A Review of the Top 25 Most Popular Blogs
by Hallie Janssen
In the past month or two, eBizMBA announced the top 25 most popular blogs while comScore reported the top health sites. So what do these two reports have in common? Nothing. Not one of the top ten health sites’ blog ranked in the top 25, which isn’t that surprising since only one, WebMD, has a blog. Since 55.3 million people per month visit a health site, it seems like creating a blog and RSS feeds might be a good way to gain market share and new visitors.
How does this relate to you if you aren’t a big health site? Well you might have a popular web site, but do you have a blog? If not, you might be missing out on some additional traffic and ability to gain additional market share. If you are a health site or a newcomer to blogging, you might want to look at the top 25 blogs because most of them are doing things right. Let’s take a look at some blogging best practices.
These top tier blogs are engaging, not just because we all can’t get enough of Lindsay, Britney, Hillary and the iPhone, but because they involve the reader at all levels. They ask the readers to post comments and allow them to get feeds and emails specifically for the comments. You could also use a service likecoComment to track the comments for you. They make the readers famous in other ways like asking them to be guest bloggers, moderators, take surveys or polls, and post their pictures on the blog viaMyBlogLog. They also include the most commented blog posts in the primary navigation. Successful blogs also have a great archiving and tagging system to help readers find previous posts. A good system will let you search for posts by category, day, week, and month. Search Engine Land, a top 25 blog and one of my favorites, has a great system.
Posts should be optimized for search engines and readers alike. Similar to a Web page, a post can be optimized: keyword density throughout the post, including the URL, post title, body copy, hyperlinks, and title and meta tags. And of course one topic per post. For example, when looking for information on Blackberry’s newest model (8830) the top ten search results are dominated by Gizmodo and Engaget’s blog posts. Reader-wise, the post has a catchy title – SEM’s call this “title bait”. Who wouldn’t want to read a post titled, “How to Predict You’re Going to Get Fired“, and pass along to their millions of friends via Digg. Optimized posts also have stimulating visuals such as pictures and video, and might even have regular weekly topic specific columns or two part series. Search Engine Land has weekly columns that I cannot miss.
Good bloggers build upon previous writings and hyperlink to relevant posts whenever they can. Not only is this good traffic for the blog, but it’s also good for the readers too. I can read up on related news on every post of Mashable. A recent post from Search Marketing Standard, “6 Surefire Strategies for Bringing Your Old Blog Posts Back to Life“, mentions a brilliant tactic to resurrect old blogs posts – include a “Random Post” or “Featured Post of the Day”.
Readers are encouraged to subscribe and share posts with their closest friends (or the millions they don’t know). Chicklets are included on every blog post and usually include the following top tier buttons, just to name a few: Digg, Reddit, Submit to Netscape, StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, Google Bookmark, Furl, Fark, Seed, Facebook, Blogger, Yahoo, and Technorati.
I hope this outline of blogging best practices helps you to create a successful blogging strategy or even refine your current strategy. Remember that blogs are a great way to gain additional traffic and market share. And if you are one of those healthcare sites listed in the comScore report, please feel free to contact me.