My Top Six Posts of 2018

On the first of January last year I completed a blog round-up listing my top six posts and least favourite six posts and my conclusions why . . .

And I’ve waited patiently for 365 days to do another annual round-up! For much of the year, I feared the posts may end up very similar to each other but in the last couple of months I’ve had a few articles see some lively activity on social media and so a new post has made it to the top of the charts!

1) Killed by Enemy Action: A Family Tragedy, 1,324 views

This was a runaway success in its first month, the reason? It is hugely personal and about my teenage uncle killed during World War II. I shared this on my Facebook page and it drew a lot of interest from extended family members. However, this is where it is useful to take note: I also shared it in a one-name group for Boyland family history (my maiden name) and within hours it had reached a hundred views – my most successful day.

Sharing on social media really can help raise your profile and if you are a member of a group then share with them if your topic permits, if they don’t like it – start your own group and you and your members can share away! I’ve since shared this in a local history group page on Facebook and it received 650 views in one day. By far my most popular post. It can be read here.

2) The Man-midwife in the Eighteenth Century, 851 views

This is an abridged version of an academic paper that I wrote for my master’s degree. The original piece was marked at 75% – a distinction.

This has remained popular even when I wasn’t blogging from the late summer of 2016 right through until the autumn of 2017.

I think that its popularity lies in the subject and its title. It’s extremely niche and there’s not a huge amount out there, you have to really dig deep to find online articles about this topic. If you were searching for this subject you would actually search for the title – or so I presume – because several times a week it is read after a search engine has located it. I have tried this on friends’ laptops and it comes either first or fourth in a Google search.

This post is still a huge visitor driver for me and over the past year, it has had nearly 500 views all from search engines. It can be read here.

3) The Hidden History of British Post Boxes, 492 views

This was another post that began life as an academic paper for my Master’s degree. I had to write as if writing for a public history magazine. This also received 75%, a distinction.

It was posted three days before ‘man-midwife’ and again I think its title is key to its popularity. It is a niche subject but it is my second most popular post and readers are directed via a search engine. It has had 260 views over the last year – all traffic having come from search engines. It can be read here.

4) RAF Plane Crash: Irish Sea Rescue Attempt, 431 views

This post began as a birthday tribute to my Dad. It doesn’t have the best title, I was trying to avoid a mawkish reference to him and was completely flummoxed over it, hence its awfulness! Being a family history post it proved popular on my Facebook page, where friends and family were able to read it. It was shared in a one-name study group and also later in the year in a local history group. It, of course, contains a picture of my gorgeous Dad! It can be read here.

5) Emma Clarke, born 1875: Britain’s First Black Female Footballer, 350 views

I picked up this story just outside of Black History Month, which in the UK is celebrated in October. Emma’s story was picked up by the national news and it proved too tempting to ignore – plus I was born in Liverpool and so Scouse history is always fascinating to me. I shared it in my local history group on Facebook and it was an immediate runaway success. It can be read here.

6) Harry Potter: A History of Magic – the Exhibition, 236 views

This was a post I was desperate to write! Unfortunately, I fell out of the loft and couldn’t make it on the date I was supposed to go to the British Library. Five weeks later, with my pain being managed and with my much-reduced stamina, I was just about well enough to manage a short trip to visit this special exhibition. It took me 24 hours to write up as I kept dozing off but I was determined to publish as I knew a lot of people would not have been as fortunate as me living so close to London and will not have been able to enjoy it. It was quite incredible learning that a pop-culture icon such as Harry Potter had its roots in solid historical fact! It can be read here.

Those bottom of the pack

The bottom six posts are pretty much the same as last year’s posts. I find that my older posts do not get the views that they possibly deserve. I’ve re-blogged one or two and I’ve heavily edited another and gave it a new title and it doubled its meagre views overnight! A lot of these originate from when I had a handful of followers/regular readers and apart from my posts that are picked up by search engines the older posts see little traffic and lay as if a dusty unloved book on a library shelf waiting to be selected.

I’ve published 170 posts during 2018 – a statistic I find quite astounding and shows how I’ve developed an un-used blog prior to autumn 2017 and entered a community of mutual respect, readership and encouragement. I can’t promise 170 articles in 2019 – life will get in the way – but I’ll definitely focus on more in-depth posts, more exhibition visits and continue to share history that fascinates me!

Happy New Year!

10 thoughts on “My Top Six Posts of 2018

  1. A great list, I think i’ve read all of these except Harry Potter in whom I have no interest whatsoever! I’ve become a bit of a fan of postboxes, partly through your article but also through looking for postboxes the Suffragettes might have used, of which there are a surprising number still around. Happy blogging in 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, but Harry Potter is not just about HP but about how histories of witchcraft informed JKR! I was sad that there was little Matthew Hopkins in it but then it would have been a very different exhibition.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 170 posts? That’s amazing. Well done.
    I like your round-up post idea. The post boxes were definitely something I enjoyed reading, and something that stayed in my memory for long.
    Those are some impressive stats. I know you’ve been working hard this past year on revamping your blog, as well as social media promotion, and it’s nice to see it pays off. Maybe one day I will decide to give Facebook more of a go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was surprised too! But thanks to WordPress for giving me the stat as I don’t think I would have counted them all! . . . . Blogmas helped though 🙂
      Social media is a little hit and miss still, but I think overall it is a benefit for growth. I still only see the big gains when posting in relevant groups rather than on my own page where a few interested friends click on the link.

      Liked by 1 person

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