18 months ago I decided to study the most linked to blog posts on four of the most popular blogs in the world and analyse what made them so popular. My findings then gave people an idea of what popular, valuable content really looks like and how popular something can actually become. After all, it’s been proven to work for these guys, so why shouldn’t it for you?
The results I found were as relevant then as they are today; hopefully giving you some insight into what people like to read online.
Problogger is the authority website when it comes to blogging, authored by Darren Rowse. Darren has been kind enough to let me write on his site multiple times so I decided to list him first here. With over 5,000 blog posts to choose from, I was curious to see exactly what those top posts were.
1. Blogging Tips for Beginners (Link)
This is a resource post which combines all of the top blog posts on Problogger which offer advice for beginner bloggers. Everyone was a beginner once, and with over 100 million blogs out there, this definitely has mass appeal.
- Links: 4,250
- Words: 722
- Lesson: Have you put together a series of posts that could adequately cover a large interest? If so, consider putting them all in one resource which provides massive value.
2. How To Market Your Blog in 2007 (Link)
A great post that shows the number of ways you can promote your website over the coming year. Interestingly, this was a guest post by a Problogger reader.
- Links: 2,550
- Words: 2,601
- Lesson: Can you create an overall masterplan for your industry and provide them content for the coming year? A years worth of recipes, productivity tips, gadgets to look out for, or whatever is relevant to your niche?
3. Top 5 – Group Writing Project (Link)
One of the most linked to blog posts on Darren’s site happens to be a competition where he is giving away $1,001 to the winner. The idea was that people write a blog post around a “top 5″ theme and they would be guaranteed to get a link from Darren himself. I’m sure a vast majority of people taking part also linked to the original post.
- Links: 1,780
- Words: 1,303
- Lesson: Involve your readers as much as possible. You don’t have to get them to blog, but can you get them involved on Twitter, Facebook, or other platforms?
4. 10 Techniques to Get More Comments On Your Blog (Link)
As the title suggests, this is a list post that teaches people how to overcome a dilemma that most bloggers face at one point or another: how to get more comments.
- Links: 1,550
- Words: 1,178
- Lesson: List posts, as you probably know, are one of the most effective ways to get eyeballs on your content due to their quick-read nature. Could you write a list that helps solve a common problem your industry has?
Apart from being one of my favourite blogs, Copyblogger has established their authority via Brian Clark to tens of thousands of readers. Self defined as “copywriting tips for online marketing success” Copyblogger certainly delivers its promise with excellent content published on a regular basis.
1. 10 Sure-Fire Headline Forumlas That Work (Link)
Headlines are without a doubt the most important part of a blog post. Here, Brian shares tips to help you create headlines that people are naturally drawn t0.
- Links: 2,450
- Words: 623
- Lesson: Find out what is important to your niche and write a list post which will help them easily provide that to their own audience. If you can allow each person to tailor that to their specific situation as done in Brian’s post with “[blank]” then even better.
2. How to Write Magnetic Headlines (Link)
Again, on the theme of helping people with the most important aspect of blogging, this “how to” guide from Copyblogger shares a list of the sites top posts on the subject collected in one place.
- Links: 2,250
- Words: 232
- Lesson: Work out what is the most important thing to your audience and write a number of posts on the topic. As the icing on the cake, put together one page which collects those posts in one place.
3. How to Attract Links and Increase Traffic (Link)
Yet another resource post of Copyblogger articles on a specific subject. This one looks at quite possibly the most important aspect to growing your blog: getting more links to your content and increasing traffic. The links here aren’t to other Copyblogger posts, however, but to posts by other posts across the web.
- Links: 2,170
- Words: 518
- Lesson: A resource post that includes links to other sites shows you as an authority in your niche and may even gain you links from the websites included.
4. Copywriting 101: An Introduction to Copywriting (Link)
Another great resource by Brian, sharing his top tips on Copywriting. It is unsurprising that Copyblogger shares a resource on this topic, seeing as this is the theme of the site.
