Most Popular Blogs

“Which blogs are the most popular?”

It’s a question I’ve started hearing again lately, especially as many of my work colleagues have begun experimenting with social media. This is an unanswerable measurement question, just like for analyst relations or marine terminal gates.

To try to answer the question, many people cite Technorati’s Top Blogs (original link gone) as a ranking of blog traffic. Only it’s not.

Technorati’s top 5 ranked blogs as of Feb 1, 2010 are as follows:

The Technorati Authority metric is based on the number of inbound links to a site. While this is a reasonable proxy for influence, it’s not necessarily the same thing as traffic. (Although I admit there may be a loose correlation.)

So what are the most popular blogs based on traffic?

The best estimate that I can find comes from a site called eBizMBA which ranks blogs by a combination of inbound links, Alexa Rank, and U.S. traffic data from Compete and Quantcast.

According to eBizMBA, the top 5 sites are:

Of course, just because a blog is popular doesn’t mean it’s good. As an example, Time Magazine’s 25 Best Blogs of 2009 don’t include most of the ones listed above. In fact, a few of them are listed in the most overrated category.

Inbound links, traffic, and a magazine’s subjective assessment. Three different measures which can each be used to track the same thing. It’s a common performance management problem. The measurement definition is more important than the measure value.

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7 Responses to Most Popular Blogs

  1. Bob February 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Fun with semantics. What’s a blog? Worldwide, English only? Do you want to know so you can “see what the world sees” or because you want to advertise on it? Etc.

    But I commend you on saying the question is unanswerable and then providing a couple answers anyway, it’s a fabulous illustration of the quicksand.

    According to Compete, The OMG! blog has more traffic than TMZ, Gizmodo and PerezHilton *combined*. Quantcast tells a similar story. How/why anyone would use Alexa’s numbers is a mystery. Yet OMG did not make the eBizMBA list.

    Inbound links only translate to traffic if they are clicked on. 1000 spam sites that all link to me isn’t going to make me popular. If you define “most popular” as highest traffic, you probably need to refer to one or more of the big panel companies (comscore, nielsen, hitwise, compete, quantcast etc).

    Then again – old but still relevant:

  2. Jonathan February 8, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    Thanks Bob. This was indeed my point. The definition of what we’re trying to accomplish is more important than the value of the KPIs. When people say “most popular”, it’s unclear whether they mean “highest traffic” or “best regarded” or simply has wide recognition. The same issue happens every day in performance management. Does “# customers” include someone who bought a product and subsequently returned it? Does it include trial uses or only purchases? Does it count companies or invidiuals? Too often, we play fast and loose in the defintions to try to make our point.

  3. Gary Cokins February 16, 2010 at 3:34 am #


    I am glad that you raise this topic. Blogging is something I do that was not in my “day job” position description. It increasingly takes up more of my time. It is human nature to want to know “how am I doing?” At first I was wondering about the number of page views, “comments” posted, etc.

    Eventually what I realized was I have regular followers, who typically directly e-mail me. I find this to be more satisfying than knowing how I rank. It is always a pleasure to receive a “great blog today” message, and those bring a much larger smile smile to my face.


    Gary Cokins, SAS

  4. Robert E February 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    Most of the Top 10 you point out are what I would more define as the “new media”. That’s why they have the traffic.

    This may be only my definition, but I think of blogging as more individual in form. These “new media” companies are like a modern electronic newspaper with a collection of columnists that drive traffic and/or lots of interchangable contributors whose work supports the brand.

    Most of the blogs I consistently follow are a single voice. People passionate about what they do who provide wit, wisdom, and wonder in their writings.

    As someone who is still part of the “old” media – broadcasting, I can tell you that consistency and longevity have turned out to be important measures as well.

    I may not be in the top 10 in my market, but just like Gary Cokins, get a lot of satisfaction from my regular followers. Time is necessary to develop that audience, as well as being consistent with what you offer.

    If your work colleagues, experimenting in social media, are starting with measures like popularity, they may never realize any true success, because they don’t really have a compelling goal.

  5. Tuan June 1, 2010 at 11:24 pm #

    I agreed with your opinion, thank for your share about this information and This is the best way to try to make our point. If my work colleagues, experimenting in social media, are starting with measures like popularity, they may never realize any true success, because they don’t really have a compelling goal.
    This is saying of Vietnam” Where there is a will, there is a way”

  6. barrymanana June 3, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    It’s qualitative over quantitative. Anyone with an IQ marginally higher than their hat size can click on a link – it’s the content that’s important. SEO is the straight-jacket of banality. Less dullsville algorithms please!

  7. web design June 4, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    It doesn’t take long for most bloggers to realize what a freaking difficult way to monetize a blog that is! So many bloggers seem to think

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