Update: My ‘Must Reads’ section has been renamed ‘Court’s Best Work’
Today I was doing some reviews of some newer blogs. Usually when I do that I try to find an interesting article, one that I can link to. If I’m going to review a site, I usually try to plug something important so that I can push some readers there. One of the sites I reviewed today was pretty interesting, but it was super hard for me to find a really good article. I almost got frustrated enough to leave the site without finding a good article.
In my review of the site, I recommended creating a ‘Must Reads’ or ‘Best Of’ section. That way people could quickly find out whether the site has something to offer or not.
While I had this topic ‘on the brain’, I noticed something very interesting in my stat log. Here’s a picture of the log so that you can all know what I’m talking about:
This log is showing the path of a certain visitor, and if you look closely you will see that every single page that the visitor went to was part of my ‘Must Reads’ section.
Why Does That Matter?
It matters because that visitor has seen my best work! Let’s say that the visitor happened to land on my homepage right now. (4/5/2007, 2:41 p.m. MDT) My newest article right now is called, “Blogs Of Interest – Link Love.” It’s an article that gives a shout-out to some aspiring bloggers who happen to have caught my eye. I think it’s important to recognize other bloggers, but it’s definitely not the best article I’ve ever written. If I landed on my blog right now, I would probably leave and never come back, unless…….
Something Else Catches My Eye
Right at the top of my ‘Must Reads’ section, you will find the most popular article I’ve ever written. I’ve had tons of emails thanking me for writing it. It’s an article that teaches people about starting a blog; it’s the most thorough of its kind. (that I know of) The article is called, “5263 Words On Starting A Profitable Blog.” Interestingly, almost every single person that has ever come to this site has at least checked it out. Most of my referral traffic lands right on that post, since it’s the article that is mostly highly linked to on the site. I really doubt that this would be the case if I didn’t have a ‘Must Reads’ section.
How To Implement A ‘Must Reads’ Or ‘Best Of’ Section
- Write something worth showcasing. If you don’t have a great article, what’s the point? The article that sits atop my ‘Must Reads’ section took 10 hours to write.
- Write something else worth showcasing. Your readers will need to see a few interesting articles if you want them to get hooked.
Add them to your site. I understand that some of you already have material worth showcasing, and if you do you can skip those steps.
Once you have showcase worthy material, you can add the special section to your site. There are two methods I know of for doing this:
- Edit your WordPress, Blogger, or Type template. If you’re using WordPress, you will probably be adding it to to one of the sidebar files. (The sidebar files are where your categories, archives, and recent posts, etc., usually show up.) If you have no idea where your sidebar files are, find out! You’ll have to type ‘Must Reads’ and then you’ll type each article title one by one. You’ll then make hyperlinks out of each. If you can’t figure that out you can hire me to do it for $1,000,000. Once they’re in your sidebar file they will show up on every page of your blog.
- Popularity Contest WordPress Plugin – This one only works with WordPress! It shows your most popular posts, which are hopefully your best. The reason that I chose the first method is because I think I know which ones are my best, and I want to show them.
If you are serious about blogging, I would highly recommend integrating this idea into your blog. I don’t by any means believe that everyone has to do everything I do in order to achieve success, but this is one thing that has really worked out well for me. It will impact your blog’s loyal readership, links, SEO, and usability.
As you can see, I find it so important I have placed it above my ads.