Top Web Development Blog Entries for 2009

T'is the season for reflecting on the past, developing top 10 lists and participating in typical new year blog memes. To that end I thought I'd share the most popular posts—and active commentators—for 2009.

There are a variety of ways one can measure such things, so I've chosen two methods to select the top 10 blog posts and have included all posts—not just those written in 2009. As it turns out, five entries made both lists, while 10 appeared only on one list. Three of the entries this year were also included last year in, 2 Top 5 Lists = 1 Top Ten List: My most read Web Development Blog entries from 2008.

Pine Tree in Snow Storm
Happy New Year from snow covered Cleveland!

Top 10 most popular posts according to the WordPress Popularity Contest plug-in

I discovered this plug-in earlier last year after reading Ari Herzog's post, Enhance Your WordPress Blog with 23 Plugins. Ari also used this methodology for his recent post, Top 9 Blog Posts Written Here in 2009—which just happens to include his post, Guest Interview with Heidi Cool: How a University Experiments with Social Media. So thank you Ari for a year's worth of great idea sharing!

The Popularity Contest Plug-in measures the popularity of posts based on a combination of factors including: Permalink Views, Home Views, Archive Views, Category Views, Tag Views, Feed Views, Comments, Pingbacks, Trackbacks and trackbacks.

Users can adjust how much weight is given to each factor. I just used the default values. Since comments are acquired over time and some of my posts are evergreen content (material that isn't time sensitive) this ranking may not be truly reflective of 2009 readership. The posts on this list include entries made as early as 2005, so some of the comments were also made before 2009.

  1. An Introduction to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  2. Making sense of semantic HTML: an introduction for clients and new Web designers
  3. Enhance your reputation & increase traffic by joining discussions on other blogs
  4. Goal-driven social media strategies & tactics: how are you interacting with your target audience?
  5. So you want to build a Web site
  6. Twitter chats: if you can’t meet in real space, meet in real time.
  7. 8 things to consider when redesigning your Web site—let’s start with WHY?
  8. Is Flash evil? No, but Flash-based sites can be a marketing nightmare.
  9. A writer’s obligations: ethics, law and pragmatism, Part 1: Law
  10. Raising your Web site rankings
Top 10 most popular posts according to Google Analytics page views

This list is probably more reflective of 2009 traffic because it is based solely on pages views from last year. Naturally there are other factors one could consider, but for this list I thought I'd keep it simple.

  1. An Introduction to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  2. 8 things to consider when redesigning your Web site—let’s start with WHY?
  3. Twitter chats: if you can’t meet in real space, meet in real time.
  4. Your Flash site won’t seem so cool if visitors can’t use it.
  5. Is Flash evil? No, but Flash-based sites can be a marketing nightmare.
  6. Goal-driven social media strategies & tactics: how are you interacting with your target audience?
  7. Converting Word documents to HTML
  8. Blogging as the backbone of a social media strategy
  9. 5 Tips to ensure your readers can read your HTML e-mail messages
  10. Embedding YouTube Videos the Standards Compliant Way—SFWobject 2.0

While creating top 10 lists provides a fast way to churn out a new blog entry, the process also gives us insights into reader preferences. As bloggers we can use this knowledge to plan future articles that will also resonate with our readers. The "how-to" articles such as "converting word documents" and "embedding YouTube videos" seem to be consistently popular over time, so I should probably take this as a clue to write more in this genre.

If you want to dig deeper into your results, you can also compare your popular entries with your social media activities—to see if they were promoted more often than others. For example, So you want to build a Web site is the first entry in my Planning Your Web Site Tutorial. I frequently share this link in the Q&A section of LinkedIn and with clients, so I know some of this traffic is a direct result of those activities.

Top Commentators for 2009

While I'm perfectly happy to write for the sake of writing, it's nice to know that you folks are out there reading, reTweeting and commenting. Some posts garner more comments than others, but it's always fun to see the conversations evolve. The following list shows the most active commentators for 2009.

  1. Tom Goering
  2. Ari Herzog
  3. Tashfeen
  4. Kyle James
  5. Artful Dodger
  6. Greg Bowen
  7. David
  8. Ron
  9. Michael Stoner
  10. dave
  11. David
  12. Ron
  13. Paul Falgout
  14. Mark Keating
  15. Escorial
  16. Seo Tampa
  17. David Sher
  18. Tonya

This list was compiled using the Show Top Commentators plug-in. I included more than 10 because some people made the same number of comments. While a few of the people on the list are those who may have stumbled upon the blog via search or by following a link, a good portion of these folks are friends I've made through social media such as Pownce and Twitter. The list also includes fellow contributors to BlogHighEd, some of whom I've had the pleasure of meeting in person.

These connection points offer a good example of how social networking works. We listen more closely to the people we're more connected with, thus we may comment on their blogs more often and vice versa. Our Tweets and Facebook updates also help alert our friends when we have new entries. I subscribe to several of the blogs penned by the folks on this list, but I'll often see their posts in Twitter (and click through to read them) before I see them in Google Reader. There are some excellent writers in the bunch so I encourage you to explore their sites.

I'd like to thank all of the commentators for contributing their ideas to the blog this year, but in particular I'd like to thank Tom Goering of NavyCS. Tom started commenting on the blog several years ago. We've since connected on both StumbleUpon and Twitter, but I think it's rather cool that he's kept up with the blog over time and continued to be an active commentator.

Thank you Tom and all the other readers and commentators who continue to give me reasons to blog. Happy New Year! - Heidi

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5 Comments »
  1. Thank you for the double attribution, Heidi. It's folks like you who make the web a fun place to be.

    Comment by Ari Herzog — January 7, 2010 @9:56 pm

  2. Thank you Heidi for the great insight your blog has provided - I had no idea I had been reading it for so long, time flies when your having fun! Keep up the outstanding work :)

    Comment by Tom Goering — January 9, 2010 @2:36 pm

  3. Ari, you're welcome. It's been great getting to know you over the past year. All because of a comment I made about social media on your blog.

    Tom, Your readership has been much appreciated. According to search I can find comments of yours at least back to 2007, but they may go back to 2006. I hope all is well in your world!

    Comment by Heidi Cool — January 18, 2010 @12:28 am

  4. Thanks Heidi For Such A Great Insight Analysis !! Keep It Going...

    Comment by Webbi Designte — March 3, 2010 @5:48 pm

  5. Hi Heidi, Great blog...I just happened to stubble upon it. keep up the great work. Md

    Comment by Mike D — May 15, 2010 @11:43 am

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