- 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.