How do you organize your website? If you’re like many bloggers, you might have a landing page with a series of orderly category links, or maybe your home page just links to clips of the most recent posts in chronological order.
Both of these structures are very popular, but they aren’t necessarily the smartest ways to organize your website. Rather, why not welcome readers with the highest quality content and most popular posts your site has to offer? You wouldn’t go to an empty museum or visit the zoo to look at empty cages. It’s why people go zip lining in rainforests – zip lines run through the most active parts of the rainforest, the canopy. That’s where all the action is.
The same goes for your blog; by positioning your best material at the front of your blog, you encourage readers to engage fully and dig deeper. But first, of course, you need to identify what your top content is.
Check Your Stats
The easiest way to determine what content performs best on your site is by checking your page analytics. Google Analytics offers plenty of tools to help you do this effectively.
Make sure that when you look at your numbers, you aren’t just checking for the greatest number of page hits. In some cases, repeat edits or other insider activity can cause the page activity to jump. Luckily, with Google Analytics you can exclude specific tracking information – any hits resulting from editors or other specified users. You want to isolate page hits that come from external readers.
Make Time a Factor
It’s also important to use your common sense when determining what your top performing posts are. For example, a post from a year ago that has more comments or views than a post from two weeks ago isn’t necessarily a more popular post. Rather, an older post should have more views and activity.
When you select your most popular content, you should consider two different factors. Either you want to target those posts that show the greatest amount of initial engagement – the most views or comments in the three days, for example – or the posts with the greatest recent activity. It’s possible for older posts to experience renewed relevance or for them to be evergreen, attracting readers all the time.
Focus on Value
Depending on the kind of blog you run, your most important content isn’t always your most interesting. Maybe it’s an introduction to technical terms or background on your site that all readers should be familiar with. Although this content might not register as many hits via search or get as many comments as more interesting material, you may still want to foreground these foundational posts, or at least offer a roundup of these background posts on your landing page.
Ultimately, when organizing your site, you need to exercise your expertise – you know what’s in your blog’s complete archives, what information people find helpful, what they find interesting, and what posts are generally passed over. By helping your readers identify both the useful and the engaging in equal measure, you demonstrate a further degree of commitment to your audience.
Your blog isn’t just a platform, but a conversation, and curating your front page posts enhances your site beyond what the numbers can measure.
Original post: Where the Action Is: Foregrounding Your Site’s Best Content