Welcome back, pop pickers, to the second half of the year's countdown of top posts. Will the coveted number one slot go to young and hungry fresh content, or will one of the stalwart evergreen pieces have delivered the goods?

Let's find out…


#5 — Ghost 3.0 has built-in membership and paywall tools to build engaged journalism sites

This is a slightly meta post: a blog hosted on Ghost using its membership features, writing about Ghost's membership features. It reminds me of the old days of the 2000s when a lot of blogging was about blogging: metablogging as we called it.

This is another SEO-driven success, picking up a good chunk of people who are interesting in using Ghost as a membership publishing platform. I could probably make more of this page, if I tried. I just need to work out how.

Ghost 3.0 is an elegant way of building membership sites for news
Ghost 3.0 upgrades the content management system to a full membership platform, with the ability to easily add paid subscribers.

#4 — Spotify is trying to become podcasting's gatekeeper. We mustn't let them.

Ah, a post from the Before Times. But still a relevant one, I think. Spotify is one of the companies manoeuvring to dominate an open standard: podcasting. Arguably, we're seeing the same happening with Substack and newsletters. And, again, arguably we're seeing traditional media aiding this process by focusing on companies rather than media forms.

This is a story that's likely to keep recurring next year — and quote possibly beyond.

Spotify is trying to become podcasting’s gatekeeper. We musn’t let them.
While Spotify’s acqusition of The Ringer is good news for the journalists involved, it’s part of a worrying trend in podcasting

#3 — Want to read your iPad in the bath?

If you've ever heard me bang on about the value of evergreen content, well, this is an example. This is a six year old post, which I SEOed the hell out of, and which drives traffic to this day. It's not particularly useful traffic, but as someone who consults and trains in SEO, it's nice to have a few things I can practice on.

And this is one of them. I freshened it up this year, and saw a small uptick in traffic again. One thing's for sure: lots of people want to read their iPads in the bath.

Want to read your iPad in the bath?
Dropping your Apple tablet into the bath water is a lot more expensive that dropping a magazine. Does this sleeve solve the issue?

#2 — Journalists: do NOT upgrade to IOS14 today

This is…

Well, it's a little depressing, frankly. There's nothing insightful or analytical here. It just went viral on social media, and delivered a huge hit of traffic. The only major problem was that very little of this traffic was useful to me. No notable uptick in subscribers. Very little uptick in traffic after the bubble passed. Classic “drive-by” traffic that's a little value to a site that's not monetised through advertising.

Ah, well.

Let's hope the #1 slot is a bit better.

Journalists: do NOT upgrade to iOS14 today
Apple’s big iOS and iPad update arrives today. You do NOT want to install it today, if you use your iPhone or iPad for your journalism.

#1 — Matt Yglesias leaves Vox for Substack

This post had twice the traffic of the number 2 slot. It, essentially, did a month's worth of my average traffic all by itself. It was the perfect storm of a couple of high profile Tweeters sharing it, and excellent SEO, delivering a massive slab of traffic.

And, of course, it's been about that mediasphere topic of the year: Substack.

This feels like a fitting “winner” neatly encapsulating some of the key issues in independent media as we head into 2021.

Matt Yglesias leaves Vox for Substack: is he doing a Newton or a Sullivan?
Another writer mired in controversy leaves a Vox Media publication to start his own newsletter. What’s happening here?

And there we have it. Thanks for reading in 2020 folks — and see you in 2021. Things can only get better…