Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Your Favorite Posts of 2012--You Liked "What!?"

One of the really fun aspects of blogging is to try to predict which topics and pics are going to be a hit with you, my readers. With each new post I eagerly await your feedback (yes, it's true!), and though I'm a little better at anticipating your responses than in the beginning, I'm still often amazed at what subjects fly high or miss the mark. (Tip: All of the pics shown here are from very popular 2012 posts.)

Several long-time editors of food publications have assured me that they don't have all the answers either. One summed it up this way, "Yes, I know the annual cookie feature is going to be widely read, but why was the bran muffin story big?  I almost didn't run it!"

Still, in an effort to gain insights, at the beginning of each year I check back over the last 12 months to see what posts got the most look-sees. As in the past, some of your top 2012 faves were NOT what I was expecting. In fact, they elicited a stunned, scratch-my-head "What?!"

To see what I mean, stop and really look at the following list of  the Kitchenlane 2012 top ten posts as measured by page views. (Note that the story that garnered the most reader comments, but not the most traffic, was "Getting To Yes on Foodgawker and Tastespotting."  The pic at left is the first one of mine Tastespotting ever ran.) The remaining most popular blog posts are presented below hotlinked and in random order, and I'm betting, that like me, you will not correctly guess which one came in first.

Party Panache with Parmesan Wafers

 Fresh Blueberry Muffins

No-Knead Herbed Focaccia

Secrets to Successful Food Blogging (Interview with Dianne Jacob)

Ultimate One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Presentation Power of the Pedestal Plate, Plus a Lavender Buttercream Frosting

The Best-Ever Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream

 How to Make Your Own Wild Violet Decorating Sugar

A Fine New "Kneadless" Crusty Pot Bread, Plus a Beautiful Baking Pot

Did you guess that the "ultimate" chocolate chip cookie story was the year's biggest draw? It wasn't! Maybe the fresh blueberry muffins, or "best-ever" raspberry ripple ice cream? Not them either! 

Nope, the winner was: How to use pedestal plates to show off desserts and how to make a lavender buttercream frosting. Yes, really! And close behind it ... how to make a naturally colorful decorating sugar with wild violets!  If you did think either of these was the top draw, please tell me in the comments, along with how you made your pick. Actually, I'd love to hear the rationale behind whatever topic you thought was first.

What do I make of such quirky choices? Maybe they simply indicate that you're intrigued by something fresh and a little different. Or that you just like flowers! Or that you adore the color purple!
What I do know for sure is that these results underscore the risks of being ruled by statistics. One might conclude from them that my readers are mostly dedicated pastry decorators! But I am certain (and some of the other top picks suggest it) that that is not the case. Perhaps the only safe conclusion: Your preferences are always complicated, interesting, and, yes, a little off the wall!

So now, I'm enthusiastically embarking on my 2013 blogging journey. I know it will be full of feedback surprises, which I will have fun with throughout the year. Please know that I am so happy to have you along for the Kitchenlane ride.  Happy New Year to each and every one of you.


10 comments:

Willa Blair on January 8, 2013 at 1:54 PM said...

Nancy, yes, that was a surprise. You'd think chocolate-something would be at the top.

All your pictures are gorgeous!

Nancy Baggett on January 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM said...

Right, I would def have guessed a chocolate winner. Go figure! So glad you like the pics.

cronshi on January 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM said...

I'm really not as shocked. A chocolate chip cookie, however beautifully presented is rather pedestrian. What makes yours distinctive is the taste, which can't be savored online. However, the visual effects of your presentation and the natural colors are graphically exciting and intrinsically beautiful. In those, the taste, however special, is almost secondary to the look, which is fabulous. Your natural colors and flavors also have the novelty of being unique, something that most of us have never experienced before.

Kathryn Johnson on January 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM said...

You fooled me too! I notice a local grocer features cupcakes with "natural" colored frostings. But they are a putrid olive green and a muddy rose--neither of which are appealing. I think they need to read your blogs!

Nancy Baggett on January 8, 2013 at 4:34 PM said...

Cronshi, you explanation makes great sense. Kathryn, yes, I think they do need to read my posts! The easy, very effective way to get a nice, NOT MUDDY, pink or rose (as I've said in several posts)--add some thawed cranberry juice concentrate to the frosting. It will add appealing flavor, too!

Rebecca York on January 9, 2013 at 12:46 AM said...

Hum, well, how do readers find out about the posts? It could be that they happened to see a post and comment. I could also say, it's hard to figure out what's gonna fly highest.

Nancy Baggett on January 9, 2013 at 10:12 AM said...

Of course, how many people even know about the post helps determine how many views it gets. This is one reason I like publishing my pics on the "food porn" sites. Peeps who would otherwise no know about a story see a photo they like, then click to come check out the post.

Toby Devens on January 9, 2013 at 12:27 PM said...

I'd think chocolate, as well. Probably because I'm ALWAYS thinking chocolate! But I can understand why the more esoteric posts garner the most interest--they're unique online. Plus, these kinds of things are unpredictable.

Having seen your post, I checked my own blog stats. The most viewed was something I did on women's body image during the Olympics. Next was the entry I posted just yesterday, "Hillary's Hair: Why Do We Care?"

My musings on dating and woman/man relationships midlife didn't attract nearly as much attention. Not sure what that implies, but it is interesting.

Celeste on January 9, 2013 at 3:45 PM said...

In my experience, post popularity is often a factor of links, being mentioned on social media, or other external publicity. It's not especially indicative of general interest, but rather of the power of promotion.

Nancy Baggett on January 10, 2013 at 10:29 AM said...

Celeste, you are definitely right--if even a bad, boring post is mentioned by somebody with a big social media presence, it will garner a lot of traffic for a quick, one-time view. Which is one reason why I feel the stats often don't tell the real story.

Toby, I think that sometimes the more esoteric or less often tackled topics generate more interest for bloggers like you and me is that there is just less competition that comes up when peeps google the topic. I doubt that many stories pop up on making decorating sugar from violet blooms! & I bet far fewer pop up on Hilary's hair than on dating relationships!

 

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