By E. Brown
NOTE: This is for those hosting their blogs for free on WordPress. If you are not sure, you can check your URL. It will read something like name.wordpress.com
Like you, I frequently monitor the Blog Stats page on the WordPress Dashboard. It’s a barometer of audience participation and whether articles are of relevance. To make it easy for my readers to find the “Best Of WeirdGuy” I would manually go through the posts and note the lifetime views until I had a list of 10-20 articles. Then I would load the links into a Text widget. Needless to say, this process was cumbersome and time consuming. I emailed WordPress and after some back-and-forth correspondence Alex and I found the statistics pot of gold. Now creating a “Best Of…” widget is much easier.
I have had several bloggers comment on the “Best Of…” widget in my sidebar and some have asked me how to do it. For posterity, I decided to create this How-To so that you can share your best-of-the-best with the world. Enjoy!
Step 1 – Gather Your Data
From your Dashboard > Blog Stats Admin page, click on Top Posts & Pages.
From Top Posts & Pages you can view summaries of top posts from the last week, 30 days, 3 months, or year. For this exercise we want to click on the line Summarize: All Time. This will give you a summary of the top posts for the life of the blog.
Collect your data here for your top 10+ articles and posts.
Step 2 – Format Your Widget
I like to open a second window, or if you use Tab Browsing, another Tab. Navigate to your Presentation > Widgets Admin page. Use an extra Text widget and title it, Best Of… (or something else snappy).
You will need to know some simple HTML for this next part. You can create a bulleted list or numbered list — the choice is yours. I like to use a bulleted list, or in HTML, an unordered list <ul>. Here you will move back and forth between your two Tabs or Windows. Return to your All Time stats page and Copy the link location (PC: right mouse click or Mac: CTRL click). Move back to your widget and Paste the URL for the article within your <a> tag. Type the article title, close out your tag and move on to the next link. Copy the next link location from the stats page and move back to the widget until you have added all your links.
Your HTML Code should look something like this:
The <li> tag is for each List Item and the <br> tag puts a Break after the line.
Step 3 – Save Changes
Finally, close your widget and Save Changes from your Admin page. Click View Site to review your handy work and make sure it looks the way you expected and is placed on your blog where you want. If you need to tweak it or add/change more, just repeat Step 2 — That’s it!
What I have outlined here is “one way” of doing this. If anyone has used another method please feel free to share in the comments section below. Thanks.
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This is great, but here’s a couple other tips.
1. There is a Most Popular Posts sidebar Widget that will give you today’s most popular posts automatically. At least I think it’s the day’s most popular not the lifetime of the blog popular. I might need to verify that. Anyway, it’s automatically generated.
2. For Firefox users, I recommend the CoLT Firefox Extension which allows copying of the entire link WITH the post title in HTML format for pasting. I use it more than anything else for the related posts list on most of my blog posts, writing blog posts with link references, putting together link lists for my weekly digest and the Blog Herald WordPress Wednesday News – you name it. I’m lost without it. Saves major keystrokes.
And thanks for the tips!
Lorelle, you are right, the Most Popular posts is updated day by day related to most recent views. This How-To is for Most Popular over lifetime of the blog. I am also an avid Firefox user. I am definitely going to try out CoLT.
it’s really a nice widget ..
i was looking for it
thank you Brown :)
majjood, glad the article helped. Let me know if there is anything your interested in.
Have fun, -eb
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