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The ProBlogger Top 20 of 2012: What YOU Read Most This Year

Welcome to 2013! Are you ready for the year ahead? If you’re like me, and you’re just getting back into the swing of things (or still on break!), you might be scratching your head trying to remember all the important lessons you learned last year.


Image courtesy Lore & Guille, licensed under Creative Commons

So to help you out, I’ve compiled this list of our 20 most popular articles from 2012. If you’re a die-hard ProBlogger reader, you might already have read them all—but this might be a good time to refresh your memory.

If not, I hope you’ll find some gems in this list. We do try to cover a range of topics on the blog, and meet the needs of bloggers at all stages of the blogging journey. So if, once you’ve had a look through this list, there’s something you’d like to see more of in the year ahead, be sure to mention it in the comments.

Now, without further ado, here are our top 20 articles from 2012!

20. Quality Vs. Volume: The Traffic Spectrum, and How You as Bloggers Can Harness It

If you’re looking at your blog stats this morning and wondering how you can ramp them up this year, read this post before you start. It might give you the insight you need to work smarter, rather than harder, to attract quality traffic to your blog.

Definitely check out the discussion on that post, too—some really interesting learnings are to be found there.

19. Blogging in Brief: Looking Good, Saving Face, Tags and Lags

My Blogging In Brief column was a bit of a hit last year with readers, and the next instalment comes out later this week.

In the meantime, this post from last year highlights a few interesting trends that readers were particularly interested in: how big blogs save face when they make mistakes, graphical blog headers, letting customers set the price for your next product, how promotions could be slowing your site, and the relevance (or otherwise!) of tag clouds.

18. The Diamond in the Rough System for Gaining Influence

We’ve all heard social media advisors tell us to target the influencers if we want to have an impact on social media. But how can you find the true influencers in your niche?

In this post, Jonathan Goodman shows you how—and his tips and experience are good for all aspects of blog promotion, not just social networking. Have a read!

17. Looking to 2013: A Commitment to Blogging Smarter … With a Little Help

In this post, I included a roundup of a series of posts on contracting out aspects of your blog. From maintenance and development to design and writing, the range of tasks you can outsource—if they’re not your strong suit, or you need to free up time to focus on other blogging jobs—is endless.

While this post is a starting point, I hope it’ll put you in a good position to blog smarter this year.

16. URL Be Sorry: Google Cuts Back on Top-ranking Exact-match Domains

While once, exact-match domains made a big difference to a blog’s search positioning, as Rob Henry explained here, Google’s changed its algorithm so that exact-match domains now carry much less weight.

As Rob reveals, this creates great opportunities for those with quality content hosted on a normal domain (i.e. one that’s not a domain that’s an exact match with a niche keyword).

15. Grow Your Blog Business: The Earn Millions in Your Flipflops Framework [Case Study]

This case study by Stephan Spencer really excited our readers, and it was great to hear from the case study’s subject, Susan Lassiter-Lyons, in the comments.

The post really sets out a solid framework for starting a profit-making blog. It’s a must-read if this is something you’re working on at the moment.

14. 3 Ways Cartoons Can Improve Your Blog

A picture tells a thousand words, as this post by Mark Anderson shows.

If you’re thinking that there’s no way you can possibly communicate your message in under 1,000 words or so, have a look at this thought-provoking, actionable post. You might just rethink your approach to blog content afterward!

13. WordPress Feature Review: New Features You Missed in 2012

If you’re a WP user, you’ll find this two-part series very helpful. In it, Michael Scott steps us through a raft of new features that, bloggers being as busy as we are, we may have missed in 2012 (I know I missed a few!).

Even a quick skim of this series is sure to turn up a few handy enhancements that will make your blogging easier and more enjoyable in 2012.

12. How to Find an SEO Goldmine for Your Blog

In this popular post, Elena Vakhromova presents a simple, clear, effective way to write keyword-relevant, quality blog posts to raise your search rankings.

Bloggers who have been scared to tackle keyword research were very pleased to find this guide, so if your keyword research could do with an overhaul, take a look at this post.

11. The 3 step Guide to Creating Pinterest-friendly Graphics for Your Blog

There’s a lot of heat and light around Pinterest right now, but few know how to harness the platform as well as Jade Craven, who’s helped me develop a strong audience there for dPS.

This post exposes her top advice for creating the types of graphics people love to pin on Pinterest. If you didn’t realise that was part of the battle of getting Pnterest traction, this article is definitely for you!

10. 6 Warning Signs That Your Blog is Deflating

Again, another handy post that provides invaluable pointers that help bloggers recognize a downturn and do something about it before it’s too late!

Ashkan’s advice here is clear and straightforward, and the suggestions offered by readers in the comments make a great addition to this post. Why not make it a monthly checklist for your blog in 2013?

9. WordPress Backups: Don’t Make These 9 Mistakes on Your Blog

We all need backups, but few of us know if we’re doing all we should to protect our online assets.

As Anders Vinther reveals, backups aren’t something that we should be leaving to our blog hosts, or our developers. This is a topic every blogger needs to be on top of, so if you’re not in that camp, check this post out now.

