With WordCount coming up on its third anniversary and continuing to grow in traffic and reach, I realize how grateful I am to everyone who has added it to their blog reader, posted comments, participated in the annual May blogathon, and generally made it possible for me to talk about what I love – writing and the business of writing – for a willing audience.
As was the case in WordCount’s first two years, some of the posts I wrote this year drew more readers than others. In some cases it was because I touched on a topic that was in the news, or covered something with universal appeal. Other times it was because I stumbled onto the right set of tags to get a post to appear at the top of Google search results.
Whatever the case, here are the 12 most popular posts on WordCount in 2010.
1. 10 things J.K. Rowling taught me about writing – I hit the jackpot with this post on Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s writing style, which I wrote after finishing the seven-book series. The post tapped into interest in Rowling and all things related to the boy wizard. It also helped that I included a publicity photo – images help posts show up higher in search engine results. I wrote the original in summer 2009 and when it continued to get traffic after more than a year, I wrote an update this fall to coincide with the release of the “Deathy Hallows” movie. The new post was also among the top 20 most visited on my blog this year as well.
2. Best of WordCount – Beat the recession – This January 2009 compilation of posts on how freelancers can deal with the recession is proof that if the information is good enough, people will continue coming back to it.
3. The 2010 WordCount Blogathon – The third anniversary of my annual month-long blogging fest was the biggest ever, which helps explain all the traffic to this page, which describes the event.
4. Top 10 qualities of a good editor – An oldie but goodie, this 2008 post continues to draw traffic, mainly because it’s the No. 1 result in Google searches for the term “qualities of a good editor.” Takeaways from this post: write about things other people aren’t, and pay attention to keywords or tags you use to describe a post.
5. In Portland, the big story is snow – Another instance where including a photo has helped drive traffic. In this case, the photo that goes with the post drives most of the traffic – a good reminder that it’s important to tag photos so search engines can find them.
6. AOL’s Patch hiring spree – boon or bane for freelance writers? – This post drew traffic because I wrote it the day AOL announced it was expanding its Patch hyperlocal network – and hiring lots of journalists to staff it. Sine I’d blogged a lot about hyperlocal news, I was able to add my own opinions to the basic facts, turning into more of an editorial than a straight news piece. In the days and weeks immediately after, a number of prominent online publications referred to it. Moral of the story: it pays to write about the news, and add your own take to what’s happening.
7. Top 10 blogs for freelance writers – Posts about writing resources are always popular on WordCount, especially lists of writing-related blogs that freelancers should follow.
8. Back to basics: the nut graph – A while back I started a series called Back to Basics to cover fundamentals that all freelancers, writers and bloggers should know. This post on nut graphs – a paragraph high up in a story that explains what it’s about, puts the subject into context and tells the reader why they should care – has been the most popular entry in the series to date, with many other blogs linking to it.
9. 10 businesses freelance writers can start today – When the recession shuttered magazines and forced newspapers into massive layoffs, it irrevocably changed the way the freelance writing business works. Now more than ever, independent writers need to think like small business owners, and be more assertive in running their own show. This post was popular because it spells out 10 different writing related, single-person businesses a freelancer can start, with examples of writers who are doing just that.
10. Best WordPress plug ins for writers – This post about plug ins for WordPress blogging software with special appeal to writers was based on information shared during the inaugural WordCount Last Wednesday monthly chat I hosted on Twitter. Website developer/writer/tech guy Ron Doyle was my guest, and provided a lot of the material in the post.
11. WordCount Q&A: Suite 101 CEO Peter Berger and a question of quality – This is one of many posts I’ve done over the past two years on the pros and cons of writing for so-called content farms, sites that pay extremely low wages for people who may or may not be professional writers to crank out copy (I can’t even use the word “stories” to describe the end product) to draw in eyeballs and hopefully, money from click-through advertising.
12. 7 simple SEO tips for writers – Another post based on a WordCount Last Wednesday live chat, this one about search engine optimization (SEO) that I hosted with special guest Jason Lancaster, head of Spork Marketing, a Denver Internet marketing firm. I’ve purposely used my background covering technology and consumer electronics to blog regularly about tech tools for writers and it’s paid off, as traffic to this post attests.
Got a favorite WordCount post you’d like to see again? Or an idea for a subject you’d like me to write about more in 2011? Please let me know. I’m mapping out future posts and would love to hear your thoughts.