The Best of the Best This Year – Plus an Analysis of Why They did so Well

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By Hector Cisneros

Wouldn’t it be great if you understood why an article you published did well (or poorly)? Better yet, how about understanding where your traffic is coming from, how long they spend reading your articles and if they then went on to read other articles. How about learning who your biggest referrers are and if bots are making up a large portion of your traffic. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we are going to not only cover the best of the best from 2018; we are going to teach you how to find out how that traffic found you and where that traffic came from. We will explore how we use Google Analytics and Blogger Stats to determine if our articles are providing useful content. So, get ready to learn some new secrets as we delve into the best of the best for 2018 and then Analyze why these articles did so well.


Where to begin?

Before we get into what articles were the best of the best for 2018 and what makes them the best, we need to understand why high-performance articles occur. A blog can become great because its prose is compelling, and it goes viral by being shared by lots of readers. It can become a winner because it is evergreen and has been reposted to the social nets many times. It could be a strong performer because it was boosted in Facebook or advertised on one of the Pay Per Click platforms. It is also possible that your strong results are the product of bot visits or even your own visits. Similarly, if you’re looking at all publications for a particular year, older articles generally have a greater amount of time to garner pageviews than articles posted later in the year.

So, the question remains, how do you know if an article really did well compared to other articles you wrote? The simple answer is, time will reveal all winners. Although we do look at year by year performance, we also look at ongoing and all-time performance as well. If you recycle your evergreen article posts to your social nets like we do, you will notice which articles are great and which are so-so.

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To complicate things even further, there are quirks in all analytics applications that can skew your results. For example, Blogger’s all-time stats for our blog does not include all the articles we have written since Jan 2012. It lists Wearables 2.0 - The Rise of Trackers  as our best article for all time with 8,535 pageviews. However, if you go to the cumulative post list and look up some of our older articles, you will see that there are at least three other articles that have done better, with the best of the best being The End of Conventional Advertising as We Knew it Would Be with 13,705 page views to date.

Who’s handling your air traffic control?

Blog traffic can also be affected by how compelling your title is, along with how compelling your opening and summary are, and the curations used when posting them to your social nets. The same is true if you promote your article on any pay per click platform. Additionally, riding the backs of trends can increase traffic while changes in user sentiment can raise or lower traffic just as fast. Let’s not forget the effect that changes in algorithms have on traffic. Changes in platform algorithms, whether its Google Search, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site all can make or break your traffic counts. Lastly, platform policy changes can also kill traffic or make traffic flourish. This is easily evidenced by the recent policy changes made by Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Now to understand why our 2018 best of the best were chosen, we need to take a quick look at prior year champions to see how they reached the top. More importantly, we need to know how their performance changed over time.

In 2016, we had five articles that made a big splash with our readers. Four of them had more than 3,000 page views that year. The number one article of 2016 was “Will You Be Able to Stomach the Internet of Food?  With 3,443 page views that year. This was a phenomenal success for us. That article covered how the food industry has jumped on the IoT bandwagon (Internet of Things) and how 3D printed food was coming of age. In 2018 that article rose to 9,648 page views. That’s a 2.8X increase in page views in two years all from using our social posting recycling method. You can read about the top articles of 2016 here; Best of the Best for 2016 - Blogging and Pod Casting Tips.

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The Number one article we published in 2017 for Working the Web to Win was – “How to Keep your New Year’s Business Resolution in the 21st Century.” It had 2,499-page views during that year. It discussed how we plan our work for the year and emphasizes the importance of “The Initial Planning Phase,” as well as the implementation of specific “Useful Resources.” It also went on to elaborate on the importance of using “SMART Goals.”  The article covered “useful tools” and the importance of “Getting Your Message Right.” If you’re getting ready to plan your year, whether it’s this year or the next, this is a worthwhile read for you. By the end of 2018 this article’s traffic had grown to 3,708 pageviews. This is a one-year increase of a little more than 50%. This shows me that the 2016 article about internet food is more evergreen (and interesting) than the 2017 article about keep your new year’s business resolutions. You can read about the top articles for 2017 here; The Best of the Best for Working the Web in 2017 and Beyond.

Can you trust your stats?

It’s important to note that page views in Google Analytics (aka GA) are very different than the pageviews in Blogger Stats.  Google Analytic often splits pageviews for mobile and desktop where Blogger does not. Also, Google Analytic supposedly does not record its own bot visits and can filter out other bots (if you know the visit was a bot) that you designate. Blogger can’t filter any bots at all.  Blogger does, however, allow you to filter out your visits while Google Analytics normally counts your visits. Google Analytics does not count multiple clicks on the same page (even though it says it does). Blogger counts every click. I have tested these items on several occasions, and it makes me always look closely at the data after noticing these quirks.

