Just like in 2013, this year, I have also picked the top 10 by raw number of blogpost views, because it's the simplest way to go about doing things. I've written last year that I feel this method isn't totally ideal because it disadvantages posts that are popular but were written at the end of the year, or "evergreen" posts (like posts on classic topics like skincare, foundation, etc., such as my post on parabens in skincare, as opposed to a more trend-based post, like the latest MAC makeup collection) that may not garner as many initial views, but tend to do very well over a longer period of time. I always feel like counting the raw number of views tends to overlook the evergreen posts and the posts written towards the end of the year. Nevertheless, this seems to be the simplest way of doing things. Of course, if you wanted to be really particular about it you could pro-rate the number of views to the length of time the post was up, but this seems to present its own problems, because not every post follows the same viewcount trajectory - some (like the trends-based posts) do really well for a short time, and then quickly taper off, while others tend to follow a steadier growth trajectory.
But in any case, since we are using raw views, let's get to it, and here's the top 10 posts of 2014! I've also included 3 honourable mentions, which are posts that did well views-wise, but didn't get into the top 10 because they were written in the later part of the year. So let's check out the top 10 posts!
Elizabeth Arden Summer 2014 Swatches: Summer Escape Bronzers, Gloss Stick, Highlighters, Cream Eyeshadows
Elizabeth Arden Summer 2014 Swatches: Summer Escape Bronzers, Gloss Stick, Highlighters, Cream Eyeshadows
Coming in 10th, is this post that was kind of an afterthought - I happened to take some swatches at the event, and posted them because . I'm surprised it did so well! Of course, I guess on hindsight it makes sense that swatch posts would do well, because people do like swatches, and my blog did originally start out 5 years ago (yes, it has been 5 years!) as one that primarily did swatches, although over the years obviously the focus on the blog has also expanded to include my usual ingredients geekery, and some nail art (when my nails aren't totally gross and peeling). Good to know that I haven't lost my arm-swatching mojo, haha!
Etude House Color Lips Fit Review and Swatches
You'll see a couple of Etude House posts in the top 10, which is more than in 2013, where only one post out of the top 10 was about the brand (then again, I wasn't reviewing as many Etude House products then). I don't know about you, but it seems like Etude House has really increased its profile a lot over this year, particularly on more visual social media platforms like Instagram. I follow bloggers from all over the world on Instagram, including the USA and Europe, and I'm always surprised to see that their products, particularly their Etoinette lipsticks, seem to be so popular on such platforms. The good thing is that Etude House does have some pretty good products as well, so it isn't just the pretty packaging that keeps people buying!
On a side note, I think out of all the Etude House products I've reviewed so far, my favourite is the Color Pop Lip Tint, which is now available in mini sizes in 12 colours at Etude House's flagship store at Wisma Atria. It's got a nice colour, shine, and good staying power - what's not to love? I have these in 3 colours now, although the colour I reviewed on my blog, Berry Pop, is still my favourite.
MUFE Artist Shadow Swatches Part 2 of 2: Pinks, Reds, and Neutrals
Another swatch post! The traffic to this was driven both by people searching for specific eyeshadow shades of MUFE Artist Shadows, as well as people searching for swatches in general. It does seem like the launch of the Artist Shadows has caught the attention of people, judging from the search traffic I get to these posts - people seem to be googling my swatches to help them differentiate between the myriad shades they have, and narrowing which are the ones they will eventually purchase. I guess launching over 200 shades of eyeshadow at a go is certainly going to catch people's attention! For me at least, seeing all 100+ shades laid out in front of my eyes was certainly a "BAM!" moment - like, "OMG I CAN PUT ALL THESE ON MY EYES? WANTS!" And then of course, I started spending maybe an hour or two(!) swatching like a mad woman, which then led to these posts. Yay for mad crazy swatching!
MUFE HD Blush Second Skin Cream Blush Swatches!
Another swatch post, and from MUFE too! The HD Blush Second Skin Cream Blush was also launched this year, and again, people seemed keen to look up swatches. Swatches have always been popular on my blog, so that isn't really a surprise to me. Fortunately (or unfortunately), there weren't as many shades of HD Blush available as there were eyeshadows, so one photo pretty much covered all the available tester shades. The shade range for this is pretty well thought out and versatile too, there are at least 2-3 shades that you can find wearable for every skin tone.
