Top 10 Posts of 2014

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Earlier this month, I shared 10 lessons I’ve learned from 10 years of blogging. One of those lessons was that while you could not predict traffic, you could cultivate it.

So, I want to use what could be a standard list where I look back on the posts with the most traffic as something of a practical application of that lesson. If you can cultivate traffic, what has that looked like for my blog this year?

Here are my 10 most read posts and why they ended up in the top 10.

10. Two Crucial Mistakes a Pastor Can Make

Ultimately, a man’s ability to deliver God’s Word lies only in the God of the Word, not the words of a man. That is enough to humble the self-assured preacher and correct the self-doubting one.

Being friends with several pastors and influencers of pastors helped this post spread on social media. This post is a reminder that relationships matter, even when it comes to blog traffic.

9. Books Still Matter — Ask a Chart Topping Rapper

Christians must be readers and writers. Even in a world supposedly driven by pictures and sounds, books continue to be one of the most important ways we shape culture. Just ask Lecrae.

Right after Lecrae became the first to reach number one on the Billboard 200, Christian, and Gospel charts, people were interested in information about him. This post gained a much larger audience thanks to links from Trevin Wax and Tim Challies.

8. 300: God’s Way

How odd is that when we look for heroes or leaders, even within the church, we still look first for men like Leonidas? We want inspiring warrior kings, not ordinary men faithfully serving an extraordinary God. We want men, who by their mere presence, guarantee victory. We want armies of 300 the Spartan way, not 300 God’s way.

I posted this after 300: Rise of an Empire had a big opening weekend at the box office. Time posts to coincide with cultural conversations and potential Google searches, which is where virtually all of the traffic for this post originated.

7. Who’s the Villain in the X-Men: Days of Future Past Post Credits Scene?

Knowing that the next film will be X-Men: Apocalypse should be the only clue you need, but this scene makes it clear. The evil Apocalypse is coming to destroy the weak everywhere.

This is part of finding your niche, but not being afraid to stretch the boundaries some. As you will see on this list, posts about comic book movies were among my most read this year.

6. Who Were the Two Prisoners at the End of Captain America: The Winter Soldier?

The twins are actually Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. This article from Screen Crush gives you a lot of background on the two and the roles they may play in the upcoming movies in the Marvel Universe.

With these posts, it is a matter of recognizing the questions that viewers leave the movie theater with and then answering that for them. If you can provide a good summary of the needed information, you can get a lot of traffic through search engines.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy: Who is Star Lord’s Father?

At the end of the film, Yondu, who clearly has a soft spot for Peter, is discussing originally picking up the youngster from Earth. He reveals that they were sent to retrieve Peter by his father.

In this situation, there was no clear answer. Instead, I gave several possibilities and links to other discussions about the different theories people have. It is a matter of building credibility with readers and delivering something of value.

4. 7 Reasons Coke Doesn’t Have Your Name on a Bottle

“Share a Coke with _____” basically takes McDonald’s Monopoly game of trying to find the missing piece and ups the ante with self-absorption … personalization.

People were wondering about their name being on a can or bottle. Then, when they found this post, they shared it because they thought it was funny. If you can make people smile or laugh, there is a good chance they’ll share that with their friends on social media.

3. Parenting With Sanctification, Not Reputation, In Mind

When we are consistently concerned with their sanctification instead of our reputation, we will not raise “the perfect kids,” but we will raise children who have experienced and can recognize sacrificial love.

By focusing on their sanctification and not our reputation, we value the direction and shape of their heart much more than the thoughts and opinions of others.

This was a perfect storm for me. It was a topic that was deeply personal and one that I have written on and developed trust with readers.

It was also a post that I took time to write and edit because I knew it needed it. That allowed me to better develop and deliver my thoughts.

After garnering decent traffic on its own, it shot up once Trevin, Challies, and TGC shared the post, which led to many more tweeting it and sharing it on Facebook.

2. A Guide to Every Mutant in X-Men: Days of Future Past

Here is a list of every known mutant from X-Men: Days of Future Past with a brief description of their abilities and their role in the film.

Even today, seven months after it was first published, this post regularly brings in over 100 page views a day.

Don’t leave a topic (or even a movie) after one post if you think there is more that can be written or questions that can be answered. Keep digging and writing to see what readers are curious about.

1. 7 Myths (or Outright Lies) About Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court Ruling

I’m trying to be gracious in saying some of these may be myths. Wrong ideas can spread quickly through social media, as it did with false rumors about Pope Francis last year, so some people may be legitimately uninformed. But there are some who absolutely know the facts behind the case and are consciously choosing to deliver false information.

If you can provide simple refutations to common misunderstandings, you can draw in readers. This post spread like wildfire on Facebook because people saw so much misinformation, but no one had written one single post that addressed all of those myths.

If you think of your post as spreading like a fire, Twitter is the kindling (it helps gets things started and read by key influencers), but Facebook is the logs (it sustains traffic and helps it spread from one group of people to another). Having links from significant websites (as this post did from Thom Rainer) serves as gasoline on the fire.

If you can secure all three of those — views on Twitter, shares with Facebook, and links from important bloggers — it’s a safe bet that post will be one of your most read of the year.

Again, you will not be able to guarantee traffic, but you can cultivate it through crafting compelling headlines, creating interesting content, building trust with readers, answering questions people are asking, and developing relationships with people online and in real life.

If you blog, what have you learned about your writing and your readers from your own top posts this year? I would love to know what your most read post was this year. Let me know in comments.

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About Author

Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.