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The How-and-Whys of Our Top 10 Most Viewed Posts of 2012

Tim Mikulski

Everyone loves a top 10 list. Sure, it seems the lists are everywhere this time of year—to the point that you’d think that we’ve over-saturated the market for them, right? Wrong.

The best evidence that I can give you to prove that top 10 lists bring people to your site is that four of our top 10 most viewed posts this year contain the number 10 and, as you will see below, our top 3 new posts published in 2012 contain the number, too.

Thankfully, though, that’s not all we’re about here on ARTSblog.

So, the Top 10 Most Viewed ARTSblog Posts created in 2012 are:

1. The Top 10 Skills Children Learn From the Arts

2. Ten Years Later: A Puzzling Picture of Arts Education in America

3. 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2012

4. Former President Clinton Supports Arkansas Arts Education Program

5. Overcommitment: Taking the ‘I Shoulds’ Out of Your Life?

6. What Do We Really Know About People Who Get Arts Degrees?

7. What’s Actually Keeping Your Audience Away?

8. President Obama’s Budget Request for the NEA: The Fine Print 

9. It’s About Freedom of Thought: Why Arts Education is a Civil Rights Issue

10. How Vincent van Gogh Can Help You Teach to the Common Core Standards

Just by reading over the titles, is there any other information you can gather about why they ended up in the top 10?

I don’t want to give away all of my secrets that helped increase our traffic 110% since 2010, but I can give you a few reasons why we are successful.

Well, Google plays a large part in it. When potential visitors are searching terms in the fields that we cover, they are often using the same key words we have in our titles—like “arts education”; “common core standards”; and “10 reasons” in addition to general searches for “arts” or “NEA” for example.

Since Google is one of our primary traffic sources, we’ve also inferred that asking questions (see #6 and #7) and using famous names like Clinton, Obama, and van Gogh will generate more referrals as well.

It’s clear that arts education topics are our most popular, but what also helps keep those numbers up is the fact that we have at least one new arts ed-based post each week. That new content, combined with our two annual arts education Blog Salons held in March and September, has made us a go-to resource for everyone from parents looking to make sure it’s available in their schools to well-known researchers sharing their thoughts in comments.

Speaking of Blog Salons (a week-long schedule of posts around a single theme or topic; see the archive on the right), they began as a way to spotlight our various program areas and have become so successful that we’re up to eight per year, not including when we spotlight our signature events like Arts Advocacy Day, our Annual Convention, and the National Arts Marketing Project Conference over a few days.

Another factor is that we are one of a few resources with extensive information about certain areas like the arts and social change or deep knowledge of the goings-on of Capitol Hill. So, if you write about areas of which you have exclusive knowledge, people will find your site.

Finally, it never hurts to be a little provocative or get right down to the basics. I know that sounds diametrically opposed, but it’s true. If we believe that arts education is a civil rights issue (meaning all children should have access), then we should declare it proudly.

As for the basics, sometimes we find items that will draw in the general public who may not know anything about our organization or the large scope of the creative economy just by giving people the “101″ on a topic like arts education. We certainly get wonky on ARTSblog, but we balance that with digestible pieces for the newcomer.

Okay, I should stop before I give away all my secrets. I’d love to read some of your successful secrets in the comments below…

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