MUFE Artist Shadow Swatches Part 1 of 2: Blues, Greens, Yellows and Neutrals
Yup, Part 2 of the MUFE Artist Shadow swatches was Number 8 on the list, and Part 1 is Number 6. What can I say, I love doing swatches (obviously, because otherwise I wouldn't have swatched around 100 of these eyeshadows until my arm was all red, haha), and it seems like people like reading them too! So yay for win-win situations!
Etude House Each Month Cleansing Foam Review and Ingredients Analysis
Cleansing foam! Now this was a surprise to me. I know from last year's compilation that people actually seem to like reading my ingredients geekery (who knew, right? Yay for all the fellow skincare and ingredients geeks out there!), but seeing this post up in the top 10 was still a bit unexpected, because to be honest, cleansers are probably the most boring thing you can review on a beauty blog, in terms of visuals. It's not like colour makeup where there are interesting shades to pay attention to, or some other types of skincare where packaging or delivery systems can be a novelty. For the most part, cleansers are pretty much various types of cream/gel/liquids/oils packaged in the same few types of containers, so I never really expected readers to click on this post. But apparently you guys did, and I deduce that it is probably because readers were keen to know more about the ingredients part of it (I mean, it couldn't have been for the pretty photos of white blobs of cleanser, right?). So high 5, all my ingredients-list-reading friends!
Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Review: SPF 50 PA+++ Feels So Lightweight
Another of my did-unexpectedly-well posts. Like cleansing foam, sunscreen is also a fairly boring post to read, if you're just looking at the photos. You know, tubes of white or clear or tinted liquids aren't exactly the stuff exciting photos are made of. So once again, my conclusion is that people were reading for the ingredients analysis aspect of my posts, and this conclusion seems to be borne out by the comments on this post (seriously - the bulk of the comments on that post are various types of sunscreen-ingredient questions). And really, although sunscreen is visually boring, it's actually really interesting to read up on (don't look at me like I'm weird! I say this with no irony or sarcasm whatsoever!), because there are different types of sunscreen filters that may interact with each other when used in combination, so looking up the filters used in a sunscreen and checking for any potential destabilizing combinations is definitely interesting to a skincare geek (I said, don't look at me like I'm weird already!). Of course, Kiehl's also has a strong reputation for good skincare products, so that helps too, as people do seem to take an interest in their new skincare launches. Kiehl's also appeared in last year's top 10 too, so I guess that's indicative of people's interest in the brand.
PERFECT Black Eyeliner Pen Review and Swatches
Okay, this was a total surprise to me. I'm not even going to pretend I know why this particular post did so well, because the brad PERFECT is pretty limited in distribution and not really very well-known, and also, the brand only has one product (this eyeliner) out right now. Perhaps people came to this post looking for the perfect eyeliner? Or perhaps the ergonomic pen design was intriguing? For once, I'm stumped. But for some reason, people seem to have read this post for some reason or another.
Etude House Precious Mineral Magic Any Cushion Review and Swatches
I guess this is no surprise, just because the Precious Mineral Magic Any Cushion was one of Etude House's largest launches this year, and the launch of this happened to coincide very nicely with an interest in all things cushion - BB cushions, CC cushions, BB-creams-with-sunscreen cushions - you name it, it was probably being hyped up. Naturally people were pretty interested in this, so I'm not surprised to see that the post did well.
BB/CC Cushion vs BB/CC Cream: What's the Difference?
I'm personally very pleased that this post was the post with the most views this year! When I counted down last year's top 10, I was surprised at how well posts with my ingredients geekery seemed to be doing - I did all the ingredients analysis work because I genuinely enjoy doing it (as a skincare geek and a person with pretty lousy skin, I am pretty enthusiastic about reading ingredients lists partly out of interest and partly out of necessity), and I was surprised to find that so many ingredients analysis-type posts were in last year's top 10. This year seems to be in line with that, too, although the swatches (having been something I've been doing for 5 years now!) were also popular as well. I'm glad that you guys are still tolerating my lengthly ingredients analyses and liking them!
Now, for the honourable mentions! These are posts that were written towards the end of the year, but have done surprisingly well in terms of hits. I think some of them, if they had been written earlier, would probably have made it into the top 10.
