The Recipe For a Popular Post

Recipe For A Popular Blog PostI’m on a mini-vacation taking advantage of the snow that just recently hit the slopes here in Southern California, so I won’t be around to answer comments until later this week. I wanted to throw up a “what I’ve been reading lately” type of post which I normally do every couple of months, but I thought it would be cool to put a spin on it. Enjoy this post and pray I don’t hurt myself while I’m snowboarding!

We all want to write popular posts, the ones that drive massive traffic to our blogs and produce a ton of interaction within our audience. Some posts we write are obviously going to be more popular than others, but what is it that really makes a post popular?

To answer this question lets take a closer look at some of the most popular posts from blogs around the web and see if we can make some connections.

Below you’ll find 3 popular posts from each of the blogs listed below. Really take some time to see if you can find any commonalities between them. – Glen Allsop – Erica Douglass – Corbett Barr – Brian Clark – Naomi Dunford – Chris Ducker – Sterling and Jay – Maren Kate

And here are my own, in case you missed them:

You can probably tell there are some common traits between them just from reading the headlines. I invite you to read some of them because, well, they are some of the most popular posts for a reason.

What about blogs that don’t have to do with business, blogging or entrepreneurship?

Let’s see! – Jeff Rose – Cliff Ravenscraft – Nathalie Lussier – Steve Pavlina – Darren Rowse

Again, you should be able to see some commonalities between these articles and across all of these industries.

So let me ask you: looking at all of these posts (and hopefully reading some of them too), what do YOU think makes some or all of them some of the most popular posts on their blogs?

  • Onibalusi Bamidele

    Awesome post Pat,

    There are truly a lot of great things in common with the title, one of which is that most are list posts.

    I have read some on Viperchill, Problgger and Copyblogger and I’ll be giving the rest a look.

    Thanks so much for the awesome resource,

    • Vik Tantry

      Hi Pat!

      Hope you’re enjoying your vacation. I’m actually heading to Tahoe in a few days myself =)

      I think some of the key commonalities are that the posts are:

      – detail-oriented: they go into specifics and cite examples rather than just talking in generalities
      – catchy: they have personality, and don’t just drone on like a textbook
      – relevant: they all solve a real pain-point, rather than talking in abstract terms.

      Good stuff!

  • Jason Young

    Cool Spin on this post Pat,

    Two things I can think of is how they drill down into each topic and their use of sub headings. Each of these post go very deep detail about their topics, but following a natural progression that is easy for the reader to follow and easy to consume thanks to sub heads. Due to how much they go into the detail the reader begins to see the value and because they are organized by sub heads in a logical sequence, (which easier said than done) they end up with a great post.


  • Chris C. Ducker

    Hey Pat

    Had no idea you were putting this together!

    Thank you for the mention – much appreciated. Hope you gained a little out of the posts you picked, and that your readers will, too!

    Cheers, and ski steady, my man!


  • Shaun

    Hey Pat,

    Great way to spin a round up post! Definitely some variety there, but ultimately our clever authors are giving the reader what they want: “how to” or “why you should”. Without trying to be rude, most people tend to lack imagination or creativity which sets our successful writers apart from other aspiring entrepreneurs. It’s not always easy to pull off, but these guys all do it really well.

    Thanks for the lesson 😉

  • Diggy

    Hey Pat,
    I’ve found that most of my posts that went viral were either a touching story, a list post or something that offered a very useful solution for a common problem.

    Almost all of these posts of mine that went viral I had no intention of making them spread like that.

    I guess it is the same with most of these (GREAT) posts you have listed here! They are either list posts, share a meaningful story or give a useful solution to a common problem, and that is why people want to share them

    Have a great week!

  • Vinay

    Great list. Lots of these post I have read already but a few great ones in there. Will definitely go through them. Thx Pat!

  • Samuel

    I think the post title and they way the express their feelings when writing the post is what makes them popular. What do you think? Thanks so much.

  • Steve Roy

    Great stuff here. I’ve seen most of these, but a few are new to me. Thanks

  • Tim @ Faith and Finance

    Good post Pat

    As I looked through these posts, I found the following commonalities that really stood out:

    1. Good layout of content – I could easily skim through in a few seconds and get hooked on the content; then I HAD to read the material.

    2. A variety in content types – there were some videos and images that broke up the words and really made me want to watch or view the image more closely.

    3. A unique call to action – Even for the short posts, you can capture your audience when you challenge them with a good question or ask for their opinion.

    Just my $0.02


  • Eric | My 4-Hour Workweek

    I’ll echo what others have said – It may be only one ingredient of the “recipe” but it’s clear the the *title* is crucial to writing a popular post. A lot of the posts seem to offer a “silver bullet” solution (e.g. *THE* Backlinking Strategy That Works).

    Have fun on your snowboarding trip!

  • Micheal Cernoch

    It’s always interesting to test brand-new dishes. You can certainly find the weirdest recipes on the internet but man can you learn to cook some wonderful stuff with the internet. Many thanks!

