The X Factor

It’s fair to say that I’m more out than in when it comes to Zero to hero.  I’ve shied away from some of the challenges because I’ve found them disappointingly repetitive – I had hoped they would be more content-related than they have been, but instead they seem to have featured endless twiddling with layouts, widgets and themes.  I’m aware that this makes me seem somewhat myopic, but at the moment, I’m not interested in making my blog prettier – what’s that saying about books and covers?

Anyway.  I like today’s task, so I’m cracking on.  Today, it’s up to me to find the post on my blog which has the most views, likes or comments, and follow up on it.  One of my favourite things about having a blog is the stats (aren’t we all attention whores?), and I’ll admit I can get a little obsessed.  WordPress sets the stats out fairly neatly, and I love that I can easily check them even if I’m out and about.

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to cheat a little and use my “all time” stats, rather than ones from the past week, month or quarter.  All of these stats interest me, but it feels obvious that in the past week, attention will have been focused on my most recent posts and any from the archive which I have promoted.  So that seems unfair on all of the other posts I’ve published beforehand!

My home and about pages have generated the most attention (896 and 117 views respectively at the time of writing), so I’m going to disregard those.  Here are my top five posts of all time:

5. There’s actually a tie for fifth place, so this is actually going to be a top six.  How a disappointment moved me to tears (my tale of my trip to the Paralympics in 2012) and Loves and losses (the stories of various important horses and ponies of my past) have both received 23 views.  Pat on the back for those posts

4. I love that this post has come fourth.  Christmas: not just a religious event was my reflection on event TV, festive advertising and how I feel about it (strongly, in case you were wondering).  It’s had 25 views to date (and I know it’s wildly out of season, so I’m expecting it to plummet now)

3. The yellow rosette (third place) goes to Safety first: update – a post I wrote for Troxel helmets following my initial post about helmets and safety which was re-posted by Riders4helmets.  Yay for safety being in the top three (with 27 hits)!

2. Runner up and a blue rosette goes to one of my most recent posts – “I’d like you to push him”, which is about one of my recent riding lessons.  Incidentally, a tidbit I left out of this week’s post is that I asked my instructor when I saw her this week about the pony I rode in “I’d like you to push him”.  Her response (these are her exact words): “he’s disgraced himself”.  I had to try very very hard not to laugh, because there but for the grace of stirrups went I: the story is that the pony succeeded in bucking a client off recently.  The rider was fine, thanks for asking.  But I felt a little vindicated (the post has so-far generated 32 views)

1. Supreme champion of the hit count with a massive (for me) 57 views is of no surprise to me whatsoever.  I’m going to toot my horn a bit, so look away if you don’t enjoy people who bask in their own glory: I wrote this post long ahead of publication, something I don’t often do.  But I knew I wanted to post on this topic and publish it on this specific date.  I also knew that, around publication day, I’d be really busy, and I was inspired so I wrote.  And then I published.  And someone I respect put out a call for guest blogs.  I entered this, and got a quick response telling me that it’s “bloody brilliant” (this also happened at a time when I really needed to hear some kind words about something in my life).  A longer version was requested and duly produced, and I’m still incredibly proud of this piece.  So thank you to The L Word for encouraging me and helping my writing to get out there

Some of these posts have received more attention because I’ve promoted them heavily, both via social media and on my own site, having recently developed a “Featured elsewhere” page and given my “About” page a makeover.  Some of these will have been popular because they were deliberately posted at the right time – seasonal posts, if you will.  And hopefully they’ve also been popular because they’re engaging and well-written.  Most of my most popular posts are horse ones – I’m not sure if that’s therefore the topic I write best on, but I think it’s also possibly due to the promotional opportunity that is #horsehour on Twitter (Mondays, 8pm UK time!).

So perhaps I need to find an equivalent promotional opportunity to promote my non-horse posts.  Suggestions in the comments are welcomed if you have any!  In the meantime, if you have a spare moment, do let me know what your favourite thing I’ve written about is (and, at a push – why).  This isn’t just an exercise in massaging my ego, I really would like to know what you want to read about, so that I can hopefully do more of it.  I hit the milestone of 100 posts this week, which has made me think a lot.  The first 100 posts have been fun, and I’m looking forward to the next 1,000.

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