The Wine Curmudgeon’s most popular posts 2020: Not necessarily about cheap wine, and a lot fewer visitors
What does one make of a blog about cheap wine when a majority of the most popular posts weren’t about cheap wine — or were even wine reviews?
That’s where we find ourselves as the blog celebrates its 13th annual Birthday Week. Only four of the top 10 posts from November 2019 to November 2020 were sort of about cheap wine. And one was about as far removed from cheap wine as possible — a six-year-old post about the $300 Coravin wine opener at No. 10.
Ordinarily, I’d blame all this foolishness on our overlords at Google, whose search engine algorithm has more to do with sending visitors to the blog than anything I write. But the past 12 months also saw a precipitous decline in traffic, about one-third from last year’s 600,000 or so visitors. That no doubt also contributed to the bizarre top post results — fewer visitors exaggerates the importance of the posts that do get traffic.
So what caused the drop? The pandemic, almost certainly, combined with the U.S. presidential election. There were other things on people’s minds that didn’t involve finding a $10 wine that doesn’t taste like alcoholic grape juice. Even sites like Linkedin, which should be immune, may have had some traffic declines.
Which I understand. The problem comes if traffic doesn’t recover if and when we get back to normal toward the end of next year. What’s the point of a wine blog where no one wants to read about wine?
The top 10 posts of 2020:
1. The four-year-old “Barefoot wine: Why it’s so popular.” This was the top post in 2019, as well, and was No. 7 in 2018. But it didn’t make the top 10 in 2016 or 2017, which makes no sense given how the Internet is supposed to work.
2. The Kim Crawford wine ad critique, which moved up from fifth in 2019. There are 38 comments, most very harsh about the ad; that’s not only a lot of comments for the blog, but that so many people agreed with me is also unusual.
3. The 10-year-old Barefoot wines (again) post was third for the second year in a row. How does a post that old get so much traffic? Ask our overlords at Google.
4. The residual sugar post was fourth, after being second for two consecutive years. This is something I am quite proud of, that wine drinkers can come here and get practical information to help them make intelligent decisions.
5. The Louisiana shrimp boil wine and food pairings post l call it my contribution to making the pandemic a little less difficult It’s also the first wine and food pairings post to make the top 10.
6. Ask the WC 1 — another pandemic-specific post, I think. It offers cheap cava suggestions, though why a seven-year-old post that was only partially about cheap cava is beyond me.
7. The 2020 $10 Hall of Fame. Long gone are the days when that year’s Hall of Fame was the most visited, and a couple of others would be in the 1op 10. Again, I have no idea why, and it’s more than a little sad.
8. Will the pandemic bring permanent changes to the three-tier system? This is self-explanatory — and one of the few hopeful things to come out of this year.
9. A post about discount wine retailer Grocery Outlet. Which, hopefully, is coming soon to a town near you.
10. That damned Coravin post. I wonder if it’s because I actually discussed its value to wine drinkers, instead of fawning over it like most of the Winestream Media.
A few other thoughts:
• The $10 wine category was 34th for the second year in a year. Double sigh.
• The various five-day, $3 wine challenge posts dropped out of the top 10. The highest ranking one was 15th, and again, I have no idea what that means. One would think this would be a very popular pandemic-related post.
• My undercover, illegal interstate wine shipping post was 16th, which isn’t bad since it didn’t post until the end of July.