Last week I decided to run a small experiment on the ProBlogger reader community (please forgive me for making you a guinea pig).
In my post revealing a batch of reader blog tips in the 31 day project I inserted a CrazyEgg tracking code to track what links in the post readers clicked on. The reason for the experiment was to answer a few questions to do with participating in Group Writing Projects:
- Are people actually clicking the links in these posts (ie – is it worth running these projects and participating in them)?
- How important is it to be early in the list?
- What makes a title clickable?
Let me share the results by tackling each question.
1. Are people actually clicking the links?
CrazyEgg shows that 1550 people visited the post in question (more viewed it in RSS and on the Blog Page – these were not tracked) and that they clicked 2204 times on the page. The vast majority of these 2204 clicks were on the list itself. While the total number of clicks from RSS and the blog page cannot be known I’d say that there is a good number of clicks on the list and that it’s probably a worthwhile thing to participate in.
2. How important is it to be early in the list?
The heat map that CrazyEgg produced shows that those in the top section of the list did get more clicks than those in the bottom section. The two screen shots below show this. The first is of the first links in the list and the second is of the last links in the list.
Obviously there’s more action in the first screenshot.
A few other observations on positioning of links
- While the top links were clicked on more than others all but three links in the list were visited at least once
- The top 4 links were particularly hot although…..
- The most clicked link on the page was actually listed 12th in the list, the next two in the list were 3rd and 4th, the next was 16th and the next was 51st.
- Other single links down the page did get higher clicks on them than others while a few links in the top section were clicked on significantly less than others around them (indicating that some other factor was at play – particularly the title)
3. What makes a title clickable?
To the right are the top 25 links from the list ranked in order of how many clicks that they each had.
As mentioned above – where they were listed did have a play – although there were a few that appeared out of order.
A few observations:
- ‘lists’ with numbers in them featured well
- posts that related strongly to the audience of ProBlogger obviously did well
- posts that were obviously ‘how to’, practical or ‘tips’ did well
- questions featured in the list in numerous places
- titles that showed a benefit of reading or presented a need that people had worked
- there was a real mixture in the list in terms of post length – some were short, some were quite long
- the use of CAPITALS in the 5th ranked link seemed to draw the eye down the page (to the 51st position) to get more clicks
Titles do matter in group writing projects.
While I won’t publicly point out the posts that didn’t get any or many clicks – in most cases they were due to weaker titles which were either vague or irrelevant.
What other things do you notice about the Top 25 titles in the list?
Take Home Advice:
If you’re going to participate in these types of group writing projects then there are three obvious factors in play if you want to generate a lot of visitors.
- Get in Early – have a post ready to go if possible to be at the top of the list
- Consider your title very carefully
- Choose a topic that is highly relevant and useful to the audience of the blog that the project is on
Of course getting people to your blog is only half of the equation. There’s no point in have a post at the top of a list with a great title if your post is rubbish and you don’t draw people into your blog. Making your blog sticky then becomes the key task that you need to work on.