- Links: 1,810
- Words: 425
- Lesson: Again Brian shows that putting together a resource of your top posts on one subject can really get people talking (and linking).
Guy’s blog, How to Change the World, is perhaps one of the longest running blogs I’ve come across. Guy gives his excellent, unique, and first-hand view on business life as a successful investor and entrepreneur.
1. The 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint (Link)
After having sat through what is probably more presentations than anyone reading this combined, Guy shares his thoughts on how presentations should really be done.
- Links: 7,780
- Words: 627
- Lesson: Go against the status-quo and give a new way of working with something you know your audience uses.
2. 10 Ways to Use LinkedIn (Link)
LinkedIn is one of the most popular social networks in the world and is focused around business networking. Guy put together this great post which shows different ways to use the service.
- Links: 3,570
- Words: 1,155
- Lesson: Is there a niche site or service out there that is popular in your industry? If so, write an article on the different ways it can be used to help each of your readers.
3. How to Use Twitter as a Twool (Link)
In December 08, Twitter was experiencing its first major growth surge as it started to attract people outside of the tech industry. Guy, with over 100,000 followers, shows how he uses Twitter as a tool to market his businesses.
- Links: 2,740
- Words: 2,225
- Lesson: Find a product or a service that is relevant to your industry and write a comprehensive guide on how they can get the most out of it to benefit them directly.
4. How I Built a Web 2.0 Social Media Site for $12,107.09 (Link)
Guy shares a rare insight into how entrepreneurs build businesses online and in this case, his social voting website Truemors. It is great to see so much transparency and especially from someone in the spotlight as much as Guy.
- Links: 2,170
- Words: 1,121
- Lesson: There are few things with more viral potential than a list post, total transparency, and a case study that your audience can really relate to.
Authored by my friend Aaron Wall, SEO book is the top resource online about increasing your search engine rankings and getting more website traffic. Not only is Aaron an expert on the subject, but he is also a genuinely nice guy, allowing me to interview him for this website when I was only 16 years old.
1. 101 Ways to Build Link Popularity (Link)
It’s funny to see Brian Clark (Copyblogger) commenting on this excellent link building post by Aaron and Andy when, I assume, he was not a web celeb. This massive resource article shares excellent tips on how to build the most important factor in search engine rankings: backlinks.
- Links: 5,570
- Words: 3,276
- Lesson: Aaron shows that you should find out what matters to your industry and put together a huge resource post on helping them get it. Tie that into a list and you’ve got yourself a winner.
2. The Bloggers Guide to SEO (Link)
Another massive article by Aaron and his Wife Giovanna gives bloggers tips on how they can improve the on-site optimisation of their blogs. Something like this was sorely missing for quite a while in my opinion.
- Links: 2,540
- Words: 3,501
- Lesson: Find a big market and find out how you can give them your expert advice. Could you stamp your knowledge on the blogging, real estate, marketing, or any other niche?
3. New Search Engine Rankings Place Heavy Emphasis on Branding (Link)
Aaron goes in-depth on a new Google update showing a lot of figures and ranking reports since the changes. Aaron has been known for breaking content like this since writing about the Google Florida update back in 2003.
- Links: 1,609
- Words: 1,391
- Lesson: Cover breaking news in your industry and provide a more in-depth analysis than anyone else. Then, when other blogs write about the changes, they’ll cite you as their source of information.
4. Track Google Adsense Clicks via Google Analytics (Link)
Here Aaron shares a handy way to find out which visitors are clicking on your ads. From there, you can try to increase the traffic from that source and thus earn more money via Google Adsense.
- Links: 981
- Words: 349
- Lesson: Provide a tool or a way to do something with existing software that has a mass appeal. Webmasters using both Google Adsense and Google Analytics is a huge market.
In the Next Update…
In the next update I’ll be showing you how to take all of your content ideas and transform them into articles that readers find valuable and other bloggers want to share. If you like what we’re doing, please do share the project with your friends. And of course, thanks again for all of the awesome feedback via email!