Bloggers – Just Ignore The Blog Rankers – Use Your Own Metrics

by Mike Holman

Daniel from Sweating the Big Stuff recently wrote an excellent analysis on various blog rankers.

A blog ranker is a site that attempts to distill various unrelated blog statistics into one magic number, by which blogs can be ranked.  Some well known rank sites are at Fire Finance, WiseBread, MoneyCrashers and Yakezie.

I think this effort is completely futile for a number of reasons:

  1. There are different uses for these rankings – readers might look certain stats when evaluating new blogs to read. Advertisers likely look for other stats. Bloggers will give weight to stats that are important for their own goals.
  2. Lack of data – As Daniel points out in his post, the data collection is not consistent and not updated.  This isn’t necessarily the fault of the rank sites either.

Check out Daniel’s post for all his criticisms of the various rankings. They are spot on. The only one I disagree with is the Yakezie ranking – this is the worst ranking because it includes a 50% weighting for Yakezie.com activity. This is silly. If you want to rank community activity, create a separate index – don’t ruin what potentially could a good ranking system by including unrelated data. This is like ranking pro athletes for your fantasy league by their on-field stats as well as their locker-room demeanor and how much they give back to the community. Makes no sense at all.

I will say that one feature I like from the blog rankers is that you usually can sort the table by a specific metric.  For example if you want to sort by RSS, you can do that.

What ranks should bloggers look at?

Bloggers should stay away from arbitrary 3rd party rankings – you just don’t know if the data is accurate or if the ranking formula matches the stats you are interested in.

All the rankings are based on basic measurements like traffic, links etc. My suggestion – pick your own direct metrics and just monitor them – Is RSS important to you? Then keep an eye on your RSS number. Is search engine traffic important? – fine, monitor that.

As for comparison – how helpful is it to see your rank on a list with 599 other blogs? I think you are better off comparing numbers (including $$) with similar blogs. If you have been blogging for 12 months and are pulling in $300/month, that’s great.  If your friend who started at the same time is making $600 – that number is relevant. Comparing numbers with a blogger who’s been at it for 3 years or in a different niche is pointless.

My suggestion for the Yakezie group

From Daniel’s post, it appears that the Yakezie group came up with their own ranking in an effort to woo advertisers. This is a worthwhile reason, but advertising deals for individual blogs take a lot of effort.

I suggest that you guys look into setting up a CPM ad network. The Canadian financial blogs have such a network, and I can tell you that it works quite well. Having one person negotiate with a company to sell impressions for a CPM network is far more efficient than individual deals or even group deals.

Big companies don’t want to work with little websites – it’s just too much work. This is why affiliate programs like Commission Junction are popular – a big company can work with one company (CJ) and CJ will provide an interface to hundreds or even thousands of blogs.

If you have a group of small blogs with one representative, then you have a lot more leverage with companies who wish to reach a larger, specific audience.

Nobody will get rich off it, but as I wrote previously – if you write about topics that aren’t good with Adsense and affiliates, it’s hard to make any money. A CPM ad with an Adsense or affiliate backup is a win-win situation.

Summary

  • Blog rankings are probably useful for someone – but not for bloggers.
  • Understand why you are blogging and what stats you want to improve on.
  • Monitor those stats and compare to your peers.

{ 7 comments }

1 Daniel

One thing advertisers (who care mostly about authority among search engines, and who will pay for links) care most about is mozRank and PageRank, so it’s not so much about who has the best blog, but about these factors that someone who’s saying ‘which is the best blog’ won’t care about.

2 Rachelle

Technorati really sucks because it makes 0 sense, I rank 1 for Real Estate and over 500 for personal finance. and 478 over all until last week when it went down to 100 or so. It’s a giant waste of time and I got about 10 visits one day from them.

Traffic is up, subscribers are up, but Technorati went down 400%. Losers.

3 Tax Guy

Mike,
How do you compare stats to your peers? I’ve tied Alexa but the data is not reliable.

4 Evan

It is hard for me to ignore those lists because advertisers don’t ignore the lists

5 Mike

@Daniel – You are right that some advertisers, especially text link buyers will look at PageRank.

@Rachelle – I’ve heard that Technorati mainly measures tech sites and just isn’t all that applicable to everyone else.

@Even – Good point. Is it just text link buyers that use the rankings? Or other advertisers as well?

@Tax Guy – I think the main stats that I have compared with peers were pageviews, visits and $$/month. :)

6 Evan

@Mike,

I don’t know, but I would have to suspect that all advertisers check out WB’s top 100

7 Financial Samurai

Hi Mike,

Thanks for highlighting the Yakezie is the worst ranking in your opinion. That’s actually the way I want things to be, and it’s understandable since you aren’t on it. It’s a network which once you’ve gone through a 6 month Challenge, you get in, so there’s is a high barrier to entry. The Belts of Honor system is a way to recognize further the best personal finance blogs on the web.

Nobody knows how much activity and income is generated via our private forums outside of the network, and that’s just the way we like it.

Cheers, Sam

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