2016 was quite a year on the blog. I experimented with many more series, some content refreshes, and tried some things that didn’t work so well. Let’s get in the rewind machine and see how the year went.
What resonated this year?
In a look back at the top posts on my site, we see a really wide variety, from analytics to strategy to social media. In fact, to the extent that there isn’t a theme, that’s the theme for the year.
What do I make of this? If this were a corporate blog, I’d be concerned about the lack of focus. My blog is both a marketing blog and a personal blog, so I’m less concerned at the moment; however, if I wanted to pivot to a more sales-focused blog, I’d need to hone in on some topics more clearly.
As mentioned earlier on the blog, AMP was a sleeper until October. Today, it’s contributing significant new traffic, about 4% net new traffic per month. I see this in the number of URLs with /amp in them. Check your own web analytics if you’ve implemented AMP to see how it’s working for your site.
In early October, I began to go through old site content to update and refresh it, from better graphical headers to complete rewrites in places. This refresh was powerful; 5 of the top 10 posts for the year are new refreshes. Because the URLs changed, these aren’t old posts inheriting previous traffic. These are, from a measurement perspective, brand new. Were I to refine my topical focus on the blog, these most popular areas would be where I started.
This year, I did a number of longer series-based pieces. We see this reflected in that 2 of the top 10 posts are the beginnings of series. What’s more interesting is that interest drops off linearly in each series. Does that mean series aren’t working? I’m not sure; one of the next steps in each series will be to package them up as whitepapers and eBooks. If the bundled versions don’t obtain traction, then the series was probably a bust. If the bundled versions do well, then it’s just ensuring that readers are able to binge-read the entire thing at once.
We know, based on services like Netflix and Amazon, that content consumers have no problem consuming lots of content if it’s great; people with short attention spans for everything couldn’t binge-watch anything. Thus, the existence of binge-watching validates that content is still important as long as it’s great.
Perhaps in the year to come, I might invest more time in crafting the series al at once as a white paper rather than individual blog posts.
Wrapping up 2016
Overall, 2016 was a net positive on my blog. Year over year, I’m up about 8% for users. I thank you for your attention and patronage.
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Also published on Medium.