This year has been one hell of a journey for me and my blog.
I started 2017 with no idea that I would end up where I did: I created an eBook (that people actually bought!) reached my goal of 1,000 email subscribers, exploded my blog traffic, earned my first $1k, and found my true purpose for blogging.
Holding on to my traditions of doing a round up/reflection blog post at the end of the year, this one is going to be a list of my top 10 blog posts of the year. When I say “top posts” I mean that these are my most popular posts with the highest number page views.
To make this post even better (and more valuable because you know me) I’m sharing some blogging tips for beginners that you can apply to your own growth strategy for the new year!
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase by clicking on one of my links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, that will help me continue to bring you valuable content. Thanks for supporting In Search of Sheila! 🙂
Some Background Info
I rebranded in June of this year, so all of these blog posts (except one) reflect my rebrand and my blog’s focus to share authentic and actionable strategies for beginner bloggers.
Rebranding has seriously changed my whole blogging game and is the best thing I could have done to improve my growth.
THE TAKEAWAY: If you’re unhappy with your blog, are struggling to grow, and have goals of monetizing it, it might be worth considering a rebrand.
And for complete transparency (and I know you guys love statistical data!) here is a screenshot of my analytics for this year. I excluded the “\” in this post because that’s just my blog’s homepage.My Top Blog Posts of 2017 and What You Can Learn From Them Click To Tweet
My most popular blog post is about Instagram hashtags. Go figure.
This post brings in consistent traffic every single day and has converted over 700 visitors into email subscribers.
Many of my new readers find me through this post via Pinterest because this pin kind of went “viral.”
Another reason I think this post is popular is because people bookmark it. Since it’s a list of hashtags, they can alway refer to it when they need it.Blogger tip: Create your content with the intention of your readers bookmarking it for later! Click To Tweet
The irony of this post is that Instagram tips are actually one my least favorite topics to write about. Back in April (when I was obsessed with Instagram) I did a month-long series of Instagram posts…and then got shadowbanned. If you read my eBook then you got the full scoop on that drama.
Fast forward to August I wrote a post with a fresh take on growing your Instagram with authentic strategies. Instagram is ALWAYS evolving and I switched up my growth strategy by focusing on building a community, not a following.
THE TAKEAWAY: When coming up with blog post ideas, think of content that your ideal readers can bookmark to return to over and over again.
I wrote this blog post before my rebrand and the title and content reflects that. Fortunately, it fulfills my values of intentional living so it blends in nicely with my new brand.
And the cool thing about this post: it went viral on Pinterest with this pin. I have Catherine of The Blissful Mind to thank for that because she repinned it to her self-development board which has over 15,000 followers!
Here you can see the boards my pins have been repinned to that have the most clicks to my website in the past thirty days. Catherine’s self-development board is number one!
Okay, can I just take a second to pause and talk about how powerful Pinterest is?
All it can take is ONE person to repin your content and BOOM: virality. This is why I emphasize embracing community and supporting other bloggers.
Here you can see from my Pinterest analytics that my hashtags post and my podcasts post have received over 700 clicks to my website in the past thirty days!
Now, on the flipside, there are some things that aren’t great for my growth strategy with this post…
Since I wrote this post before my rebrand, it isn’t directly related to my niche. So while there are lots of people visiting my blog, they are more likely to leave because I’m not a blog devoted to personal development.
I have since gone back and updated the post, adding blogging and entrepreneur related podcasts to speak to my ideal readers.
I also added an opt-in to my free blogging course to optimize it for all the traffic coming in.
THE TAKEAWAY: Make sure all your content is related to your blog’s focus and what your ideal audience needs help with. If you pivot or rebrand, go back and tweak the content to speak to your new ideal audience!
BONUS TAKEAWAY: Check your Pinterest analytics to see what pins are doing well and which boards are converting more clicks to your blog.
This technically isn’t a blog post, but I had to include it because it’s my third most popular page!
The fact that it ranks third tells me that people love my resource library and actually use it.
