During all of 2009, AC writers spent their time and energy writing for publication on AC. Before writing that first article in 2010, I am challenging every writer to make it their New Year’s resolution to analyze their work over the past twelve months and become resolute in improving.
Why? If you watch Dr. Phil, you’ve heard him interview people whose spouses are leaving them, or parents whose children are rebelling, about their current methods of handling things. He always asks, “How’s that working for you?” If you are a writer on AC, take the time to grade yourself on your work, and ask “How’s this working for me?” If you don’t, who else will?
Writing in Review: What do You Grade?
Sort your articles so that the article that received the highest amount of page views is at the top and ask yourself:
1. What are my top ten articles?
2. Why did they get so many page views? (Make an educated guess. Topic? Current events? Title?)
3. What are my worst performing articles?
4. Why did they do so poorly? (Small audience? Hard to Search Title?)
Now that you know what worked and didn’t work this year, what will you do next year? Hopefully, you answered:
1. Write more articles on the topics that worked, in the writing style that earned page views and comments.
2. Write less (if any) of the articles that don’t get read and in general waste your time and get lost in cyberspace. (unless you just had a blast writing those articles and don’t really care about page views on them!)
My Top Ten Performing Articles
I joined AC early March, 2009 and am very happy that I’ve reached clout level 9 and have a total of almost 300,000 page views. I love the writing community here and want to help anyone who needs it. If you want to learn from my analysis of my writing, here are my top ten articles and why I think they earned their top positions. In order of popularity:
1. “Graduation Songs 2009”, published 3/19/2009, 68,300 page views
Positives: Universal interest, music is standard in a graduation program, title is very searchable, and it was published several months prior to the June graduation ceremonies.
2. “Mafia Wars Loot Guide”, published 4/13/2009, 57,400 page views
Positives: There’s a large online gaming audience, this is an extremely popular Facebook game, and finding “loot” in the game slowed players down. My article provided a quick cheat sheet for them to use when playing. Also, my title is almost exactly what someone would type in internet search box.
3. “What to Expect from Bladder Sling Surgery”, published 7/17/2009, 14,300 page views
Positives: Universal issue for women, with a very large audience. It also appeared on a medical Q&A page. Interestingly, this article ended up acting almost like a blog in that women have entered their own experiences with the surgery as comments to my article, and are using the comments section to communicate with each other on this topic!
4. “2009 Top 10 Country Christmas Songs”, published 10/15/2009, 14,000 page views
Positives: Wide country music fan audience, people planning to burn CD’s for Christmas parties or gifts? Also I published this almost two months prior to the holiday peak. I believe having “2009” in the title helps it rank higher on Google. To be honest, I was a bit surprised that it has done this well so quickly.
5.” Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix and Other Arizona Water Parks”, published 5/27/2009, 12,500 page views
Positives: Title contains internet search terms. This waterpark held its grand opening in Phoenix almost sixty days past its scheduled grand opening. Many residents of Phoenix were anxiously awaiting it to open and were looking for information on the park and its opening date. I could have gotten more page views if I had published sooner!
6. “Mafia Wars Loot Reference Guide”, published 7/14/2009, 11,300 page views
Positives: Title contains internet search terms. Mafia War’s large gaming audience was moving up the ranks in this game, just as I was. I wrote about the next level of loot and provided a second cheat sheet for players.
7. “How Much Money Can Online Writers Make”, published 7/2/2009, 8200 page views
Positives: Making money is a topic all online writers are interested in! This article’s title is widely searched on the internet. Also, this article appears on the AC community tutorial page and gets exposure within the AC community.
8. “Mob Wars or Mafia Wars: Which is More Fun?”, published 5/10/2009, 6500 page views
Positives: Again, these are both popular games on Facebook. I just kept riding the popularity wave of my first article about Mafia Wars. Also, I linked all my Mafia Wars articles to one another.
9. “Tips for Mafia wars Cuba”, published 8/14/2009, 5600 page views
Positives: That makes four articles about Mafia Wars in my top ten. I just kept writing about what was working!
10. “A Review of the MediWeight Loss Program”, published 7/17/2009, 5400 page views
Positives: Title contains a popular diet program’s name and contains popular diet search terms. Also, the article was published during mid-summer, when people were hitting the pools and beaches (me included!). Also, my MediWeight Loss Clinic published my article on their website, and I had started a blog that caught on very well, which linked back.
The conclusions I’ve drawn to my analysis is that 1) Game articles do very well due to their universal appeal with online gamers. Likewise, 2) Song lists are popular with a huge internet audience who are searching for that information, 3) Local information that is timely performs very well, 4) Medical issues have a wide audience if the article’s title is easily searched and stimulates conversation and finally, 5) Since each of these articles link to or from other articles I have published on AC, Suite 101 or Examiner, that definitely works to increase page views.
Two interesting facts involving AC is that: 1) Only three of these top ten articles were given a “content payment” by AC, so I won’t fret over not getting that payment in the future, and 2) The two articles about songs were chosen from AC’s assignment list. I’m wondering, could those assignments get better internet exposure?
In 2010, I plan to branch off from the articles that landed in the top half of my list, link articles to each other, and accept more AC writing assignments. I also vow to continue to evaluate my potential audience for every article!
My Worst Article in 2009
Okay, so what was the article on the bottom of my list, you ask? It was “Capitolwordsorg:Track What Your Lawmakers Say”, published 4/21/2009, page views 36! Yes 36, as in thirty-six page views! As fun as I thought the website I wrote about was, apparently no one cares what their lawmakers have to say! (You should check it out!)
So now you know how I measured up. I challenge you to do your own analysis and come up with an improved writing plan for 2010. And remember to write wisely, because when writing online, an article that turns out to be a true lemon never becomes lemonade!