If you wanted to measure the top 100 blogs in the world, how would you?
Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like no one has implemented a good way to measure the top blogs yet. Technorati used to have something that seemed decent, but now its top 100 list is based on “authority,” and seems pretty inaccurate.
Why would you want to measure the top blogs?
I’m sure a lot of people would like to refer to the list to find the biggest blogs in the world. If the list included more than the top 100, up-and-coming bloggers would probably like to use the list to measure their own progress and set some goals (being able to say you run a top 100 or even top 10,000 blog would be pretty cool).
Plus, it would satisfy a lot of curiosity.
If you have ideas for how to measure the top blogs, I’d love to hear them in the comments. I’ll give you my two cents here first.
First, how do you define “blog?”
Let’s start by defining “blog.” I’ve found that people have very different definition of what constitutes a blog. To me, The Huffington Post and Engadget are both blogs. To other people, a blog is something run by one person. To others it’s something like a personal diary.
Blogs have evolved over the past ten years quite a bit. What started out as a way to share your thoughts or personal details online has turned into a flexible format that can support many different uses.
What defines a blog today? There are elements common to most blogs. The ability for readers to leave comments and entries posted in reverse chronological order are typical features of blogs. Although some blogs have neither of these features.
Blogs are usually thought of as being distinct from mainstream media as well, even though the subjects covered on blogs overlap with traditional news and magazines.
Let’s define a blog like this.
A blog is a website frequently updated (often daily or weekly) with content (typically text, but often photos, videos and art) maintained by an individual or group of people. Content is typically posted in reverse-chronological order, and readers usually have the ability to leave comments on each post.
Blogs are obviously not static websites, and they aren’t online services, but they cover most everything else. Is the New York Times website a blog? Probably not, but it fits much of our definition. I’ll let you decide that and tell me in the comments.
How are blogs and websites measured today?
I mentioned that Technorati maintains a list of the top 100 blogs, although I find it inadequate.
Sites like Alexa and Compete measure the popularity of websites, but they don’t distinguish between sites and blogs. Also, I’ve talked before about how those services are skewed in favor of sites with certain types of audiences.
There are various lists of top blogs in certain categories (like the Advertising Age Power 150 list of top marketing blogs), but I don’t know of anything that measures all blogs, and does it well.
How wold you measure the top blogs in the world?
There are two things to consider when coming up with a way to measure the top blogs. First, what would the ideal way to measure “top blogs” be, and second, what data is actually available or could be captured.
On the ideal measurement front, obviously actual visits/pageviews or total time on site would be good starting points. RSS subscribers used to be a decent measurement, but Feedburner has been on the fritz lately.
There are other measures like inbound link popularity or influence on other blogs that you might want to consider.
But there’s the question of what data is actually available that you have to consider. You can’t just look up actual visitors/pageviews and other data easily, because it isn’t public.
Maybe that’s why a decent list hasn’t been created so far.
In practical terms, you would have to rely on existing data, and probably come up with a composite measurement that considers multiple factors. The Advertising Age list does this, and looks at about five different factors to come up with an overall score.
Why do I care about this so much?
Mostly I care for curiosity’s sake. A site that measured this well could become popular on its own, so maybe there’s an opportunity here for someone.
Also, maybe I’d like to build a top 1000 blog myself and have no decent way of measuring that right now 😉
So what do you think? How would you measure the top blogs in the world? Would you like a list like that to exist? How do you define the word “blog” in the first place? Let me know in the comments.
photo by S@Z