These were my top 2 posts by a wide, wide margin, and most of the other top 10 were on similarly “personal” topics.

  • My_Twisted_Fairytale

    So far I’ve concluded that my viewers enjoy my product reviews, and when I write about the problems parents face and solutions to them. 

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Great insight.

  • http://www.RodneyGoldston.com/ Rodney Goldston

    This is great.  My blog only been running now for about 3 months but I think this is a grea exercise even for a new blog going into the new year.  I’ve been surprised to find that the most popular post on my site are also productivity / success related.  When I launched it I thought if would be the digital marketing stuff.  

  • http://www.RodneyGoldston.com/ Rodney Goldston

    I think another thing to consider other than pure stats might be what post are you most proud of regardless of the stats.  I made a post a month or so back in response to a post on David Meerman Scotts blog.  I was so proud because he emailed me and said that the post had made is day.  He mentioned that he wanted to write a comment on my blog but could not  because I had the comment feature turned off at the time due to comment spam.  Put regardless of how many people read that post I’ll always be proud of it.  

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I was just thinking something similar, Rodney. A couple of my most “successful” posts for 2012 weren’t the most trafficked, but the dialogue was incredible. For me that meant more than some of my more popular posts. Success can be measured in different ways.

  • Lizzie L

    My top post is Compassion Fundraiser 54 views (http://lizzieforcompassion.blogspot.com/2012/09/compassion-fundraiser.html)  My other top ones include link-up posts and Compassion Bloggers posts.  Not bad considering I started in September with the whole point of posting about Compassion International.  I guess you just have to write good titles and put it out to the right audience.  Thanks for the great post! :)

  • http://www.HomeEducatingFamily.com/blog Jenny H

    Funny I come across this after I just wrote up a “top ten blog posts of 2012″ list for our site! These were our top ten: How an Abortion Saved the Lives of Many, Please Don’t Ask about My Child, They Smile but Do They Laugh?, Top 10 Ways to Ruin Your Child for Life, Why You Won’t Be My Friend, A Pleasant Surprise for Homeschoolers, Why Should You Care about Your German Neighbors?, When You Want to Quit I Think You Should, An Interview with Rick Santorum, and iNever.

    I think people were drawn in by titles and hot button topics. 

  • http://twitter.com/PrasannaBidkar Prasanna

    This is a great idea Michael. It can definitely help bloggers plan for the coming year as they review their objective.

  • Pingback: Best of Life, Prioritized 2012 | Life, Prioritized

  • Miranda Walichowski

    The
    denial comes in because if I had to say which posts I think represent my
    mission, these would not be the ones that I would name. There is no doubt that
    I need to do something to improve SEO for my site. I know I can bring in more
    workplace-related topics, as well. And I wrote my dissertation on oral
    language, so I can develop posts on that for parents in Spanish and English. I
    think I can also provide more on affirmation and appreciation posts because we can
    all use more of that. This is my first year blogging, my sample is small, so I
    may do well to take some direction from this but not make drastic changes.
    Perhaps, two or three years’ worth of trends will be more helpful in my case…or
    I am just be in denial, again!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think you are in denial. You have to find that place where your passion, competence, and market demand intersect. That’s how you achieve success. Thanks.

  • Miranda Walichowski

    I am in denial! I would see that my daily stats had two
    posts constantly at the top: “Appreciation in the workplace” (1,025) and a
    guest post (written in Spanish) on building oral language proficiency (623). I
    use to see daily clicks on “Annoyances and range: How anger affects the
    spiritual lives of women…” but that one got quiet about midyear.  Several of my top posts have the words
    appreciation and affirmation. The denial comes in because if I had to say which
    posts I think represent my mission, these would not be the ones that I would
    name. There is no doubt that I need to do something to improve SEO for my site.
    I know I can bring in more workplace-related topics, as well. And I wrote my
    dissertation on oral language, so I can develop posts on that for parents in
    Spanish and English. I think I can also provide more on affirmation and
    appreciation posts because we can all use more of that. This is my first year
    blogging, my sample is small, so I may do well to take some direction from this
    but not make drastic changes. Perhaps, two or three years’ worth of trends will
    be more helpful in my case…or I am just be in denial.

  • Ed

    I have not kept up on my blog, nor have I pushed it out there, so I’m not in any position to check stats. But I do have to wonder if there aren’t other questions that should be asked:

    As you review your top posts, are you being visited for the original reasons your passions drove you to create this platform?

    If you adjust your offerings to match your top visit stats, will you be leaving your primary passion behind in favor of simply gathering an audience?

    Do the statistics show that you have gained a faithful following for the voice that is uniquely you and can only be had at your platform? Or that you have adjusted your platform to be more “mainstream” at the expense of your unique voice and perspective?

    Michael, did you really intend to become another tech guru? And are your tech offerings coming from your unique perspective? Or could someone else offer the same tech instructions, and perhaps even better? I’m just asking, not trying to say you’re wrong.

    To me, “Intentional Leadership”, while certainly involving technology to create and expand a platform, sounds like it might have been originally intended to have a different flavor. And so it just made me wonder more broadly if we shouldn’t also examine the direction we are going in light of our original passions, and if things have shifted then ask ourselves where, how, and why?

