This post originally appeared in my newsletter, Borrowed, Learned, & Thought. BL&T is sent weekly on Mondays. In every edition, I share lessons learned in agency leadership, life, and e-commerce. This post does not include all the details shared in the newsletter sent via email. Subscribe here.
"Only poor performance is plagued by frustration and extra effort. Think about it. When do you expend the greatest effort – when you are doing well or when you are doing poorly? ... When you play really well, you are balanced and in harmony with your efforts."
From "With Winning In Mind" by Lanny Bassham [Book]
Last year, I spent time reviewing the top posts on my website after publishing my 2022 review. With my 2023 review live last week, I figured I'd continue the tradition—looking at popular posts from 2023 and takeaways heading into 2024.
I moved my website to GA4 mid-year, so unfortunately, the list below only reflects top posts from June to December 2023.
Below are posts from the top 10 from January to June that fell off later in the year.
Note: I've removed any core website pages from these lists, like the homepage and about.
1) Progress in Discoverability: The changes I made in February to enhance the discoverability of my posts, like adding related posts at the bottom of each article, seem to be paying off. The bounce rate for the top posts has dropped to an average of 50%, compared to 71% in 2022. Given the progress, I’m inspired to explore this further in 2024. An initiative I'm considering is leveraging ChatGPT to re-organize all my posts into a more detailed taxonomy. With over 400 posts, the task is a bit daunting but feels like a necessary step for better discoverability and organization.
2) Opportunities with My Homepage: I redesigned my homepage last year to feature content, showcase categories, and highlight recent posts. It's hard to tell if these updates made any impact, but with the homepage still receiving the most traffic, I feel confident it's a better starting point for readers. With an improved taxonomy, it should be easier to present content in new ways, like grouping it into themes, to help readers find content they're interested in exploring.
3) E-Commerce Content Not Driving Traffic: I launched the e-commerce category and began publishing "The E-Commerce Corner" posts on their own in June. These posts haven't yet gained significant traction from a traffic perspective, with the first e-commerce-related post ranking at #17 in the last six months. While their current traffic is low, they've been invaluable for sharing ideas on social media.
4) Organic Search is (Still) the Top Channel: Organic search is still the top traffic source for my website. Most of the search terms are related to agency processes and book content. In the future, I may do some keyword research to see what types of e-commerce content people are looking for to aid in driving more traffic. Since investing much more time in posting on social in 2023, I could be better at ways to drive traffic back to my website and to my newsletter. I've done a bit of it already but was somewhat surprised to see it's not moving the needle much.
5) Success with Book Content: My focus on writing about books I've read has continued to be rewarding practice. Following the popularity of my post on 'The Path of Least Resistance' in 2022, I made a concerted effort to write more about books in 2023. This strategy appears to have been successful, with four of the top 10 posts being book-focused, each with an average engagement of around 1 minute or higher. This suggests that readers are not only finding this content, but it's resonating. Additionally, if I were to exclude posts that were already in the top 10 in 2022, the next in line would also be book-related posts:
I get a lot of value from sharing insights about the books I'm reading, so I plan to continue this in 2024. However, I’m curious about how I can further engage readers interested in this type of content, perhaps by sharing more posts related to themes discussed and driving them to my newsletter more effectively.
What might I gain from checking in o progress of a recent initiative? How can I further improve this year?