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7 Hot Posts on My Blog this Month, and Why They Were Successful

I always find it fascinating to look at which posts go viral (or at least, which get shared the most) on my blogs. It isn’t always the ones that you expect!

Here are a few of the recent posts on my dPS blog that have done better than others over the last month, along with some reflections on why I think they were successful.

1. How to photograph babies: 9 tutorials

I’ll be honest: this post was one of those “panic posts” that I do on occasion. A post that I had lined up ready to go from one of our authors didn’t come in on time and I just had to publish something. So on the spur of the moment I decided to write this sneeze page (more on sneeze pages here).

While I knew it was a good topic, as we do get a lot of questions on it, I didn’t expect a lot from the post. Today it ended up on one of Google’s Cool Links lists and is getting heaps of traffic.

2. Posing guides

We published this series over the last few weeks. It contains posing guides for different portrait subjects:

The first post went crazy, so we commissioned the next three (and hopefully a couple more). The key I think is that they’re list posts, they’re visually rich with lots of illustrations, and they’re useful—many of our readers said they’ve printed them or are saving them for shoots that they’re planning.

3. Are you practicing these 5 natural light tips?

After our posing guides, this post has been our most popular this month. Why did it work?

Again, the post is visual (but then all dPS posts are visual—it’s what we do!). I think this one worked partly because of the title (I find question titles perform well, and this question makes people curious to see if they are doing what the article suggests), but also because it was on the theme of natural light that we’ve been exploring throughout the month, as part of the launch of our new Natural Light ebook.

While not a series of posts, this one is on a topic we’ve already sparked interest in through previous posts.

Another post in this series that did well was 5 tips for controlling natural light.

4. 31 [+10] Cool photography tutorials, tips, videos, hacks and how to’s from around the web

This post is a wrap-up of some of the best links from other photography blogs from around the web over the last month or so. These posts tend to perform well for us partly because the the links are genuinely good, partly because a few of the sites we link to then share the post in their networks, and partly because they’re list posts.

We also include ten of our own links in the post to drive internal traffic (another quasi-sneeze page).

5. Portrait tip: don’t fill the frame

This post was a quick one that I wrote that I think did particularly well because it is actually the opposite of the advice that most people are given.

Most people hear advice to fill the frame with their subjects, but in this post I take the opposite view and talk about the beauty of shots where you place your subject in the context of a larger scene.

It was also visual (I probably spent more time looking for example shots than writing the post itself), and it tapped into a problem that I think a lot of amateur photographers have—the comments on this post show how many people fall into the trap of zooming in too much.

6. Is camera lust destroying your photography?

This post went crazy. Perhaps it was having the word ‘lust’ in the title (a little provocative), or perhaps it was I took a slightly humorous spin in the intro.

Actually, it was probably more to do with the topic itself, which I know aways sparks debate and discussion. People love to debate how much gear plays a part in photography, and as you can see in the comments on this one, this post was no exception.

The post also tapped into a personal issue for many photographers and came from my own personal experience, too.

7. 7 Secrets every street photographer should know

This post again has a title that just begs to be clicked. The “secrets” and tips that “everyone should know” intrigue readers and grow their curiosity.

The post itself is well written and helpful. It’s also on on a topic that is pretty hot right now—street photography seems to be having something of a resurgence, and is really sparking interest at the moment.

Shtuff people say to photographers also got a guernsey. This one is all about humor—we had tens of thousands of visits to it. Make people laugh and they’ll pass the post on to others.

What were your hot posts over the last month, and why do you think they were successful? Share them with us in the comments.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Monisima says:

    Interesting tips! Thank you for sharing. Hope you write something about photographing animals, too:)

  2. Darren,
    Thanks for sharing your hot posts. I hadn’t thought about post titles with questions being a big draw.
    My best post this month is How to pass the Professional Engineer Exam. I wrote the post because it is a topic I get asked about a lot but I think the large amount of traffic was due in large part to sharing it with several groups on Linked In.
    Thanks,
    Tony

    • Kalen Smith says:

      That’s a good tip too Anthony. It is good to know what social networks your niche audience is interested in using and write posts that are going to gain traction there. As a former engineer I can appreciate the value of the post and definitely see how it would do well on LinkedIn.

      • Rosie Slosek says:

        I have one service niche selling to 3 niche markets and posting content in the communities is really important. LinkedIn and Twitter work really well for me if you know your audience and use your content as a tool to engage in discussion.