  • Karen

    Pat… I just spent the last two weeks reading every single post and listening to every single podcast since Day 1. Wow… I have taken tons of notes and bookmarked at least a dozen pages for future reference. But, more importantly I have taken action. I had been toying with the idea of a blog for years and had actually started a couple of times. I had “heard” you could make money on the internet, but I had no idea how people actually did it.
    Well… to make a long story short… as of today, my blog is up and running and I have started a niche site (I also have ideas for several more). I have joined several affiliate programs so that I can begin to see revenue. I have written 5 infobarrel articles (and have outlines for 5 more). I am working on an outline for my 1st e-book and I am working on writing a KILLER pillar article for your contest.
    My goal right now is to recoup the $100 I spent setting this up by the end of December. If I can do this, the sky is the limit. I could see replacing my current six figure income which requires me to work 40-60 hours a week at a job that I do not LOVE with a business that I am passionate about.
    You do very good work… THANK YOU!!!

  • Devin Elder

    Nice round up Pat!

    Title writing is an art that all of the above bloggers have mastered. As simple as these titles are, it really is a skill to cram that much intrigue and convey that much info in less than 10 words.

    When in doubt – throw some numbers in your title!

    Safe boarding!

    – Devin

  • Tim Conley

    Posts that have a set number of items are very attractive to people. We just can’t resist know what the 7 most powerful thingamajigs are.

    And for those not paying attention, this type of post that you just read is very popular with people and it serves to notify the other blogs that you read them especially if traffic comes from one of the links above.

  • Fernando

    Nice round up post Pat!
    I think what makes a post popular is the way you handle it. I mean, a lot of people feels identified when you talk about certain topics with a personal point of view and people love to see what others think about a same issue or a solution for it.
    Thanks again Pat!

  • DB Baker

    Truly a great list of great blog posts. Not sure I will be able to read them all but I will surly go over most of them.

    I think that just by reading the posts titles you can understand that the title of the post has a lot to do with how successful it is going be.

  • Tim


    This is a great Highlight Reel for the end of 2010 – I’m not sure if it was originally meant this way, but I’ve found value in it.

    Thanks for all you do.

    – Tim

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for sharing the tremendous mix of resources. Oodles of value here.

    I feel the most popular posts are the posts which make an impact. Some posts touch people in such a way that they can’t help to become popular. If your writing causes people to become emotionally involved with the work, it should become popular.

    These type posts are written from the heart and provide some form of inspiration or creatively usable content that is gobbled up upon reading.

    Have a powerful day!


  • Gibson Goff

    It’s been echoed many times over, good writers are good readers, and more importantly readers of great material. Your listing adds another block of knowledge to the castle!

  • Stuart

    Nice list there, plenty to peruse over. It’s amazing how many of the titles contain ‘How To…’ or ‘# ways to…’

    I guess this is the marketing way, but after I see it on so many posts, I start to get a little bored of it.

    Have fun snowboarding, you lucky guy :-)

  • Harley

    Great list love the posts!

    New here !

  • Jeff rose

    Whoa! What a pleasant surprise to find my blog mentioned. Kudos, bud!

    Apparently I do a decent job of post titles and I didn’t even know it :)

    Have fun snowboarding. Do you go to BIg Bear? Last time I went snow boarding (ages ago) was at Snow Summit. I think I still have the bruises :)

  • Elias Felix

    Great reading list for the weekend Pat. Take care on the hills!

  • Mike

    Wow, such an impressive resources, Pat. They not only generate headline ideas for popular posts, but actually help us know the recipe of one. Tweeted!

  • Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    overarching theme = find a way to engage your reader

  • The Passive Income Earner

    Just from reading the titles, these posts provide an ‘how-to’ answer with a catchy title to subject heavily researched. The title and what you offer is often the first part in getting someone’s attention. The stats don’t show how long a user actually spent reading the post, there may be less popular posts that actually get a lower bounce rate.

    Another interesting take from this for me would be to know if these popular post were actually intended to be popular. As much as you write good content, there are some posts you are more proud than others. Were these posts expected to do this good? Or did it just turn out like that?

    Really good post on getting us to question ourselves and look at how others do. Thanks for sharing as always.

  • Victory Unlimited Show

    Also remember that the one of the MAIN ingredients for a popular post is that it must strike a chord with the audience on an EMOTIONAL level. I realize that not all blogs, subjects, or podcasts lend themselves to this, but most do.

    I think it would behoove everyone here to to write (or broadcast) to your audience about WHATEVER it is about “your” particular niche that stirs them passionately.

    In my case, it would be speaking to the strong need that guys have for the companionship of a great woman.

    For people in the making money niche, it could be speaking to the promise of happiness that’ll surely come the day they can quit their day jobs and focus on generating more-passive income exclusively.

    Or, for people in the fitness niche, it could be speaking to the sense of accomplishment that awaits those who complete a particular fitness program you’re offering——-that day a couple of months from now when they’ll be able to look into the mirror and see a “brand new person”.

    The examples could go on and on. But you get the picture.

  • Andrzej

    They all have catchy titles and look like a promise of getting rid of a problem in just minutes – almost just by reading 😉


  • Tej Kohli

    I had also make a section of Popular post into my blogs which are changes dynamically according performance

  • Kellie

    Thank you for this list. I am especially enjoying Viperchill, a site I have not yet visited in the past.


  • Kenneth Ashley

    Hello Pat!

    Thank you for your list. I am a frequent Problogger reader. So +1 Problogger.


    Kenneth Ashley

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