More cowbell!

Sarah O'Keefe / Humor, Opinion5 Comments

About a year ago, we added Google Analytics to our web site. I have done some research to see what posts were the most popular in the past year:

  1. The clear winner was our FrameMaker 9 review. With 21 comments, I think it was also the most heavily commented post. Interestingly, the post itself is little more than a pointer to the PDF file that contains the actual review.
  2. InDesign CS4 = Hannibal post, which discussed InDesign’s encroachment on traditional FrameMaker features.
  3. A surprise…a post from 2006 in which Mark Baker discussed the merits (or lack thereof) of DITA in To DITA or not to DITA

Our readers appear to like clever headlines, because I don’t think the content quality explains the high numbers for posts such as:

We noticed this pattern recently, when a carefully crafted, meticulously written post was ignored in favor of a throwaway post dashed off in minutes with a catchy title (Death to Recipes!).

For useful, thoughtful advice on blogging, I refer you to Tom Johnson and Rich Maggiani. I, however, have a new set of blogging recommendations:

  1. Write catchy titles
  2. Have an opinion, preferably an outrageous one
  3. More cowbell

About the Author

Sarah O'Keefe


Content strategy consultant and founder of Scriptorium Publishing. Bilingual English-German, voracious reader, water sports, knitting, and college basketball (go Blue Devils!). Aversions to raw tomatoes, eggplant, and checked baggage.

5 Comments on “More cowbell!”

  1. I’m finding that titles do make all the difference. I am working on my “blogging voice” and have started broadening my subject matter. I find that when I use more colorful titles, I get more comments and more re-tweets on Twitter.

  2. I think you’ll discover another driver for traffic and readers: Posts that make hit lists like this one. With any luck, your 2006 post may just make the second year’s hitlist, too! 😉

  3. Titles are always important. A good title is a must whether it be a blog post or a book. The title first catches your attention and the first sentence moves you into the content. Bad title? You won’t even get to the first sentence.

  4. But some readers do not like catchy titles. A comment on one of my blog posts (a post with a catchy title) politely asked me to not use a strawman.
    I’ve been in two minds ever since…

  5. Hi Anindita,
    In the end, I think content trumps all. That said, it’s clear from looking at the web stats that catchy titles increase readership, even if a few people don’t like them.

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