As I’ve mentioned in the past, I love to see what’s working. If a particular SPI blog post or page is performing well, and it is resonating strongly with the community, I know we’ve done something right. We’ve created something that’s of value, which is what it’s all about it.
I also love to analyze data, so it’s a good excuse to jump into that. Social media shares, blog post comments, page views. All of these data points are key indicators to the popularity of your content.
So that’s what I wanted to get into today: some of the most popular content on SPI, why it is popular, and a few key lessons we learned along the way.
Before I jump into the Top 5 Posts on SPI though, I wanted to start with a few of the most popular SPI pages. Some of these pages are actually viewed more often than blog posts, so they are important to mention. Here we go…
The Top 3 Most Popular Pages on SPI
Total Page Visits:
The Resources page is one of the most visited pages on SPI, and one that I reference all of the time in blog posts, SPI TV, and podcast episodes. The beauty of a resource page, as I've written about before, is that it’s useful for both the reader (that’s you!) and for me. This page is so useful because it lists all of the resources that I’ve vetted and use regularly, so you don’t have to go through the process of researching what works, and you can feel confident that the resources will be helpful to you and your business. Plus, it’s a win-win because many of the resources are products that I promote as an affiliate, which means I get a commission if you purchase through that particular link.
On that note, I am very upfront about my affiliation with some of the resources. I think it’s very important to be honest and straightforward about affiliates. I recommend resources because they are helpful to me, and I believe they’ll be helpful to you, not because I receive a commission. They are helpful whether they are affiliates or not. But it is neat to see that the resources page is the most profitable page on the blog, with fifty percent of my commissions coming directly from the affiliate resources you find useful. Again, win-win!
I recommend that everyone creates a resource page. You can experiment with various resources over time, see what gets clicked and set up a split test to see if you can optimize your best performing resources. It will help out both your readers and your business.
The second most popular page is My Income Reports. People are very curious about my income, and want to get a behind-the-scenes look into how I generate an income that has grown over time. Each month I post a new report for the previous month’s income with a detailed breakdown of my expenses and earnings for the month, along with a few lessons learned.
The lesson I’ve learned about My Income Reports is that transparency and consistency matter. If you can do something like this for your community, it opens up the kimono and shows them a deeper look inside your business process. They’ll appreciate it. And if you’re consistent with it, they’ll look forward to it every month, and then it just becomes a great hub of information you can continue to build on.
You don’t necessarily have to reveal your income either, as long as you can go behind the scenes and give your audience something unique. I remember back in 2010, before Chris Ducker had chisducker.com, he had virtualbusinesslifestyle.com. The website doesn’t exist anymore, but when it did Chris put out a regular report about his transition from office CEO to virtual CEO. In this report, he kept track of how many hours he actually spent in the office every month, and you could see that each month the time became less and less. He was experiencing burnout and started to think about how he could better take care of himself while continuing to run his business virtually. It was pretty fascinating to see and was a great lesson for anyone who is in the same position or has aspirations to be the CEO of a company.
Do you have a page on your website that’s similar, where you could share something interesting and behind the scenes about your business journey? I’d recommend it. We all have something interesting to share. It’s just waiting to be discovered!
The number one most popular page is Passive Income 101, which isn’t surprising. It’s one of the main calls-to-action on the SPI homepage, and it’s a page that helps people get started on their passive income path. If you’re just starting out, I’d also highly recommend checking out The Hole in Most Blogs (Including Mine) That Needs to Be Filled.
The interesting thing about it is that it’s #1 in terms of overall pageviews, and it wasn’t even published until mid-2011! That’s how important it is, and how much I’ve made it a primary call to action on the homepage.
The Passive Income 101 page is important because, even though blogs are great at keeping an archive of content in chronological order, that's not necessarily how new visitors should be reading the content. New visitors should be directed to the content that is suited to their needs. This is actually one of the main reasons we recently redesigned SPI.
A few other reasons this page is so popular are the calls-to-action that encourage visitors to listen to my podcasts, join my email list, and take advantage of an exclusive SPI discount for hosting with Bluehost. The page explains a little bit about me, but more about what I can do for the people who visit, including explaining the types of passive income and what to expect, the SPI business model, a free Get Started the Smart Way online course, and a few more goodies to set you off in the right direction.
Now for the most popular blog posts…
Top 5 Posts on SPI
These posts are ranked based on pageviews plus several other factors, including social shares from various social media platforms.
The best web apps are the ones that help optimize my day-to-day and create efficiencies in my work life so I can spend more time with family (or at the gym accidently breaking resistance bands. Yikes!). These twenty-one web apps, even though I wrote this back in December 2013, are still some of my favorite apps out there.
Similar to My Income Reports page, this post kind of shows people what I use behind the scenes, explains what each app is all about, and why I can’t live without it. It’s popular because there are a wide range of useful apps, from web analytics optimization and writing tools to podcasting software and graphic design programs. Apps are great because they help people achieve results faster than they would without them, and they especially like it when you can test and personally vouch for the apps beforehand! It’s no surprise that this page has been shared over 1,000 times and continues to be shared despite it being a couple of years old.
