Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015 (And What We Learned from Them)
Having an active blog can be a great way to drive new visitors to your website. It can also increase your authority and position your business as a thought leader in your industry. But you can't achieve these things simply by throwing new content on your blog.
In order for your blog to have any impact, you have to create relevant and helpful content. That doesn't mean every post has to be a difference maker, but you do need to constantly evaluate the success of each piece of content—especially compared to the amount of resources devoted to said piece of content. If you spent 10 hours creating a blog post that had six page views, earned zero links, and led to no additional interest in your company, then it's pretty clear this wasn't a successful piece of content.
Evaluating your blog at the end of the year can be a fun exercise in seeing what worked and what didn't. This can help guide your content strategy for the following year.
We published 109 new blog posts during 2015. While they certainly weren't all successful, we're confident they all added at least some value to our website. Some of the posts we expected to be huge ended up flopping. And some of the posts that seemed so simple ended up being huge.
Here are the Top 10 Perrill blog posts from 2015, ranked by page views.
This post from late January 2015 provides simple directions for fixing a common problem with a new default Magento feature. When we first experienced this issue with Magento's configurable swatches, we couldn't find an answer online. The value here is pretty obvious: the post provides a solution to a problem that hadn't been solved elsewhere online.
This post, also from January, was the first in a series called Internet Marketing Mysteries. This weekly "column" responded to actual questions from our clients. In this particular post, we explain in detail what that pesky "direct traffic" label in your analytics really means. Turns out our clients weren't the only ones asking about direct traffic.
We are big believers in responsive design—and not just because Google likes it. This post was strategically published in late April, just after the infamous "Mobilegeddon" occurred. It wasn't just a topical listicle (although it is the only list that made our top 10). This is one that should stay relevant well into the future.
Another from our Internet Marketing Mysteries series, this blog post highlights the dangers of being obsessed with your website's appearance in the search results. We have a hunch that a fair amount of traffic to this blog post wasn't from website owners.
Bing first started its NFL predictions in 2014, and we covered every week. Since these posts were so popular in 2014, we decided to bring them back for 2015. Our Week 1 preview of the search engine's picks brought major traffic to our site.
Yet another post from our Internet Marketing Mysteries series, this article responds to questions about competitors trying to sabotage a digital advertising campaign. This one was a hotly debated one, with some readers insisting that it's possible for a competitor to make a major dent on your AdWords budget. Based on our research and personal experience, we stand by our analysis.
#4 - Why Am I Seeing More Referral Traffic?
This was our top Internet Marketing Mysteries post of the year, and it continues to be an ongoing question in the internet marketing world. The explosion of "referral" traffic in analytics accounts the world over has caused many people to wonder just where in the heck these referrals are coming from. We learned at least two things from the Internet Marketing Mysteries series:
- Questions that our clients ask are typically pretty common questions that a lot of people are trying to answer
- Blog posts with questions in the title generally perform pretty well
Of all our posts from 2015, this was the one that required the most work. This post from early February involved a lot of in-depth research as we attempted to address a growing curiosity in the world of SEO: how does Google handle content that isn't immediately visible on page load? Although our conclusions were a bit mixed, we've yet to see anything more definitive.
This was our only Top 10 post from 2015 that wasn't actually published in 2015. It's always good to see older posts that still have traction. This post from August 2014 provides detailed directions (both written and video) for solving a common issue in MailChimp.
It wasn't a huge surprise that our top blog post from 2015 was related to Bing Predicts. After all, football is pretty popular, and our in-depth analysis of Bing Predicts seems to be a fan favorite. Lesson learned: if something's working, keep doing it.
And that's our top ten. If we were to make a list of our favorite posts from 2015, it would be quite a different list. But it's important to put aside our personal bias and look at what's really working. Some lessons we learned based on our top ten (or lessons we already knew that were reinforced):
- Successful content often provides answers to questions people are actually asking
- If our clients are asking questions, other people are probably trying to answer the same questions
- Posts with media (pictures, videos) generally perform better than posts with just text
- Lists generally don't perform as well as answers to questions
- Company-related posts don't have the same impact as industry-related posts
There weren't necessarily any major "Eureka!" moments from our blog analysis, but we still took a lot away from it.
Now that we've evaluated our top 10 posts from 2015, what will we do in 2016? You'll have to come back next year to find out.