Ranking blogs

New to this blogging game, I’m interested in Tumeke‘s rankings for New Zealand blogs.  In an ego-maniacal (murahahahahahahah) way, in a what is out there worth reading way, and in a how the hell do you work that out way.  Tim Selwyn uses a formula incorporating traffic, unique visitors, comments and number of posts to determine rankings.

Then I stumbled across Scrubone at Halfdone, doing a similar job based on Alexa rankings (whatever the hell that means, no please don’t explain, I’m good with the ignorance).

And finally, Bill Bennett has put together a ranking of NZ blogs using WordPress – apparently less popular than Blogspot.  He has Homepaddock nudging out the top spot for wordpressers – but H/P argues in the comments that because the two blogs immediately below – Dimpost and Poneke – receive more comments, they are probably more popular.

This made me wonder about my blog – because everyone knows sometimes you write something you’re really happy with, and it feels like the blogosphere doesn’t notice.  Other times you write a drunken-off-the-cuff rant (well, other bloggers do I’m told) and something in it fits for other people.  Weird. 

So I checked out the 7 most popular posts I’ve made, with comments, to see if there is any correlation.  Chosen the random number of seven because these posts are far and away the most read.

The two most popular posts I’ve written by far are one on the Maori seats and democracy (0 comments) and one on shorthand not working very well for Maori words (2 comments).  First post lots of links in to it from quite a range of countries and types of site, second none that I know of, but lots of search engine traffic.  So popularity = comments not really true for these two.

Next five are a cluster of posts about rape being called sex (1 comment); wellington central election candidates and gender equality (1 comment); false rape allegations (14 comments); kiwi names (2 comments); and women in NZ political parties (2 comments).  These posts (barring the kiwi names one) have in common links in from various feminist carnivals, but with the exception of the false rape allegations comments – which were mostly interesting and thought provoking with one slippage into just plain nasty – again, comments pretty thin on the ground.

So with the exception of the false rape allegations post, my most read posts are not particularly well-commented upon, no more so than less read posts.  I’m kinda interested in this – some sites have a huge number of commentators – so I wonder what makes that more likely, if it’s not just popularity?  Writing style maybe?  I sometimes get messages sent to me via comments or email about a blog which I’m asked not to publish, so I don’t – these tend to be of the “you go girl” variety mostly.

Be interested to hear from other bloggers what their experiences are.

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13 thoughts on “Ranking blogs

  1. I use Google Analytics to see how many hits I have, what they hit and where they came from. GA shows a steady increase, month-on-month, since I started blogging last March. My own blog is a bit of a dog’s breakfast. I don’t talk only about politics or only about New Zealand. I talk about tech stuff, too, like Linux and cell phones and video editing…..and they get a lot of hits globally. NZ has some great political and current events bloggers…and I’m not one of them. I don’t hav the time. But that doesn’t mean I have nothing to say. 🙂

    If you want more hits, make te rounds of the other blogs, say clever things…and people will check you out. they have to find you SOMEHOW…and that’s one way. If you want, could “stalk” the most popular blogs (as some do) and be one of the very first commenters…..most likely to be read and responded to. I don’t do that. If I get there early, it’s blind luck. If I comment on Russell Brown’s blog, I’m usually page 7….while Crag Ranapaia will usually be among the first 5 commenters most days (for exmaple).

    I’m reading your blog. Maybe not every day and not every post…..but there you are. That’s life.

  2. On other comment. I don’t moderate coments other than to delete ones I find REALLY objectionable (or spam). The only blog I read where comments aren’t allowed is No Right Turn. I tend not to read blogs tha aren’t interested in feedback. If wanted that, I’d watch TV or read the NZ Herald.

  3. Hahaha, thanks Truth Seeker, faulty keyboard or no 🙂

    I’m with you on the not deleting comments – not really into censorship, though I’m sure at some point someone will test that. I am interested though in how rare good discussion in comments is – as opposed to mouthing off – easier when you don’t have to see the person you’re responding to eh?

    I’m not really that bothered about “driving up traffic” – I figure if I’m happy with writing it, that’s enough for me – so I comment on other’s sites when I see things I want to respond to. It’s a time thing too for me – I want to do things other than sit on the computer – much as I love reading and writing here 🙂

  4. I read this blog too, and really like it 🙂

    Re: NRT – Yeah, there were comments allowed on the site for a short period of time, but I/S changed that due to abuse. Understandable, but unfortunate, IMO.

    Personally, I used to have a strict no delete policy (except advertising spam that Akismet missed, obviously) but changed that after a couple of years – now I delete posts by a few local fascists/neo-nazis that seem to be obsessed with me. Other than that though, I leave everything (even approved a comment from dear ol’ Trevor Loudon the other day that was stuck in the spam trap).

