Out of the nearly 90 posts I have written so far this year, several have really stood out by generating strong readership and lots of comments. I thought it might be helpful to look at the most popular ones so far this year and attempt to figure out why each resonated with so many.
If you missed one or more of these posts, click the title and see what all the buzz was about. I encourage you to add your thoughts at the end of this post. Why were these the most-read? Is there a common theme or some reason one or more made the list? Maybe you see some common thread I have missed.
Top Posts through First Half of 2012 (in order)
1. We Lost How Much Net Worth?
2. When Will I Stop Blogging?
3. Volunteering During Retirement: What To Do?
4. What Does Living a Satisfying Retirement Mean To You?
5. Where Are The Good Repair People?
6. Retirement Vacation Ideas
7. How Did We Grow Up So Deprived?
8. How To Mess Up A Retirement
9. What Are You Doing Now That Excites You?
The first thing that jumps off the page is that 7 of the top 9 are questions. Obviously, asking for participation and your thoughts are important in developing a strong exchange. That seems like common sense, but is a different direction than the blog originally was taking. If I look back a year, more of the posts were giving information, providing guidelines, and passing on my experiences than asking for your input.
As the readership has grown I have felt more comfortable in asking for comments. And, I would guess you have felt better about leaving your thoughts as you have spent a bit more time on this blog. Both writer and reader must develop a certain level of trust and comfort before talking about certain things.
One fact I find encouraging is the nice spread throughout the months of these well-received posts. Two are from June, one from May, two from April, two from March, and one each from February and January. To me that says the quality has been consistent and they have been well spaced.
In terms of topics, there is one that is strictly financial, four that deal with your passions and interests, one focused on vacations, one gripe (repair people!), one about blogging, and one with my tongue in my check (being deprived).
I notice that relationship posts aren't in the top 9. That may mean the ones on that topic don't lend themselves to as many comments and interaction, or the ones I wrote were more "instructional" and didn't prompt feedback. I know it is a very important subject to retirement happiness, so I'll have to work on finding an approach that is more "active."
Over all, guest posts also don't work well. Primarily, I think that is because they tend to be "here's how you do something" or "here's how to save money." I also assume you are used to my particular style of writing and a guest writer just comes across as different....not better or worse....just different.
One very recent change that I guess is a good thing in an odd way: I have had to start comment moderation. The number of "anonymous" comments that are poor attempts at getting a link on this blog have increased from one every few weeks to at least two or three a day. Some mornings, I'll find half a dozen sitting in the spam filter. This means the blog has become seen by more people and is an attractive spammer target. But, it means I must check every comment before it goes live on the blog. I was hoping to not take that step, but the Internet is a nasty place.
Thank you, the BRITW, for such a great first half of 2012. let's see what the next six months bring us.
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