HONOURABLE MENTION #1:
Benefit Majorette Booster Blush Review and Swatches
Benefit is pretty popular, with the cutesy packaging, wearable colours, and convenient, easy-to-apply formulas, so I was not surprised that the Majorette Booster Blush review did well. The amazing thing about Benefit is that they don't seem to buy as much advertising as some of the more well-established brands, but still seem to have garnered a pretty big following both online and offline.
HONOURABLE MENTION #2:
L'Oreal Mat Magique Matte Transforming Powder Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Mat Magique Matte Transforming Powder is supposed to provide up to 12 hours of oil control, and I think this really drew people to the review. I think it also made people curious about the product - I had a number of hits from people googling for the product as well as its ingredients, which led them to my post (because I just couldn't help breaking down which were the "Magique" ingredients that gave the powder its oil-control properties). I guess providing hours of oil control is definitely something that will garner the attention of any oily-skinned girls looking for a suitable powder foundation (myself included, of course)!
HONOURABLE MENTION #3:
Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Boosting 5-Minute Facial Review and Ingredients Analysis
Ooh, another skincare post! This product is actually a 2-step product - first an exfoliating mask, and then a serum to help replenish the skin. Again, like cleansers and sunscreens, face masks and serums aren't visually that interesting (although Elizabeth Arden does have super classy gold packaging, and the mask itself has an interesting self-foaming effect), so people read this more for the ingredients analysis. With all the ingredients analysis in this product (including looking at ingredients suppliers), this is certainly a post a skincare geek would enjoy.
So those are the top 10 posts, as well as 3 honourable mentions. This is the second time I'm doing such a compilation, and as always, it's pretty interesting for me, and prompts some amount of reflection. Like I mentioned in last year's top 10 compilation, my top posts are not what I'd call "sterotypical beauty blogger posts" - they're not really "how to get this celeb look" makeup tutorials or flashy makeup looks showcasing a pretty face (I have no illusions in the looks department!). In most cases the popular posts are my own geeky analysis into products I try out, as well as just plain ol' arm swatches, where I basically smear the product all over my skin. And that sounds boring, but it seems like there are people out there who are interested in reading my geekery and looking at products messily smeared on my arm! (Thanks, you guys!)
And I guess this really reinforces the oft-repeated (by now) cliche that "content is king". I know sometimes, the blogging world (or for that matter, the Instagramming/Tweeting/whatever else world) can be pretty driven by tactics rather than content - how do you write clickbait-y titles so people will visit, how do you choose your Youtube thumbnail, how do you ride on trends like the Frozen/Elsa to get more views - but that has never really been a focus of mine. I've always just written about what I liked, how I liked, and in my case, that just happens to be reviews with quite a lot of ingredients analysis, as well as armfuls of swatches. And I feel like the fact that the top 10 posts are exactly these types of posts, validates the fact that fundamentally, you can clickbait-ize your headlines all you want for that initial click, but what keeps readers engaged is really the content of the post, and if you have meaningful content, and communicate it well, then the rest will follow. And I think this particularly applies to blogging, where people expect to be reading their content (versus, say, Instagram or Twitter where it is mostly pictures or short snippets) - you can't just write nonsense and throw up a clickbait-y title to make up for it. And although people tend to view the Internetz as always being driven towards more visual content due to ever-shortening attention spans, I think the fact that text-based, content-based platforms and forums like Medium and Reddit are growing or have enjoyed popularity, is a testament to the fact that no matter how appealing your form is, the only way to really engage people is to do it the old-fashioned way - by being who you are, and by having something interesting to say. In my view, there's no point focusing on all the bells and whistles and "social media strategies" without having first and foremost good content, because then you'll end up with the online equivalent of the proverbial pretty face with no brain - nice to look at initially, but difficult to sustain interest after awhile. And really, shouldn't we all be interacting with each other like humans, even though we're doing so on online platforms?
So. I guess all that was all a bit long and irrelevant (Oops, I'm nearing the big 30 in a few years and evidently I'm prematurely getting all rambly and naggy), but I guess what it all means is - I've found blogging to be a great outlet for my ingredients geekery and love of swatches, and I'm glad that you guys have enjoyed reading my posts and accompanying geeking and swatching journey, and have made it so fun and enjoyable for me with your questions, agreements, and disagreements too! Thank you for reading this blog, and here's wishing you a fabulous 2015 ahead, with new exciting adventures and experiences, but also joy and peace! And if you share my love for ingredients geekery and swatches, here's hoping that it bring us great skin and gorgeous makeup looks too!