8. 4 WordPress Alternatives: The What, Where, and Why

You’ll have noticed a prevalence of WordPress-related posts on this list. But not everyone is on, or wants to use, that platform. Here, Matt Setter steps us through four handy, functional alternatives, explaining who they’re for, and what they do.

If you’re starting a new blog, or looking to move an existing blog, in 2013, maybe you’ll also look for different functionality and flexibility than WordPress offers. If so, this post is for you!

7. How to Write Emails that Get an Immediate Response

This is one of those topics that many would think is too obvious to get so much attention—but they’d be wrong.

Robert D. Smith shows even the most experienced email writer how to improve their technique in this short, sharp post that combines psychology, etiquette, and good old common sense. Are your emails getting the responses you want? Make sure they do in 2013!

6. Make Money From a Low-traffic Blog [Case Study]

Nathan Barry’s no-holds-barred story of how he build a product, and sold it strongly, from a blog with low traffic is nothing short of inspirational. One of the great things about it is how honest he is, and how clear he makes the path to success.

This is a must-read for anyone who’s put off by the traditional make-money-blogging stories and wants to get a head-start on generating income.

5. 15 Social Media Mistakes That Are Strangling Your Success

This post provides a full tour of social media mistakes that, surprisingly, we’re still making today.

In it, Georgina takes us back to basics in this post, which, again, would make a good checklist for bloggers to assess their social media efforts every so often.

4. Can you REALLY Make Money Blogging? [7 Things I Know About Making Money from Blogging]

Last year marked my tenth anniversary of blogging, and this post encapsulates the key learnings I’ve gained about making money over that time.

As you’ll see in the comments, the post resonated strongly with a broad cross-section of our readers, and provided much-needed inspiration for many. If you want the truth about making money blogging, look no further.

3. How to Set Up an Email Account that Uses Your Domain Name

Kashish hit a nerve with many readers with this post.

As you’ll know if you read post 7 above, having a legitimate email address is critical to being taken seriously online. This post—and the comments that follow—will help you set one up quickly and easily.

2. 10 Popular Affiliate Programs for Small and Medium-sized Blogs

Charles Dearing’s list of his favorite affiliate programs is supplemented in the comments by those of our experienced users.

Any blogger looking to add or ramp up affiliate income in the coming year would do well to look at this list and the advice Charles gives.

1. 40 Cool Things to Do With Your Posts *After* You Hit Publish

Our most popular post this year is one of our most recent! But it seems we all want to find innovative ways to use our quality content to expand our readership and online presence.

Steff Green’s list of 40 cool things isn’t just about promotion—in it, she provides tips for finding new content ideas, researching your audience, and more. Is it another checklist you could print and use in the coming year?

What were your top posts of 2012?

These were the top posts on ProBlogger—but what about elsewhere online? Link us to your favorite post in the comments below, and don’t forget to tell us why you loved it!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I remember most of these posts as I regularly read this blog. These are great tips to follow.

    Besides, it’s so great that 2013 is here! Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

  2. Just finished working on a “list post” yesterday from your 30DBB book – and now I’m seeing them everywhere – like this one! Thanks for compiling all of these – it’s nice to have a central location of valuable information. My team and I are working on our first project and online marketing is a big part of the conversation – thanks for the great advice!

  3. This is fantastic and will make a great reading assingment for our Better Blots group from Allume. Thank you so very much!

  4. Well, my best post on my website is 11 silly mistakes that a newbie blogger do. It is the best post (maximum comment) on my website in my blogging journey of 4 months. :D


  5. My blog journey has completed only months but then also their were few which were love by my visitors and
    one of them was ” Use WhatsApp on your Computer ” :) :) :) :) :)

  6. I like the tip #16. I find this interesting. Anyway, I got sites which has exact match domains, but they were not hit by Google updates. I tried to investigate, and my conclusion is that it is ok to have exact match domain. but do not over optimize the content with your keywords because they are already present in the URL. Just a tip. ;)

  7. Hi,
    Excellent post. It gave me a view of complete 2012 best posts of Pro blogger :)
    Thank you

  8. I have been waiting for this list for while, and I was hoping you would share your top blog posts! I think the following so far got to be my favorite are:
    14. 3 Ways Cartoons Can Improve Your Blog
    6. Make Money From a Low-traffic Blog [Case Study]
    7. How to Write Emails that Get an Immediate Response

    Just saying!

    • Hi Darren. First off, allow me to thank you for this list of the past year’s best tips for blogging. As someone who just started a blog as my 2013 New Year’s Resolution (meaning I only started January 1), I’m sure I have a long way to go and much to learn. I’m still one of those shy bloggers who hadn’t yet removed the Private flag from my Google Blogger!

      But in the interest of (shameless — albeit necessary) self-promotion, I’ll probably have to since one of my posts actually includes a cartoon that I used to get my point across. Mine is a blog about using music — song lyrics, specifically — for motivation and to help kick off a discussion. The post I’m linking to mentions a Dilbert cartoon about how negative an influence “bad apples” can be… and you being from Australia, I thought you might appreciate that the title is The Fruit of Another (like the song from Squeeze)!

