It’s that time of year – and I’m not talking about Christmas. It’s the time of year journalists look back for the stand-out moments of the past 12 months.
I’m no different. Here are the top WordCount posts from the past year on writing, running a freelance business, running a blog and using social media to find or promote your work. These posts created a buzz either because
1. WordCount rerun: Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s writing style – This was far and away the most popular post on WordCount this year, with twice the page views as any other post, even though it’s from November 2010. Why? Because the continuing popularity of the Harry Potter franchise and because of Reddit and StumbleUpon. In late 2010, I asked my website designer to add social media buttons so people could share links to the posts with their friends on Facebook, StumbleUpon and Reddit – and share they did. It breathed new life into some older posts, especially this one. Moral of the story: if you don’t already have share buttons on your blog, add them.
2. The 2011 WordCount Blogathon – This year, the blogathon community blogging challenge was bigger and better than ever, with more than 200 participants, extra theme days, a weekly newsletter and a Google Group bloggers could use to commiserate, celebrate and share links to their posts. Stay tuned for details about the fifth annual blogathon in early 2012.
3. Goodbye Google: 8 Internet search alternatives – Writers have a love-hate relationship with Google. The “hate” part was winning out early in 2011 before the company tweaked its search algorithms to prevent material from content farms from rising to the top of search results, which prompted me to come up with a bunch of alternatives.
4. WordCount’s Greatest Hits – I can’t claim credit for the idea to add a Greatest Hits page showcasing the blog’s 101 most popular posts ever, that came from social media guru Chris Brogan. And what a great idea it turned out to be. Not only has it driven traffic, it’s been a handy resource to point beginning freelancers to, and I use it when I’m writing new posts and need older posts to link back to. Don’t have a Greatest Hits page on your blog? Add one.
5. About Michelle V. Rafter – I have to admit, this is a bit of a shocker. My little old About page, which has been on the site since day one, is one of its most popular destinations. What that tells me is people are using the site to find out more about me: are they editors in need of a writer, sources, bloggers wanting to know more about the organizer of the blogathon, or fellow Portland writers? Who knows. What I do know is that I better make sure it’s up to date.
6. 2011 WordCount Blogathon Blogroll – This list of bloggers who participate in the annual blogathon takes more time to put together than any other post I do in the entire year – so much time that this year I hired someone to do it for me. That worked out so well, I’ve already decided to hire someone to assist with other details of running next May’s blogathon, a scary but exciting next step.
7. Dear WordCount: What should I pay a proofreader? – Another shocker. I had no idea one of the “Dear WordCount” advice columns I run on a regular basis would be such a hit. On the other hand, I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s tough to find out going rates for editorial services, so anything that helps people figure out what to charge will be popular. Speaking of “Dear WordCount” – if you have a burning question about some aspect of the freelance business, send it my way and I’ll use it in a future post.
8. Thinking of joining BlogHer ad network? Here’s what to know – This is another oldie but goodie. I wrote it after joining the BlogHer ad network, which means they run the ads that appear on this blog. Since it appeared, it’s become a go-to post for bloggers interested in learning what BlogHer’s all about. I’m happy to announce that my BlogHer affiliation is moving into a new phase: I’m editing a series on changing careers called “Reinvent Yourself” that debuts on the network this week. I’ll post more about it once the first posts are live.
9. 6 step guide to writing mobile apps – I don’t have to tell you how big mobile is getting, it’s everywhere, and it’s providing opportunities for writers to contribute to or write their own apps. I’d like to do more on this subject during 2012, so if you’re reading this and have written an app or two or three, let me know, I’d love a guest post on the subject.
10. Getting sources to talk: secrets from an ex-FBI profiler – Speaking of guest posts, this post on interview techniques culled from a former FBI agent written by freelance writer and book collaborator Alisa Bowman is a good example of why they’re a great addition to a blog. If the guest blogger is a big name like Bowman, they bring their own readers with them, which improves traffic. Guest posts are a way to cover topics that you might not know much about. And if you’ve committed to blogging three, five or seven days a week, they’re a great way to cover yourself.
That’s my top 10 list. What posts made it to the top of your list in 2011?