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Curate a Best-Of Post that Gets Read, Used, and Shared

One of the posts I’m featuring in the carousel on Digital Photography School at the moment is the Best of dPS.

dPS best ofIf you haven’t compiled a best-of list of your most-loved posts yet, you should.

  • It’s very sharable: Take your best posts, make them into one post, and you can be sure that your readers—current and new—will love it, and love to share it with others.
  • It supports your authority: Posts like this act as a scannable guide to your expertise and experience within the niche.
  • It provides enormous value: A best-of really is a valuable piece of content for readers. That almost goes without saying!
  • It helps you get attention to great, evergreen content: If your best works are languishing in your archives, a best-of can get them the fresh attention they deserve.
  • It helps readers access content they’ve missed: It’s inevitable that readers will miss some of your posts. A best-of brings your best, most helpful work to their attention in a single, easily bookmarked location.

Now, it might seem like putting to post together is as simple as looking through your visitor stats and working out which posts have gained the most traffic. But there’s more to it than that. Here are my tips for curating a really strong best-of post.

1. Weigh the stats

The way most of us work out which are our best posts is to look at our stats. But what does that actually mean?

I think it’s a good idea to look at social shares and comment counts as well as pageviews. Also, try to remember what type of social media buzz the posts generated when they were first published—the kinds of things people were saying, and why. Finally, look at how long the traffic to the post lasted, as a gauge of how much it drew readers back again over time.

Different posts have different statistical profiles, and not all traffic is created equal. Ideally, your best-of post will contain articles that attracted traffic that converted (for example, became subscribers or social media followers for your blog).

2. Consider your blog’s evolution

The dPS post covered posts that had been published in the space of six months. While these were evergreen posts, you might want to include more topical posts in your best-of. That’s fine—so long as these posts still reflect where your blog is at.

Industries change, and so do bloggers. Something you wrote six months ago—and which did really well at the time—might seem a bit dated or stale to you now. Maybe your opinions have changed, or perhaps it’s your writing style. If you’re not still excited by a post, don’t include it in your best-of list. You want this to be a post you can stand behind whole-heartedly.

3. Review hot topics in your niche

When you’re choosing between good posts that all look they might make the cut, one way to narrow down the options is to look at what’s happening in your niche at the time. Does one post suit the current niche “climate” right now? Does it play into a concern, dialog, or sense of anticipation, and might it draw more readers for that reason?

Including a post or two from your archives that tap into current trends in your niche can really boost the discussion around your best-of, and encourage sharing.

4. Consider reopening closed comments

If you close comments on posts after a set period, you might consider reopening them on the posts you’ve included in your best-of when the post goes live. Allowing new visitors to add to the discussion on these evergreen posts can bring new life—and present-day insight—to these older posts.

Then, when other readers come across the posts in future, they’ll find the discussions more relevant to them.

5. Make sure the linked posts are perfect

Of course, you’ll make sure that all the posts that appear in your best-of list are perfect. Even if you’re the kind of blogger who doesn’t let anything make it through to the blog that’s not perfect, go back over those old posts.

This will give you a chance to reacquaint yourself with the material, so that you can talk about it with readers who ask questions via email or social media. But I think you might also pick up on one or two things that you want to change in each post. It might be something as simple as a turn of phrase, or correcting a link that’s become broken. But these small tweaks will help you get the absolute most out of your best-of post.

Do have a best-of on your blog? Tell us how you put it together—and what benefits it’s brought you.

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. Brian says:

    Thanks for this advice Darren. I have a lot ahead of me in my chosen niche, so these tips are going to come in handy when I hit the inevitable dry spells that come along with it. As always, you are encouraging and it is a real privilege to learn from your experience. Please never stop sharing! Thank you for all that I have learned from you over the years.

  2. Justin Mazza says:

    Love this idea Darren. I am going to do as you suggest and make a “best of” post and also be sure to email my newsletter subscribers and let them know about my “best of” post as well.

    This definitely a good idea when I am not feeling inspired to write new content. :)

  3. Ehsan Ullah says:

    That’s really a great idea Darren. I have the best-of on my blog, but never tried it. I’m gonna do it soon by follow those 5 tips.

  4. Chris says:

    Great advice. I’ve recently been spending more time thinking of how I can use old content in a new way. This is very similar to some of the idea I’ve came up with. I took all the how-to blog posts I did for one of my other sites and made a new how-to page that essentially linked to those blog posts but I made the page very share-able and easier to look through than a traditional blog page.

  5. Ferb says:

    I still haven’t got any feature posts to place on my blog and I’m going to add a slide show that display feature posts to get more share, comments, … There are some good thing I don’t have to worry about is to check for broken links and reopen comment cause a blog is really need to leave the comment opened. There are many plugins that we can use to check for broken links and fix it immediately when found broken links.

  6. Samuel says:

    What a smart way to regenerate your thoughts that you have written throughout all of your best articles.

    It helps get those new readers to start seeing the best in you!

    Doing this can also help you gain authority in your specific niche.

    Thanks for the awesome words Darren!

    Samuel Pustea

    Internet Dreams

  7. Lee Davy says:

    Darren,

    Thanks for this. I am going to try and create one of these next week. I will be sure to come back and tell you what I think when I go through my own process.

    Lee

  8. CMRatu says:

    thanks for the superb tips.. try my best to do post that lot of people will share.. :)

  9. Awesome, Thanks. That’s really a great idea. There are many plugins that we can use to check for broken

  10. Anurag says:

    Woah!!

    Now I can make at least a best of post that should get shared on all social networks

    :D

  11. Best of posts are great for adding a bit of life and link juice to those posts that have got lost in your blog. Great idea!

  12. Christiano says:

    It’s almost the end of 2012, and I am planning to come up with such a post for the stuff I liked and shared so much. The best part is that the content going to the post has to pass the helpful and popularity test that I will decide.
    Good things need no selling.

  13. Chris Allen says:

    Did it, enjoyed it, and what’s more, gave me ideas for what is working for my readers for future blog posts.

    Thanks!

    Here ’tis: http://www.intrepidallen.com/blog/2012/11/15/best-of-defender-most-popular-blog-posts

  14. Daniel says:

    I have heard of the idea of compiling a best of post, and it probably would have some decent benefits….

    The thing that caught my attention in this post, is the part about ” turning comments on for old posts”…

    If I had a dollar for every well written article that I felt passionate about commenting on then I reached the bottom and comments were switched off, well, I would have plenty of dollars to play around with….

    That and comment systems that require you “jump through hoops” before being able to leave a comment….

  15. Subper says:

    I have heard of the idea of compiling a best of post, and it probably would have some decent benefits….

  16. Subper says:

    Awesome, Thanks. That’s really a great idea.The best part is that the content going to the post has to pass the helpful and popularity test that I will decide.

  17. I really loved reading the advice! Especially as someone who is just barely entering the blogging scene and trying to learn everything there is, I found this post especially helpful. Thanks!