      This goes live on 23 January. Hope you enjoy it :-)


  9. Thanks! Great to have so much good advice in one place. Am adding it to my “Must Read” list.

  10. Awesome One. Gave Many Ideas for my new blog. The Infographics and Image Presentation are also Important according to me. Thank You

  11. Thanks Darren! I’m a sucker for list blogs. You’ve given me a great reading list so now I need to carve out the time to check each of these out.

    Can’t way to see what you’ve got going on in 2013!

  12. Oh I love this post… it felt like coming home seeing all these familiar posts!!! Interesting how so many of the posts are from the second half of the year… I loved your number one post – 40 things to do with your post after you hit publish… just a different approach to the “publish, publish, publish” mentality!!! Our best post amazingly, outstripped out and outran the others… had none of my usual: image rich; short; list post… No it was a terminally long post written at four in the morning, and I dare not look for all the spelling errors that flew into it as I hammered away at the keyboard, dashing to get it out while it was fresh: the most recent What I Learnt from the Probloggers Webinar: Ten Things I Wish I Had Known About Blogging When I Started… http://www.se7en.org.za/2012/12/05/what-i-learnt-from-the-probloggers-webinar-ten-things-i-wish-i-had-known-about-blogging-when-i-started What can I say, thank you for the amazing work you do and all the inspiration you share with bloggers around the world.

  13. I love this list i have just started getting into your site and its nice to know where to start. I am so excited the a few of the post that I already read made the list. My favorite was the signs of deflation and 40 things to do after publishing it has helped me sooooo much

  14. As always, nice post Darren. Keep up the good work:)

  15. I laughed when I saw this, Darren. When your emails arrive, I save them whether I make the time to read immediately or not. I sure do have them all!

  16. thanks darren, this is good post

    now 2013, will be many changes in SEO and social network, but i think thats 2012 best post, still have many value for me. and i am still here to wait your 2013 best advice

  17. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for sharing your top post of 2012. Now it will help me to read posts those I missed.

  18. I think they all were awesome.

  19. I love all your posts. Too bad I’ve just read all these. I especially love “15 Social Media Mistakes That Are Strangling Your Success”. I was really making most of the mistakes.

  20. Always great material

  21. My favorite post was the one this week about where to place your contact form for maximum exposure. That was very valuable.

  22. Thanks Darren!

    I like The Diamond in the Rough System for Gaining Influence by Jonathan Goodman. The article helped me to find the influencers in my niche.

  23. all the tips are killer tips these are very helpful to come in top bloggers thanks for sharing..

  24. The above article makes me motivated to continue to be a blogger. Thank you darren. I Mukti from Indonesia, I am very pleased with your article. Please give me information on how to become a professional blogger. I want to be like you.

  25. Thank you, Darren! Your ideas are informative!

  26. Thanks for providing these tips. This means a lot to me, information-wise.

  27. Its really a great information.Thanks so much.

  28. I did not previously read some of these posts, but #3 was very interesting for me. I have always used proper e-mail domains for both my websites, it’s nice to know I can control the mail from Gmail. I have had hosting issues in the past when trying to set up my accounts as IMAP (which Gmail uses) versus POP3. This post will be invaluable for the next web site I start so I can set up the e-mail system correctly. Thanks!

  29. Point 1 – quality in a blog is vital

    • My blog has my name in the domain, which I guess is the definition of “personal branding.” Quality for me means allowing your personality to shine and not trying to hamper yourself by walking on eggshells to ensure “optimal” SEO, keyword placement, etc.

      For me it’s just as though I were talking to a pal, not searching Google. Since my blog is about song lyrics and how they demonstrate useful nuggets of wisdom, I could sum this up by paraphrasing the good ol’ Stones:

      “I’m not writing for the G-man, I’m just writing for a friend.” :-)

  30. Thanks for making this list. Many of the articles are unread for me. I am gonna be read ’em all. Actually I am a new blogger so there are a lot of things that I need to implement.
    One of my site was penalized by EMD Update.
    Yeah! It was a great loss but now I managed to recover it. The blog is again having the same traffic and even more powerful reputation :-)

    • I have an EMD site with High quality content that got hit badly. Would you mind sharing what you did to recover?

  31. This is great! As a new reader, it’s great to get the best of the best upfront!

    Thank you!

  32. Very informative snippets.
    I’ve recently launched my blog and improving my PR. I’ve already read some of the listed article and continuing to the rest one.

    Thanks for the compilation.

  33. All the tips are very useful tips these are very helpful to come in top bloggers thanks for sharing..

  34. All the articles in list are very helpful for all bloggers. I’m new blogger and trying to share my engineering knowledge on one of my blog. But I’m completely unknown about the SEO, so I think this list will help me alot in building readership for my blog.

  35. I really loved your Idea of making money from a Low-traffic Blog [Case Study] and 40 Cool Things to Do With Your Posts *After* You Hit Publish. Thanks for that. Hope for more such posts in the future.

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