My library is password protected and you need to be on my email list to access it.
This is a great strategy for growing your list. I continually have new subscribers email me and tell me how helpful it is 🙂
THE TAKEAWAY: I totally recommend creating a password protected page for your blog because it’s a great way to grow your email list, boost your page views, and grow your authority with your audience.
I share an example of another great library ideal for travel bloggers in this post!
This is the oldest post of the bunch and it marks the beginning of my blog-to-business journey.
I wrote it after being inspired by this post from Helene In Between and even reached out to her to ask if it was okay if I wrote a similar post! (She gladly replied with a yes!)
Since this post was published before I rebranded, I went back and updated it a bit to reflect my rebrand and new strategies I was implementing. I also added an opt-in to my free blogging course.
THE TAKEAWAY: As you publish more blog posts, learn new strategies, and create opt-ins for your email list you want to go back and edit your posts with high traffic to maximize your opportunity for growth.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: People love any kind of post that shows them how to get from where they are now to where they want to be in the near future.
Create your content with the purpose of helping them accomplish ONE thing.Readers love blog posts that show them how to get from point A to point B. Click To Tweet
Again, another Instagram post.
I wrote this because there wasn’t a lot of other people talking about it. I had the knowledge and experienced good results with Instagram top posts, so I found it to be the perfect opportunity to write about it.Blogger tip: Look at what other bloggers are NOT writing about and write about that. Click To Tweet
Another thing to consider is that I wrote this before my rebrand when I was a fashion blogger. I included a lot of screenshots and I actually don’t try to make it on top posts (or use hashtags) anymore.
Part of me feels somewhat like a fraud, but I still think the information is good even if the Instagram algorithm gets worse and worse. I definitely need to go back and edit it one day!
THE TAKEAWAY: To stand out with your content, look at what other people are writing about and not writing about. How can you fill in the gaps with your expertise?
This is definitely one of those cliche “how I grew my blog to x page views in x days” posts, but I made sure to put my own spin on it to make it stand out.
Keep in mind, it was a month after I rebranded. With a new content strategy, my results paid off quicker than I expected and my page views jumped from 3,500 to over 10,000 from May to the end of June.
How I made this post stand out:
- Included screenshots because people love statistical data and PROOF
- Added more screenshots of my traffic from Pinterest since it was the main reason for my growth
- Shared DETAILS of my strategies without any fluff
- Talked about the Law of Attraction as one of my strategies (which also worked great for connecting with my ideal audience)
THE TAKEAWAY: It’s totally okay to write blog posts that have been done over and over again. The best thing to do is to figure out how you can make it DIFFERENT.
7. About Page
Again, not a blog post BUT VERY IMPORTANT TO MENTION.
Your about page is a hot spot for increasing your page views, lowering your bounce rate, and turning visitors into readers who want to come back.
Yes, people read this page!
After visitors land on your page and browse a little bit, they want to learn more about YOU.Did you know people actually read your about page? Yep, so OPTIMIZE IT! Click To Tweet
When I rebranded I optimized mine to include my mission statement, info about me, and what to do next by telling them to subscribe to my email list and follow me on social media.
THE TAKEAWAY: Focus on creating a bomb.com about page. It’s a great opportunity to explain your mission, connect with your ideal readers, and turn them into FOLLOWERS!
Are you surprised that another post on traffic made the list?
I actually published this one a week after I rebranded, as it was part of my growth strategy to create some anchor content to grow my authority as a blogger.
Pro Tip: Anchor content or evergreen content are blog posts that are created for the purpose of consistently bringing in traffic and new people to your site. It’s always relevant and stands the test of time!
THE TAKEAWAY: Write blog posts with the goal of building your authority as a blogger. Make it general (not too specific) and for beginners. Good examples are how-to posts and tutorials!Focus on creating evergreen content to consistently bring traffic to your blog! Click To Tweet
I looove that this post made the list because it’s a guest post by my girl Katherine of Slightly Savvy!