This blog post, as I explain in its intro, was kind of an experiment. I was experimenting with using a BuzzFeed-style title, which turned out to be successful. The title was unlike anything I had really done before. It's obviously a very intriguing title, but the post itself had to deliver too. I think it did for a few reasons: one, people love list-style posts. It’s easier to read chunks of text than it is to read long, uninterrupted text (Moby Dick would not do well in a blog format). Two, the text is also broken up with clear sub-headers and images. Three, by putting “five minutes or less” in the title, it lets the reader know what to expect, which is often very helpful.
I remember a lot of people doing posts like this, including Corbett Barr from Fizzle.co and Adam Baker from manvsdebt.com. I learned through them that by just sharing how much time it will take for certain tasks (like reading a blog post), it becomes more doable and easier to take action on, in this case, the blogging tips. And when those people get results, especially within a short amount of time, they’re going to feel amazing and want to share and comment on the post. This post has nearly three hundred comments to date!
The lesson for this blog post is that sometimes small adjustments can help you achieve small wins, which is something I discussed before in How I Increased My Email Subscriptions by 315%. I’d also recommend you check out The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. [This link leads to Amazon. Full disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.] In the book, Charles uses the term small wins to refer to small behavior changes that can create a chain reaction of additional and better changes over time. So, if you haven’t already, try creating a list-style post of small wins for you and your audience. It will be a useful and popular post for your blog arsenal!
The main reason this blog post is popular is because it walks people very clearly, step by step, through something (i.e., starting a newsletter and email list) that is pretty hard and complicated and often overwhelming. You’re given clear steps to follow, with images and first-hand proof from me as I actually document my journey through the process alongside you.
The post was actually recently updated when I switched to ConvertKit. [Full Disclosure: I'm a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.] The set up is similar to AWeber (the tool I used previously) in terms of how to use the newsletter formats, how to follow up, and how to create an autoresponder sequence, but there are a few differences. So, because this post is so popular, I updated it in January of this year so it would remain relevant to the tools I’m currently using.
A key lesson here is to keep an eye on and maintain your most popular posts. If your post references a tool you use, there’s always a chance that you’ll find a replacement tool, or that tool may go defunct, so it’s important to update those if things change—your niche, technology, the tools you use—over time.
This is the first and only podcast episode on this list. It’s by far the most shared podcast episode. I've had podcast episodes with more downloads, and I've had podcast episodes with more comments (see SPI 078 with Clay Collins on rapid list building techniques). This one, however, was different.
The target audience? Artists.
To help guide me in this post, I took a page out of Derek Halpern’s book and really focused on the specific niche, the artist. Honestly, I didn't think it would perform as well as it has, but because it’s so specific to artists, the artist community has been amazing in engaging with it and sharing it with other artists.
A similar thing happened to Derek. He wrote about an experience he had with a massage therapist who, he was surprised to see, really had no marketing in place for their business. In the post, Derek offered some advice about how to market to new customers, and then the massage therapist community discovered the post and shared it widely with their community. I love seeing stuff like this, because it speaks to the incredible power of community, and the importance of targeting to specific audiences. Real-life, tried and tested validation!
In addition to the amazing community of artists willing to share the post, its popularity was helped by its use of eye-catching imagery and bright colors, and how well, because of that, it performed on Pinterest. To this day, it’s my most pinned post on Pinterest, with 4,090 pins! Pinterest is an artist’s haven, so it makes sense why the post would be popular there.
Focusing on the target niche was the big lesson here. Even though artists don’t technically fit into my core focus, online business, this post helped me get a lot of new exposure to people who I would have never reached before because I targeted a specific niche and delivered for them. And I had a great guest, Cory Huff, who spoke about how artists can make money online, a topic that is useful for artists looking to figure out how to generate an income.
The number on post is this podcasting tutorial that I reference all the time; it’s widely shared by aspiring and fellow podcasters as well as influencers who’ve said it's so good that they would much rather point their audience to it instead of creating their own. I’m so humbled and amazed by that!
I believe the reason this post resonates so strongly with the SPI audience is because it just delivers so much value related to starting a podcast. Everything you need to know about starting a podcast is in there, from artwork and audio leveling tools to recording equipment and hosting. It also includes six different tutorial videos, all of which I produced on my own and spent weeks recording, editing, and making sure they were top notch quality. Each of the six videos walks you through the entire podcast process, from choosing the right equipment to submitting your feed to iTunes.
And at the end of the post, I ask people if they end up publishing a podcast, that they let me know how it went and if the step-by-step worked for them. The result?
Over the moon great.
Countless numbers of people have commented, describing how this post has helped them create their own podcast. They’ve even shared YouTube podcast videos, which link back to the blog post. A simple ask at the end of the blog post is all it took for some great social proof. When you create something of value, people generally want to pay you back. Their personal podcasting success stories are so awesome and encouraging. They’ve inspired me and, I’d imagine, other aspiring podcasters too.
Lastly, because this post has been so popular, I purchased PodcastingTutorial.com, which redirects to the post. It’s a URL that’s easy to remember and easier to find.
The main lesson for this blog post is the value of breaking a complex subject down into simple parts, making sure that each of those parts are high in value by themselves, and adding some well-produced videos. Voila, then it becomes almost like an online course in a way. I could have sold this but I gave it away for free, and as a result, I’ve built a much stronger relationship with my amazing community.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this post helped you get a sense of what drives popularity on SPI, and that you can apply some of the lessons to your own business website or blog.