Best Content Types: Every Blog is Different
Content types for one don't mean it'll be the same for another.
What kind of content should you write on a blog? It really depends on what works the best for the specific audience. Sure, you can read a few "expert" articles about the top-performing content types. But statistics these experts throw around are always based on averages across multiple industries.
Not to mention that every blogger accumulates a specific and very unique audience.
What this means is that every blogger will have a distinctive experience. What works exceptionally well for one website may perform unbelievably poorly on another.
You see this a lot on platforms like YouTube. Identical topics for blog posts and videos will see vastly different numbers according to audience retention. Blogs are similar in that people who read certain websites usually do so because they like the style and layout a creator puts into those posts. In many ways, it all comes down to your personality and how you present topics, information, or entertainment.
Types of Content That Work Best for Me
Overall, I have five primary blogs that I manage and am currently building. Of these five websites, each one has a very different general audience. That's because each site is vastly different.
And before you say it, yes, I do too much.
Let me break down a few numbers over the last six months:
The Writing Blog
My writing blog is geared to help people learn how to get into freelance writing, WordPress, blogging, and self-publishing. As such, I've written nearly 600 posts covering a variety of writing topics. The number one article on the site is a review for a way to monetize the blog and YouTube channel.
The Health and Fitness Blog
My health and fitness blog focuses on sharing my weight loss journey while providing everything I've learned during the process. It's centered around scientific information as well as personal case studies for what has worked the best for me to lose weight. Its number one article is a Q&A, which means its title is a question that I answer within the content. In fact, the top review on the site gets 1/10th the traffic as the writing blog's review.
The Gaming Blog
I have a gaming blog that was built to support the Extra Life charity. It donates 30% of all income to the organization every month. Eight of the top 10 articles on the site are How Tos regarding streaming software. In fact, the best review is ranked 17th as the most popular blog post.
The Green Blog
Eco-friendly practices interest me. Although I'm not a stern follower of those practices, I try to bridge the gap between left and right-leaning people by showing the practical reasons to invest more in eco-friendly products and such. The top article on this site is a How To about caring for living Christmas trees. The majority of the top 10 posts, though, are all listicles, which are lists about certain advantages and disadvantages of green power types.
I created my own website using my name as a way to brand everything I'm doing online. This site has a list of all my blogs, YouTube channels, published books...everything I create on the Internet is shown here except for the content I created as a ghostwriter. Its top page is the homepage. It's exceptionally small as not many people know who I am. Though, the second place article was my explanation of why I decided to try the Vocal+ Fiction Awards a couple of months ago.
This isn't a very good example of blog content types simply because it is more of an online journal for fans to follow along with what I'm doing next.
So, What Type of Content Do I Focus On?
As you can see, there are a few primary types that work to drive traffic. However, each site is dependent on its audience and who is looking for what.
This is called "search intent."
I spend adequate time understanding the audience for each blog and plan articles accordingly. Yes, sometimes I'll toss in a new type to test the waters of how well it's received. But for the most part, I try to deliver what I believe my audience wants to read.
Overall, though, the best types to drive traffic to any of my blogs are usually:
- How tos
In that order.
However, the style I choose to write is according to what works best on those specific blogs. For instance, reviews do very poorly on the gaming blog, which is odd considering how effective reviews tend to be in other industries. And lists do exceptionally well on the green blog while not gaining much traction on the others.
Another thing to keep in mind, though, is that the success of those types is also going to center around the topic you're covering. Perhaps your audience doesn't care about 11 free keyword tools they can use. You can't assume that just because you're writing a review or listicle for your audience that they're going to care about the topic.
Lastly, keep in mind the competition. If you're writing about a topic that has a lot of entries in Google already, you need to work hard to make it stand out. Otherwise, the established competition will simply bury your post.
It all comes down to what you can do better than the other guy.
Finding What Works Best for Your Blog
Google Analytics and Search Console are free tools you can use to break down how people are accessing your website and what they're most interested in reading. By keeping an eye on the data, you can see trends of what works best and what articles might need a bit sprucing up to reach a wider audience.
The more you understand your audience, the more traffic you'll accumulate over time. Not every post you write is going to be a top-performing piece of content. You will write things that no one will ever read. Keep track of those as well. They are great examples of what doesn't work on your particular blog.
It's OK to experiment once in a while with a new topic, style, or type of post. You might stumble across something that works even better. Just don't forget the types and styles that already work for the website.
Take my review on the writing blog, for example. Before that specific article, reviews did exceptionally poorly. Nowadays, that one review accounts for 25.76% of all traffic to my website.
If I could write five more of those, I'd be rollin' in the dough.
Every Blog Is Different
It's OK to read "expert" opinions when it comes to blogging. They'll still help with ideas about how to approach your own. Just take the information with a grain of salt. Every website is going to be different, which is why most people share averaged data.
Get more attuned to your audience and produce content they want.
About the author
I am the owner and operator of several blogs including WriterSanctuary.com. As a freelance writer since 2012, I have covered a range of topics and completed over 8,000 projects for clients. Follow me @WriterSanctuary on Twitter.