We’re a good few days into 2023 and so I thought I’d have a look back at how my blog has performed over the past year and which articles you as the readers have enjoyed the most.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase any products via the links below, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These affiliate links do not affect my final opinion of the product.
This has been, without a doubt, a much improved year for my blog. Going into 2023, I’ll be going into my third year in the blog (if you consider ’21 as my first and ’22 as my second) which means I’ll hit two years of blogging come May.
I’ve had a look through my Google Analytics for my top ten most-read articles from the year. This doesn’t necessarily mean all of these articles were posted in 2022, in fact many of my most-viwed pages this year were due to Google’s Algorithm suggesting my blog (which is wonderful) so there’s no rhyme or reason to a lot of these articles.
Anyway, below I’ve listed the top 10 and written a little about why I think each article featured so highly. Just a quick note: obviously I’ve not included any landing pages or the home page as these aren’t figures anybody really wants to know about. So all of the pages below are things I’ve actually written.
So here they are:
10. My 5 Most-Read Articles from April 2022 (1,235 views)
Why on earth people were most interested in the articles I read in April, I have no idea. However, one thing I did note whilst looking back at this article is that of the five, there’s only one book review. So this month was a month that featured a lot of well… features rather than book reviews (unlike this article you’re reading).
This was a month where I experimented with utilising my growing social media platform to ask my followers questions and then use their consensus to write up genuinely useful articles. For example, These are the Best Fantasy Books According to Twitter is an article I wrote by posting the question on my Twitter and then simply culminating the answers into one useful article.
9. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell book review (1,363 views)
Lisa Jewell is a big name in the book industry – she’s one of those authors whose books are hotly anticipated by many and then often spend quite some time at the top of best-selling charts.
My review of Then She Was Gone was actually published in 2021, just showing that Google has well and truly pushed my articles further up in its findings. There are probably more popular books I’ve reviewed by Lisa Jewell such as The Family Upstairs or The Night She Disappeared but this doesn’t matter if Google is showing my other reviews instead!
I gave Then She Was Gone 4/5 stars at the time, stating that there was a moment I did consider stopping listening to it but found that it really picked up and had me hooked for the final third of the book. I think this summarises a lot of Jewell’s books – they are all very grounded for the first 2/3 and then all of a sudden, something weird or scary happens or she starts to drip-feed you clues and you’re hooked!
8. The Gray Man by Mark Greaney book review (1,414 views)
My review of The Gray Man by Mark Greaney is an interesting one as I know it’s because the film came out this year on Netflix and did quite well (not critically, just commercially) and so I imagine my review of the book was popping up when people were searching for either the film itself or to see what the book was like.
In fact, I was absolutely ecstatic to see that if you search “The Gray Man book review” on Google, my blog appears as the second option on the homepage (well it does for me, let me know if it does for you too!)
I rated The Gray Man 5/5 at the time. I think based on my latest rating system (where I rated in increments) I think I’d likely give it 4.25 stars – I think my knowledge of books has expanded since then and so I feel I have read far better books since. However, don’t get me wrong, it’s still a fantastic action thriller that, if you’re into a rogue James Bond vibe, you’ll love!
7. Verity by Colleen Hoover book review (1,541 views)
Colleen Hoover (or “CoHo” to us online book lovers) is one of the biggest-selling authors on the planet right now. Apparently, she sold more books than the bible last year (though I wasn’t aware that was a big seller anymore, still).
Verity is one of Colleen Hoover’s most talked-about books due to the massive plot twist at the end which will have literally everybody who reads it shocked. The book itself is very tense and you’ll spend nearly all of trying to work out what is going on and what is going to happen, which keeps you flipping the pages.
I rated Verity 4/5 and noted that despite people singing its praises to the high heavens, I felt that a lot of the book that quite average but the ending was so good that it brought the whole book back up again. If you’re looking for a tense read with a wicked twist, Verity is one of the best out there.
6. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini book review (1,907 views)
This one surprises me and must purely be down the book’s popularity and the fact Google (as I mentioned earlier) it starting to promote some of my older articles.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a much-loved book by Khaled Hosseini that I read and reviewed in 2021. In the review, I gave it 5/5 (back when I was just doing out of five ratings) and stated that it was an emotional rollercoaster that will tug at your heartstrings and immerse you in such a horrible life that you won’t be able to stop yourself from feeling empathy towards those who were really involved in those situations (and since writing the review, quite possibly are again now unfortunately).
As I said, this is a very popular book by Khaled Hosseini and after sitting on my blog for over a year and a half now, Google clearly began offering it quite high up on their search results. When I search for it, it comes up on the first page of the results – why not try it out yourself?
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald book review (2,176 views)
The Great Gatsby is one of the most recognised titles in the game. If you ask somebody whether they’d heard of the name, even if their own recollection is of the Baz Luhrmann film, they’d likely know it was based on a book.