  5. Thanks Asher, I check Anarchia out frequently too – this blogging thing can feel a little like having a good meal or beer with interesting others sometimes I reckon 🙂

    Neo-nazis commenting, nice. That’s kinda what I mean when I say I’m sure I’ll be tested on the “free exchange of ideas” ideal I have in my head so far. We’ll see.

  6. My only concern about hits is whether or not anyone (at all!) is reading the blog. If no one ever looked at it, I’d be sad and feel I was wasting my time. But as it is, I have a full busload of people reading it each day from all over….and that’s not too bad. Maybe enough to sow some seeds for the rare idea I may have that is worth transmitting onward.

    I’ll be back. 🙂

  7. FYI: the all time top posts and pages at The Standard by page views, which I tend to regard as being the most accurate. This excludes the admins who are moderating. Whereas I did a BIG hit on alexa just by turning it on while I was sysop’ing

    Top Posts & Pages

    Campaign Hub 2008 (ie election tools)
    Tax cut calculator (how much I would get)
    About (where I refer trolls to)
    Election Night Live Blogging: The Live Post
    (Julie Fairey – great job)
    Farrar back on the PS payroll?
    (stirring the blogosphere)
    The H-fee explained (news – batman / h-fee)
    Standard Scoop: Key exposed again on secret shares and Tranzrail
    (news – share transactions)
    Unacceptable (news – James Sleep)

    //=======

    Most Active – this is sort of whats been happening recently

    Class divide (protesting outside Key’s house)
    The limits to tolerance of the police
    (police spy)
    Shameful (Maori party votes)
    Gratitude (a NACT maiden speech by a jerk)
    Garth McVicar – racist (kill a tagger a day)

    Essentially we get the most active pages when the left and right engage and there is a lot of cross-linking. However these seldom get into the top posts. The DPF post being a notable exception.

    Those tend to be the things that people go back to over and over again

    //=======

    Top Searches

    the standard, standard, http://www.thestandard.org.nz, the standard nz, thestandard

    Got to love that branding… and people using google for opening the site instead of a URL.

    Have fun with that.

    • Interesting huh? Dialogue is good in cyberspace too 😉 Just checked out the top searches here, not looking like Luddite Journo is a brand to count on, shucks 🙂

  8. Traffic is something that often takes a significant period to build up, as you start to register on the search engines and build up sufficient content for your blog to have enough weight to trigger more key words in searches.

    We’ve gone through several plateaus at The Hand Mirror, where we’ve stayed at a similar level for a while with only slight increases, then hiked up a level to reach a new normal. Sometimes it’s clear why this is (like after the live election night blog at The Standard, which I guess attracted some new readers) other times I have no bloody idea why at all.

    My observation is that comments are more likely on posts where readers disagree with what you’ve written (and then disagree with each other further in the comments) or have a personal opinion to share usually along the “pet hates” line. Eg Anna’s post at The Hand Mirror about Halloween was one of our most commented on. If you can combine both of those elements, ie a post where you write vehemently about your outrage at something that it is a bit radical to disagree with, you’ll get others commenting that they agree but didn’t think anyone else thought that, while others chime in to say how stupid you are, and then they have a big scrap. To be honest I don’t think too much about all that when I write a post, I just hope it’ll get some comments so I feel like it’s been read.

    The heavier stuff I think tends to get read by people who agree and they just nod and move on, sometimes they’ll link to it from their blog, but mostly it feels like it just sunk to the bottom without creating a ripple. But that’s the stuff that gets linked in carnivals I find, or might get linked again months later by someone it resonated with. That’s always nice.

    I tend now to leave some bits out of my longer blog posts, to leave something for commenters to say, or for me to say back to them once they engage in a conversation. (And also cos brevity is not my strong suit and I need to learn to be more succint!)

    • Yeah Julie, I’ve been thinking about this post since I wrote it, and I agree with you about how and when people comment.
      I guess too I am not really into the whole slagging off comments thing – I want to encourage debate rather than provoke it I think, and I do see those as different things. At least most of the time that’s what I want 🙂
      Agree too about heavier stuff and how people respond to it – and those are my fave posts to write probably – so weird when you get a link from somewhere way out in cyberspace without direct comment. Interesting your comments on the Hand Mirror’s traffic – I agree with you about not writing for responses – but I’m often surprised at what is left unremarked upon.
      The only post I have commented on more than once elsewhere was at Jafapete, re: guest blogger defending Chris Trotter’s writing as not being “pussy”-like, unlike the rest of the intellectual left. Enough said.

  9. Sorry I’m a bit slow to post here.

    I’ve found pretty much the same. Of my top ten posts, few have any comments at all. The posts with plenty of comments don’t rank.

    Overall I get about one comment per 150 page reads.

    This doesn’t mean comments are not at all important, just not very important. Maybe things are different in the higher echelons.

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