    Ed

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great questions.

      As I mention in a few comments above, most of us find success at the intersection of passion, competence, and market demand. I look for those three components in everything I do.
      For the record, I am passionate about technology. ;-)

  • http://mattragland.com/ Matt Ragland

    This is so interesting to analyze stats for the year, thanks for sharing Michael!
    What I find to be most compelling is how 8 of your top 10 posts are not directly related to your focus of Intentional Leadership. But, they do solve specific problems and answer questions that your readers have. I know I have found your Evernote posts to be very helpful. 

    The challenge for any of us to maintain a balance between helpful, how-to posts that solve problems and answer questions, but leave time and energy for writing posts which inspire and guide our communities. I’m glad you made the point that while none of your leadership, personal development, or publishing posts were in the top 10, you still plan on writing about them. 

    An interesting metric would be to see what the stats are for your regular readers and community members. I would guess that many of us maybe landed on your site because of a how-to post, but stayed for leadership, platform building, and personal development.

    Thanks again, Happy New Year!

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  • http://twitter.com/LeadingEveryday Juan Cruz Jr

    I did a similar assessment and even wrote a post about it. Thanks Mr. Hyatt for the awesome information. 

  • http://www.monsterpiggybank.com/ Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank

    My top post this year was a controversial piece on Christmas, it rocketed to number 1 in Google for a few weeks, which delivered record search referral traffic and then after Christmas the number of hits has slowed to a trickle.

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  • http://exciramedia.com/ Shannon Steffen

    Love the snapshot of 2012, Michael! I wonder though… will this new data change your approach/writing strategy in 2013 or will you focus your attention on those topics that you feel driven to write content on given timing and trends?

  • http://www.beyondthesinnersprayer.wordpress.com/ Barb

    4 of my top 10 were weight loss Bible studies, a series I posted last summer. 2 others were a Renewing of the Mind Project and How to Stop Being Annoyed. I think it’s also interesting to see the top search terms used to find your blog – some of them are surprising!

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  • http://www.thepracticingcatholic.com/ Lisa Schmidt

    Thanks for the nudge to complete this analysis. My husband and I run a faith-based blog. Here are our top ten and a few takeaways. 1 – Planting the Modesty Seed in Our Children (4,011)

    2 – St. Andrew Christmas Novena (3,823)

    3 – The Freedom of God’s Amazing Grace (3,250)

    4 – Aaron Rodgers on Tebow and Faith (3,041)

    5 – Visit Taize this Advent (2,729)

    6 – I am my Daughter’s Protector (2,130)

    7 – 3 Elements of The New Evangelization (1,506)

    8 – The Smoke of Satan in Stuebenville (1,469)

    9 – Special Delivery: A Mother’s Story of Pain, Prayer &
    Peace (1,367)

    10 – Catholic Women: Faith, Conscience, and Contraception (1,353)Takeaways:

    It’s good to have friends
    in high places. Six of our top ten posts were picked up by other influential sites that
    largely serve as aggregators. I’ll continue to submit inspired posts to sites who
    exist to promote good writing.

    Posts with good content can
    become evergreen. Five of our top ten posts were written in previous years. It’s a good reminder to optimize posts for search engines, but also
    to be mindful of freshening up and/or promoting older posts as they come back
    into season. Herein also lies a challenge — be careful not to write the same
    thing over and over. 

    A picture can be worth a
    few thousand page views! How you use, name, and caption images in posts can
    really drive search engine results. Don’t forget to optimize pictures for search engines, too.

    Affirm goodness where you
    find it. You never know what’s going to resonate with readers or search engines. 

    Take occasional risks with
    your writing. At least half of our top ten posts addressed some element of
    controversy. A good reminder: never miss an opportunity to evangelize,
    but keep in mind that difficult messages should be delivered with a healthy
    dose of charity.

  • http://www.joshuarivers.net/ Joshua Rivers

    I reviewed my popular posts and these are my top posts:
    Facing Your Giants
    What is Grace?
    Be a Neighbor
    2013 Goals
    Web Design Services
    E-book: Project Victory (Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
    My Top Podcasts
    How I Was Introduced to Dave Ramsey
    How to Have a Wonderful Life
    Top 10 Blogs to Follow

  • dixie

    Very helpful info!!  Building a platform seems like an endless task..but, then again, I think it is!!

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BSMTAFW2WNXQSTB3KVMCT2OTJI Cynthia Leighton

    Great ideas! I’m quite tiny compared to you but I discovered earlier this week that one piece of my work has over 6,000 visitors. There’s a big gap between that and the next;) So what you say resonates with me for sure! Learning where to make some more stuff and where to look at optimizing matters.

    blessings,
    Cynthia

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  • http://twitter.com/rshealey Rick Healey

    Michael, great post. New to your blog, now I’ll be going back and reading all your top posts. Do you use any other tools to easily track the most shared or tweeted content? Or does that usually line right up with the most viewed content. 
    -Rick

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Welcome! I use Buffer app to track the most tweeted content. It’s worth checking out. Thanks.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/archiedelara Archie M. de Lara

    This is a very helpful post.
    Now I know how to use my Analytics to check which of my post performs better.