As a blogger, you should be on a constant mission to evaluate which of your blog posts are the most popular. If you have an understanding of the type of content that is most favored by your audience, you can produce more of it, and boost your blog’s popularity by doing so.
Furthermore, knowing which of your posts are the most popular allows you to showcase the best ones. We all know that blogs favor more recent posts, but that shouldn’t stop you from promoting your most evergreen content.
There is just one problem – figuring out which of your blog posts are the most popular is notoriously difficult. The popularity of any given blog post is typically measured by one of the two following metrics:
- Total number of visits
- Total number of comments
Unfortunately, neither of these metrics provides you with a true indication of popularity. For instance, one of your posts can just happen to be seen by a big player on Digg, who then promotes it to his huge audience. Bam – loads of traffic – but it doesn’t mean that your audience favors that post over others.
And as for comments – they don’t really prove anything. Only a small fraction of your readers will ever comment. Judging the popularity of a post by the opinion of a tiny minority doesn’t strike me as a particularly sound basis for measurement. Furthermore, there is often no direct correlation between the popularity of a post and the number of comments it receives. For instance, you could write an awful post that people can’t wait to tell you that they hate – it doesn’t mean that it is popular.
Is There A Better Way?
Quite possibly. Enter MoodThingy. Awful name, granted, but this plugin has the potential to tell you what your readers are really thinking.
The concept is simple. The plugin places a small box at the bottom of every post on your blog, allowing people to cast their vote on how the post made them feel:
Okay, so you’re not reading people’s minds – but they are telling you exactly how they feel, so it is essentially the same thing. And because there is very little involved in rating a post (i.e. you just click a button), you are likely to get far more votes than you do comments.
Over time, as votes are cast, a picture will start to emerge as to which of your posts are the most popular:
Furthermore, you can see which of your posts were the least popular – certainly an underrated factor for you to consider.
The great thing about this system is that it does not rely on volume. Sure – you will need to have a fair few votes on each post to allow for statistical discrepancies, but it isn’t all about the quantity of votes – it’s about the votes themselves.
Comments and visits have no “personality” – you are just assuming that someone likes your post because they visited or commented. With MoodThingy, you make no assumptions – you simply allow the visitor to tell you exactly how they felt about your post. With that information, you can craft your future content to match exactly what your visitors are looking for.
This is a relatively new plugin, and although it is extremely useful in its current guise, there is room for improvement. Changing the name would be a good start.
But apart from that, it would be great if you could change the adjectives that are used in the plugin. The combination of “fascinated”, “amused”, “sad”, “angry”, “bored” and “excited” is rather unusual. My personal preference would be to offer perhaps just three or four options.
Also, there are no options to modify the plugin. For instance, I would prefer that votes are only counted once a post has received say 10 votes. However, the plugin starts counting after just 2.
Finally, a link back to the MoodyThingy website is built into the feedback form. It is not typical for WordPress plugin developers to enforce this, and so the makers of MoodThingy should consider removing this in order to attract more users.
A New Social Site?
The party doesn’t just stop with the plugin and your blog though. The MoodThingy website displays “what’s hot” on the homepage – which at this point simply appears to be a list of the most voted-for posts. That seems to rather go against the whole point of the plugin – at the time of writing, a post that is majority-ranked as “boring” is number three on the list.
But given a wide adoption of the plugin, MoodThingy could become a popular social site in the same vein as Digg.
Diamond In The Rough
There is plenty of potential in this plugin, and yet it has only been downloaded just over 1,000 times. Having been playing around with it for some time, I honestly think that it is a better way of adjudging popularity than the “traditional” metrics of visitors or comments. Furthermore, it can enable you to figure out which types of posts perform the best on your blog, so that you can produce more on the same topic.
Creative Commons photo courtesy of Steve-h