Why do some articles do well, and others flop? Each year, I delight in the geekery of analyzing this site’s stats, gleaning trends and tips for moving forward in online castle building. Pawing through the half a million pageviews this year for Around the World “L” let’s dive into the specifics of what did best in 2016 and why, illustrated by my most popular Instagram photos of the year.
Most popular articles of the 34 I wrote this year:
#9: The Best Art Exhibit in the World. This article took off because the colors of the Chihuly glass exhibit are out of this world. Click and feel happy!
#8: Tips on Being Pregnant While Raising a Toddler. Useful advice for home and travel. The awkward part was naming this article, since “Pregnant With a Toddler” just sounded wrong.
#7: Advice on Travel to Boston in Winter. I’m thrilled this article finally got traction! Boston is my favorite city in the world, and I love encouraging more people to visit, even in snow.
#6: Turkish Street Food. Food articles tend to do well. Sticky ice cream? Yes please!
#5: The 2nd Most Expensive Hotel in the World. A hotel that cost 3 BILLION dollars to build? No wonder it’s so visually astounding. Can you guess where it is?
#4: The Finger Lakes, NY Town of Elmira. Many people shared this article because Elmira is less known than nearby towns, but local people are proud of its history and sights, and want to get the word out.
#3: 40 Tools to Save Money and Time in Travel and Life. A useful list!
#2: The Best Sandals. My love song for the shoes I’ve worn nonstop for over a decade.
#1: What New Mothers Really Do. I’m surprised that this was the number one article of the year, but it’s resonated with a lot of women out there, and I’m delighted it’s getting shared.
Most popular articles written before 2016 that took off this year:
#7: The Best Place for Delicious, Inexpensive Food in Quebec City (4,845 reads).
My top tip on Quebec City travel is this amazing local food market!
#6: How to Make Your Own Lantern Festival (6,080 reads).
This features a beautiful Boston festival, and also gives instructions on how to use old soda bottles and tissue paper to create colorful lanterns.
#5: Lesser-Known Facts about the Taj Mahal, India (10,798 reads)
From the cryptic sign at the entrance, to the jarringly segregated ticket system, the Taj Mahal has aspects many people don’t know about it.
#4: Is it Worth it to Rent a Car in Puerto Rico? (11,131 reads).
I’ve gotten lots of feedback that this article has been very helpful in planning PR travel.
#3: A Great Belize Travel Itinerary (13,187 reads).
Tips from our Honeymoon travels in an easy-to-follow route for you.
#2: The Gingerbread Houses of Martha’s Vineyard, MA (19,960 reads).
These life-sized “gingerbread cottages” are adorable, and you can rent them, too.
#1: Tips on Visiting the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland (22,870 reads).
This is well on the way to becoming the most popular article on my whole site, thanks to Pinterest, since it’s been pinned thousands of times. Thanks, social media!
Articles I hope will take off soon:
In 2016, I launched a series highlighting one of the most incredible, FREE features of my beloved Boston: the Emerald Necklace parks (Jamaica Pond, Franklin Park, the Arboretum, and more). Too many travelers to Boston — or even locals! — don’t know about or take advantage of these astounding greenspaces, and my hope is that these articles will help change that.
Social media stats and breakthroughs:
This year my @WorldLillie social media accounts passed 20,400 Twitter followers, and 24,000 Instagram followers. The real winner for blog traffic, however, has been Pinterest, which is now one of the top sources of new readers for my site. It was worth it to put in the time this year to develop my Pinterest network! Meanwhile, this blog has passed 2 million pageviews in its 7 years of life and nearly 700 articles, and TeachingTraveling.com is not far behind, despite being one year younger.
Upcoming articles and travel:
It has been a joy and total insanity to raise two kids under 3.5 years old, and thus our travels are closer to home for now. In fact, this has been a great opportunity to explore my beloved New England in more depth. In addition to the pieces on Rockport, Provincetown, and Block Island that I published this year, I’m working on a set of articles on Central and Western Massachusetts.
Vermont is also in the plans (so excited to get back to that lovely state!), as is extended time in Ohio (for annual family fun), and California for a wedding that we may be able to stretch into a longer trip if the kids behave (hah!).
More tentative plans include Britain (hopefully Wales), and perhaps Vancouver or Portland if I make it out to Seattle to visit my brother again soon. Travel planning is often just as exhilarating as travel itself!
In sum: Articles that may not be the overall topic of one’s blog (ex: Parenting articles on a Travel blog) may end up being the most popular of the year. I adore my family, and am also covered in spit-up. Pinterest is fabulous for bringing new readers. Instagram users love liking clouds, water reflections, and sunrises. This year has been nuts, politically, but I am doing what I can as a public school teacher to work for social justice. And finally… running this blog (and its sister, Teaching Traveling) remains a profound joy of my life, and I thank you so much for being a part of it. Have a wonderful New Year and beyond, and do be in touch!