Katherine and I linked up over the summer and I was a partner for her Summer Camp (psst rumor is that it’s coming back…) and decided to do a guest post on each other’s blog AND co-host a workshop together.
You can say it was a match made in heaven.
Reasons I love this blog post:
- Katherine always has straight and to the point tips
- it’s a topic I am NOT strong in (working with brands as a blogger PLUS it’s from a PR perspective so double win)
- allows Katherine to shine and build her authority
- promotes our workshop we did together
- collaborating with another blogger is FUN! Katherine and I mesh really well and I loved bouncing ideas back and forth via Skype and email
Click here to read my guest post over on Katherine’s blog!
THE TAKEAWAY: WRITE GUEST POSTS!! Connect with another blogger in a similar niche to you or be bold and PITCH to another blogger. This is a great way to get your content in front of other people and grow your audience.
This is definitely one of my favorite blog posts because it resonates with my readers and illuminates my mission to help bloggers build the blog of their dreams.
Not what the “experts” tell them is profitable.
I receive a lot of praise and a sense of relief from my readers who truly believed they needed to put themselves into a blogging box.
Girl, you can write about whatever you want. Just make sure it all makes sense!
Read the post to find out how to write without a niche and pull it off with grace 😉
THE TAKEAWAY: Go against the grain and be bold with your content. To stand out from others, pick blog topics in your niche that have a widely-held view that you disagree with.
With this take-charge attitude, people will give you a double take and those who agree with you will speak out and praise you. PLUS THIS IS GREAT FOR SOCIAL SHARES!Take charge with your content and write about blog topics you DISAGREE with to stand out in your niche. Click To Tweet
MY TOP 3 EMAIL LIST OPT-INS
Okay, I had to go a step above and include my top 3 email opt-ins because they hold some good lessons too! If you don’t have an email list for your blog, add it to your priorities list!
I have this opt-in included in my #1 blog post about my favorite hashtags. They work perfectly together and it’s converted over 700 people to my email list.
This opt-in has become the driving force behind my email list growth and even went viral in a Facebook group, landing me 101 new subscribers in just 2 days!
THE TAKEAWAY: Your opt-ins should strive to solve a problem your ideal readers have and provide instant results.
My hashtag library was super actionable because it includes over 350 hashtags that people can include in their Instagram posts immediately after downloading.
Think of how you can quickly answer a burning question your ideal reader has.When creating opt-ins to grow your email list, answer a burning question your ideal reader has. Click To Tweet
This is my FAVORITE opt-in because I worked really hard on it and I know that it helps a lot of beginner bloggers who want authentic strategies to grow their blogs.
I launched it a few weeks after I rebranded, announcing it in this blog post about embracing community as a blogger.
It’s a natural “next step” for anyone interested in growing their own blog community!
After I launched it I promoted it like crazy:
- Informed my email list that it was ready
- Made multiple pins
- Promoted on social media
- Scheduled tweets
- Shared in Facebook groups
- Added it to old blog posts and ones that came after it
Here’s when I announced it in a blog post!
Pro-Tip: Include a little background story on your opt-in to humanize your brand. Are you proud of it? What inspired you to create it?
THE TAKEAWAY: Create an email course or challenge to grow your email list. While it will take some time up front, once it’s set in stone you won’t really have to touch it again!
It’s a great way to build your trust or authority with your subscribers because you’re showing up in their inbox every day for a period of time with tips to help them achieve a goal!
I am quite proud of this opt-in so I’m glad it holds the #3 spot.
This opt-in performed well because:
- I created it with the intention of accompanying a blog post
- It’s actionable
- It’s free and packed with value
This is the only time I used this strategy (except for this post, where you actually don’t have to sign up to my email list to get the workbook. So basically, I definitely need to make that an opt-in now…) and it converted 70 people to my list!
THE TAKEAWAY: When you’re brainstorming content ideas, think of ways you can link a blog post and an opt-in to work hand in hand.
While the blog post alone is still valuable, how can you make it EXTRA valuable and actionable with an opt-in such as a workbook or printable?
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