  3. Kate says:

    Thanks for the great post Darren, it’s interesting to see what posts become “HOT”! Our hottest and most controversial post was “5 Reasons You Should Give Your Services for Free”. We posted it in a LinkedIn group and it lit up with all sorts of controversy. Most of the business world (outside of the IM niche) really misunderstand the “Freemium” model. Oh well, thanks for another great post!

    • Rosie Slosek says:

      Kate, I’d say the freemium model works, although only for certain sectors. It works very well for trust based service businesses and for software based ones, for example, where the cost of the free part can be measured and kept appropriate to paid services as part of a sales funnel.

      I think partly the controversy was about your blog title. A small something for free as part of a wider sales offering and a sales funnel, isn’t the same as giving services for free. That illusion cheapens expertise and encourages the unfortunately large number of people who expect professionals to work for nothing or low prices and take that for granted. The freemium model is really good when considered, just isn’t quite the same as giving services for free.

  4. david says:

    Hi Darren, I was looking over what you posted here and the topics are all photography related – which I think is very cool.

    I wanted to ask you: Is problogger.net ‘only’ about photography? The name seems to suggest something different. So, I wanted to ask what the situation is for this blog.

    Thanks Darren! I Hope you don’t mind my question too much.

  5. I can see why those blog posts took off. They actually remind of Copyblogger’s Book “Headline Hacks”, where you learn (nearly) every way to write engaging headlines.

  6. Thanks Darren, I really loved your roundup post on how to photograph babies on DPS and it helped me a lot. It’s funny how the same Post Title structure for viral post is always the same and always contains something like “7 best …” or “How to..” or “5 tips…” . It really is what works best for the average internet reader with a short attention span! :)

  7. Siya says:

    nope, problogger is not about photography. it is about blogging as you may have thought. Just that, Daren also has a photography blog called Didital Photography School (dPS). i think he was suppose to mention tht the posts he’s talking about are from another blog of his. or could he have mistakenly posted that post on a wrong blog? possible.

  8. Ehsan says:

    Thanks for posting your hottest post of the month Darren, I visit your Digital Photography School blog ones a week because I’m not a fan of photography, but I will read those posts which you shared here.

    My hottest post of the month is “How To Make Money On Youtube With Affiliate Marketing”.
    Thanks anyway.

  9. Tyler Olson says:

    Nice post Darren. It’s interesting to see the different reason why a post can go viral (or at least frequently shared). I guess at the heart of it, a viral post happens when you get people interested and engaged with what your writing and as you explain there are a number of ways to accomplish that. It’s clear you are a pro at titles :) I need to get better at that!

    The top post this month on TogTech is a giveaway for a Wacom Intuos5 tablet which I suppose almost shouldn’t count as it by definition draws attention and promotes sharing. The second most popular topic was a leak post about the new Leica M Monochrome camera that was announced on May 10th. Leak’s are always great as it’s never a bad thing to hear about new year before your neighbor does :)

  10. John says:

    Nice post, thanks for the great reading material. i’m going to check out the dps blog now, i’m sure after reading this it’ll be just as interesting. Thanks again and I look forward to reading more of your blogs.
    John,

  11. I have one service niche selling to 3 niche markets and posting content in the communities is really important.

  12. Trung Nguyen says:

    These are awesome links and I’m sure we can learn something from your success, Darren.

  13. Kevin says:

    It really comes down to knowing your niche. The topics that are hot are things that people are either interested in or are controversies. If you can find those hot buttons people will chime in.

    • Tyler Olson says:

      I think you’ve hit it spot on. Blogging about something you don’t know about is tough and really comes through when trying to create topics people are passionate about… it’s almost impossible unless you are passionate about it yourself.

  14. Navjot says:

    Nice post :)
    Thanks for sharing

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  16. Stephany says:

    These are great tips. I know you’ve mentioned list posts a hundred times, but it’s still an aha! moment, or maybe and oh yeah! moment whenever you do. So, please don’t stop. ;)
    My best post for the past several months is the Top 5 Kid-Friendly Beaches in Florida. A ‘top 5′ list post. Go fig.

  17. Linda says:

    Good evening Darren!
    Thanks for the helpful insights – I’ve had an ‘aha!’ moment reading this post and I think I now get how I can make my headlines more likely to get read. Dount the posts will go viral, but just a few readers would be great!

  18. Justin says:

    Since these seven blog entries on your digital photography site are big hits, you’ve basically decided to capitalize on that success, but listing off these blog entries here and explaining why they are a success. That’s very clever of you.