This is another book I read and reviewed in 2021 but seems to have been picked up in ’22 thanks to the wonderful work of my SEO and Google being kind to my blog.
Either way, I didn’t rate The Great Gatsby particularly highly. I’m not sure whether this was because I listened o the audiobook rather than reading the actual book or not, but it just seemed a tad dull for me. I appreciated the writing and the poetic style it had, but I’m very much somebody who enjoys a good plot too and I just wasn’t feeling that with The Great Gatsby.
I feel a lot of people studied this in school or have since read up about some of the suggestions in Fitzgerald’s writings so they have a deeper understanding of it. However, from a base level, I feel I may have missed all of this and just taken it for a fairly weak love story and, despite a car crash and a murder, a fairly uneventful plot.
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone book review (2,956 views)
One of the most popular books of all time features as fourth on my most-read articles of the year. I’ve had a look on Google and can’t seem to find it on any of the search results, so I imagine this one just be for some other reason. it must be appearing in search results for some people as there’s no way it received nearly 3,000 views just from my social media channels.
I gave Philosopher’s Stone a 5/5 rating. Despite the massive hype the franchise has since received and the disgusting amount of money it has earned as an IP, the books are still the very best thing about all of it. When reading The Philosopher’s Stone you can really understand why the book series became such a hit. Rowling manages to write incredibly likeable characters, builds a world that sounds genuinely enchanting and desirable and writes a story that’s genuinely interesting for all ages!
Harry Potter isn’t a global phenomenon because the movies were big; well, that’s a lie, it probably was, but it’s also a phenomenon because the source material is genuinely spectacular and the movies stuck very closely to the books.
3. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover book review (4,493 views)
As I stated earlier, Colleen Hoover is an absolute behemoth in the book-selling world at the moment and so having It Ends With Us, probably her biggest seller on the list isn’t a massive surprise. Hoover has managed to capture people on social media with her books by writing genuinely likeable characters and producing some very visually appealing front covers (which always helps).
The fear with books and authors that go viral on social media is that they’ve been read by some innocent younger people who think their life has been changed by reading a book about love and so when a 28-year-old goes to read it, it’s going to be very superficial and not that great at all. It Ends With Us isn’t like that. It is genuinely a mature and fantastic read about domestic abuse and how it’s not always obvious and most certainly not easy.
I gave It Ends With Us 5/5 because I had so much appreciation for it. There’s a sequel that’s come out since I put my review up of this, It Starts With Us, which is OK, focuses a lot more on the relationship side of things and so is more of a romance. It does still have some funny and great characters but the themes aren’t quite as dark and so I felt the depth wasn’t quite there. Either way, you should definitely try It Ends With Us.
2. 110 Questions for your Question of the Day on Bookstagram (5,409 views)
110 Questions for your Question of the Day on Bookstagram is a title that rolls right off your tongue doesn’t it? No? Well, it absolutely kills it on Google and works really well for the SEO so it doesn’t really matter.
Anyway, this is another article I wrote in 2021 that seems to perform incredibly well almost all of the time. Nearly every month when I’m looking to create my most-read articles from the month before, this pops up near or at the top (obviously it’s not included as it wasn’t written in that month).
If you’re someone who is trying to improve their social media game, this is essentially 110 questions you can use to provoke interaction and engagement on your channels. I did some research and looked up a lot of different possibilities here, so if you’re someone who uses social media a lot, it may be a very useful resource for you.
1. The Terminal List by Jack Carr book review (6,985 views)
And first on the list for my most-viewed article in 2022 is my review of Ther Terminal List. I can you straight away that, in the same vein as The Gray Man this was viewed a lot due to the launch of the television show this year.
The TV Show featured Chris Pratt and received average reviews but was liked a lot by the audiences. I watched the first episode myself and thought it was good but I’m not a big TV show watcher so haven’t picked it up since.
Like The Gray Man I gave The Terminal List 5/5 at the time. Based on my latest rating system, I’d likely give it something a lower like 4.25. It’s a fantastic book with a unique premise and it isn’t afraid to make some big calls so I was a huge fan when I fist read it. Throughout 2023, I do kind of want to read some more action thriller books, but we’ll see how that goes when my TBR is already 40,000,000 books long.
So in summary…
2022 was without a doubt the best year I’ve had for my blog. It’s my first full year, it’s the second year into my blog and it is also the year in which I actually started earning proper money from it (well, nothing substantial, just a few quid here or there).
I’d love to know what all of your most-read articles from the year were. Were you surprised by which articles topped the list, do they have the logical reasons (such as the TV show came out for a book you reviewed or you wrote an article about a topic that suddenly went viral online)?
My goals for 2023 are to simply keep some consistency. The latter half of 2022 saw me dropping the consistency and the original articles – a lot of my articles were book reviews and I was only popping out one or two a week at the very most. 2023 is the year of original articles again! Well it will be for the first half or so until my drive for creativity dips in the second half of the year like always!
Anyway – here’s to 2023 and a very successful 2022!