Popular Blog Post: Collective Nouns!

a gaggle of geese … of course

I’ve been busy the past few weeks responding to the awesome beta reads I’ve been receiving in regards to my work-in-progress. But before that, I was analyzing some of my most popular posts at my various blogs over the past few years. If you want to check out the previous posts, you can find them here and here and here.

So what did I discover in those previous posts about what makes a blog post popular? Let’s see:

  • quick and easy to read – simple and uncomplicated in style, length, and topic
  • surprising, lively, and colourful
  • great word pictures and other imagery
  • mini-stories with relatable experiences that bring back positive memories for readers
  • active and amusing with intentional humour
  • simple, straightforward, conversational vocabulary (vs technical writing)
  • the fact that I had fun writing it (and it shows)
  • topics and series posts that draw readers back for more
  • bright, attractive photos – and old-timey pictures that readers remember affectionately from their childhood
  • lists with useful links for more info
  • niche focus draws people searching for specific information
  • examples and opportunities for readers
  • evergreen posts (continue to be of interest over a long time period)
  • honest reflections from my life journey

Now, on to another popular blog post: “Beach Story Using Collective Nouns

I first wrote this post as an answer to a question on Quora. Since it immediately received lots of positive responses there, I posted it on my penandpapermama.com site as a fun family home learning activity—and it turned out to be popular there, too. Finally, I presented it orally at an open mic event—where it received not only lots of laughter and clapping, but many people in the audience took me up on my suggestion to count how many collective nouns the piece contains; two people actually got the exact correct count. I still wonder if they were able to follow the story while they were counting?

Anyway, why, you might ask, would people enjoy a post about a “grammar” topic like “collective nouns” so much that it became a popular piece on a question-and-answer site like Quora, on a home-learning and tutoring site, and at an open mic session? Time to analyze:

  • It focuses on a popular topic that most people relate to in a positive way: a fun summer day at the beach.
  • It is presented as an entertaining, contest-type activity that groups of people—families, students, even open-mic audiences—can join in with together.
  • It includes lots of different kinds of people, animals and birds, fish, and even insects. Perfect for the kidlings.
  • Kittens and puppies and horse-drawn carriages are always a sure draw on blogs and social media.
  • Descriptions of lakeside nature bring back memories of summer days—as do campfires and marshmallow roasts, sailboats skimming the waves, sudden summer squalls, picnic baskets, swimming and frisbees, pails and shovels for digging holes in the sand, fishing rods, and more. Who couldn’t resist reading right to the end, even though it’s a lengthy post?
  • And of course, collective nouns are just plain fun!

What do you think? What draws you to particular blog posts? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!

Check out all the posts in this series of “What Makes a Blog Post Popular?”:


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