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Each year at this time I take stock of which articles were most read. There used to be when I could never predict what would be well read and what would be a flop, but now I have a pretty good idea. I don’t use the traffic numbers as guidance to what we should and shouldn’t write, because numbers alone don’t tell the full story. There are certainly patterns here, and the most difficult part of looking at the numbers is disregarding the patterns.
Here is the list of our top 50 articles (categorised by theme, not traffic):
The best read article of the year was about Contador’s snapped frame at the Tour de France which saw him abandon the race. I was proud of what the guys did here because amongst all the speculation and conspiracy theories, Shane and Dave sought out the true story of how Contador’s bike was ripped off the roof racks by the Belkin team car and brought the story to you here first. However, with how much work we put into many of our other stories, it’s a tad disheartening when I think about what a trivial matter this was and the traffic we generated from this story.
We could definitely generate more traffic if we cut/paste press releases and published more unoriginal news stories. As most of you know, much of our news is buried in our daily news brief called the Rocacorba Daily that is published here every day at 9am AEST. It’s our best read ongoing feature and I believe that it’s in a nicely digestible format for you to get all of the news and entertainment stories of the day. We could split these out into individual items and make you click on each story, but I think the packaging of the Rocacorba works well. What most people probably don’t understand is that we generate more news stories than any other cycling media outlet out there. Unfortunately it’s not very sharable (people like to share individual stories on social media, not the entire Rocacorba) or searchable and it has an extremely short shelf-life, so we miss out on much of the traffic that other sites get. That’s okay, we’ve found a way around this which will be implemented shortly.
Tech articles are the most read by an overwhelming margin. Diving deeper into the numbers reveals that most of the traffic for tech related articles comes from Google search results. Cyclists love researching what the latest and best products are and it shows. Google is very kind to us, so many people who may not be regular readers are led here when they’re searching for product information.
Bikes of the 2014 World Tour Part 1
Bikes of the 2014 World Tour Part 2
Trek Madone and Domane comparison review
Beyond the big ring: understanding gear ratios
The new Specialized Tarmac review
Test riding the Trek Emonda
Garmin Edge 1000 review
Scott Foil Team Issue review
Bike modifications for Paris-Roubaix
Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 review
The best of Eurobike – helmets and shoes
How Strava continues to change cycling
Shimano Sprts Cam review
Mixing groupsets – what works and what doesn’t
Specialized Diverge review
The Best of Eurobike – Bikes and Wheels
Bikes of the Bunch: Mosaic RT1
The function of road tyre tread patters
How can the road bike be improved?
Campagnolo Record EPS V2.0 review
Le Tour Tech: Power Meters, Seat Droppers, Ice Vests and more…
Colnago C-60 review
Bikes of Le Tour: Vincenzo Nibali’s Specialized McLaren Tarmac
Adam Hansen’s Custom Shoes
Bikes of the Bunch: Pinarello Jaguar F8
These are the articles I’m most proud of. It takes creativity to ask the questions that nobody else is asking, and to take the time to dive deep into a subject that nobody else has the energy for. Or in the case of The Secret Pro, it’s an extremely difficult thing to pull off.
The Secret Pro
What factors determine pro cyclist’s salaries
Analysis of climbing data from the 2014 Tour de France
What happens when cycling becomes an obsession?
Flying with your bike: Tips from a baggage handler
The biological passport: What teams can learn from the Tiernan-Locke case
Tour de France riders lead the Strava rampage
These are by far my most favourite pieces to produce. Our “Roadtripping” series has turned out to be very popular and gives us the chance to showcase what a magnificent sport cycling is. It’s not about the pros and what they’re doing. It’s about your cycling and where the bike can take you.
We spend a lot of time, money and effort getting the absolute best photographers possible to be able to tell the story of the major races, and there’s no doubt that the cobbles create the most dramatic imagery of the season.
You can see all of our photo galleries here.
Lists, clickbate and viral videos
I have mixed feelings about these types of posts. I know they’re going to do well before they’re even written and have very little value (except entertainment), but they go nuts on social media and spread virally.
My Facebook feed is filled with these types of articles and most other media outlets grab onto these as soon as they find them. I have to admit, I read these types of articles too when I see them, but it’s a sad state of affairs when media outlets who are motivated by traffic (which we all are – it’s our business model) begin to produce more and more of this content, meanwhile the important stuff slips by the wayside.
In the future you’ll be seeing more of the same with the addition of more news, more Roadtripping features, more tips, more original video, a whole section dedicated to Women’s Cycling.
As I said, letting the numbers lead the way can be a dangerous game. Some of the most important and satisfying work we’ve done don’t rate in the top 100 articles. The most crucial part of what we do is making sure we tell the story of cycling truthfully, accurately, and beautifully so we can keep feeding your passion.
Thanks for reading.