In general, Google Analytics provides a lot more way to measure traffic. It lets you filter data in dozens of ways. Many would be Google Analytics users say that it has become too complicated to be of much use. One of the more confusing items Google analytics provides is the metric called session visits. Google says that “A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data (Screen Views, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session.” See what I mean?

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The Google Analytics “Acquisition filter” also allows you to track referring sites, traffic flow within your site and automatically breaks down traffic into channels (Social, Direct, Referral, Organic Search and Other). The “GA’s Acquisition filter” Also lets you track referring websites with its Referrals filter. This filter allows you to analyze where your readers came from so that you can see if your website links, banner ads, pay per click ads and social post are sending traffic to your blog.

The last GA filter I want to mention is the “GA Behavior/Behavior Flow” filter. It can allow you to see a user’s movement throughout your blog site. This can be very interesting information and can show you if your internal backlinks are working for you.

Are the Metrics real!

To show how different the metrics are between Google Analytics and Blogger Stats, we will look at some basic numbers reported by Google Analytics and Blogger Stats for one of our blog posts published in February of 2018 called “36 Top Cyber Security Tips to Protect your Digital World.  In Google Analytics, it was listed as the fourth most visited blog page and also as the 50th most visited page. This is because Google Analytic splits desktop pageviews (117) and mobile page views (50). Blogger, on the other hand, shows all visits of any kind (including repeated page clicks. For the same period blogger showed a total of 1,748-page views, a huge difference. One of the most unusual things I have seen is the correlation between the time I post an article to our social nets and email a link out to our database of subscribers. Blogger always shows more clicks, but the clicks do correspond correctly to the social net posts that preceded them.

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It is also important to understand that articles published later in the year will almost always have fewer pageviews that articles published earlier in the year. This is especially true if you are recycling your posts. For example; in 2017 the last article we published that year was “The Best of the Best for Working the Web in 2017 and Beyond”. It had only garnered a few hundred pageviews by the end of 2017. However, to date, it has received over 2,007-page views. There were also another half dozen articles published after October of 2017 that only had a few hundred pageviews during that year.  But to date, all of these articles have exceeded 1300+ page views. The same was true of our Best of the Best for 2016 - Blogging and Podcasting Tips. Its December 2016 debut drew only a few hundred page views, but that has grown to 3,058-page views as of now. The most interesting fact is that there are eight other late publications (between October 31st and December 20th 2016) that did even better than this blog. Those who say recycling doesn’t work, don’t know how to implement it properly. Now let’s look at the Best of the Best for 2018.
Back to the Future

In the past when I wrote about the best of the best for prior years, I mainly talked about the articles and what valuable information they provided that had hooked the readers that year. This year I wanted to explore and explain why articles are chosen and also look at why an article, in general, can do well (or poorly) during any given timeframe. The fact remains that the reason an article does well is multifaceted. It’s quality, timeliness and usefulness are important, but so is how it was distributed, the size of the audience, your marketing messages, the audience sentiment and the general environment of the platforms used.

We have found that writing high-quality, timely, useful and relevant evergreen articles is best. Also, pushing out these articles to a large social audience is necessary. Otherwise, a great article would only act like a billboard in the desert. On top of this, we believe in the importance of recycling our posts. Recycling your articles by reposting them to the social nets can make a mediocre article perform well, and a good article shine. More importantly, it makes a great article reach stratospheric heights. So, the lesson we want you to take away from the best of the best for 2018 is this; Write and publish high quality, authoritative, timely, useful and relevant evergreen articles and share them with a large audience (like the 100k followers, we offer our clients) and then recycle your posts with new curations (spread out over time) until they no longer perform well. Do this, and you will succeed far beyond your wildest dreams.

That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

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This article provides a list of our top articles for 2018 and beyond plus an analysis of why they performed so well. It also provides tips on how to improve your articles pageviews and a list of several analytical tools you can use to determine your articles performance. Lastly, this article also provides links to many other blog posts including a link to the BlogTalkRadio show that goes with this article.

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If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. I recommend checking out the links on the blog, along with checking out other related articles on our Show Notes Page.  Also, don’t forget to listen to the BlogTalkRadio show on this subject. If you have a related useful comment or opinion about this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog. Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+ and share us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.


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Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success” and the co-author along with his business partner Carl Weiss of their hit book also called “Working the Web to Win.”

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