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Niche Top Blog Lists

Posted By Darren Rowse 31st of August 2005 Blogging Tools and Services 0 Comments

I think Robert Scoble is onto something when he says that having a single ‘top blog’ type list is pretty useless. He writes:

‘The whole concept of a single list is just stupid and doesn’t add any value.

The thing is there isn’t a single blogosphere. There are thousands of blogospheres. What I want is a list for each blogosphere. For instance, scrapbooking is a big deal, according to Technorati. There are 36,218 posts about scrapbooking. Tons of ads too.

But, quick, look at Technorati for Scrapbooking and tell me who the most linked-to blog is in that blogosphere. Or, tell me who has the most traffic. Or tell me which link has been clicked the most times….’

While I wouldn’t say it doesn’t add ANY value (on a big picture level it shows where the activity in blogging is and its helped me find some pretty interesting new blogs) – I agree that one single list isn’t as useful as many smaller lists would be. I know if someone were to put together the type of lists that Robert is talking about I’d be frequenting them quite a bit – not just to know who is ‘hot’ – but as a source of information.

Of course I’m the most un-techie person you’ll ever meet and don’t know what such lists would involve to code – but as an idea it’s something I’d love to see happen.

I’m still not going to argue against lists like technorati’s top 100 or feedster’s top 500 but I think a variety of lists would be great.

What lists would you like to see? – Add yours (serious and humerous) in comments below.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • The Long Tail Blog has a very good post on this subject.

    I’d like to see lists about tech subjects like blogging, AdSense, etc. Yours should be on top of the blogging one and JenSense should be on top of the AdSense one.

  • For guys like me that try to track traffic to entirely non business, non technical topics, it can be a major pain to use most of the modern services. All the “popular” lists are swamped with endless variants on the same themes, either “technical current events” or “how do I make money with my blog”? Technorati has a tagging system, and I tag all my stuff with “Shakespeare.” But I end up owning that category, which ironically is not what I want, because I want to find stuff that I don’t already have. So I’m stuck doing plain text search for Shakespeare wherever I may find it, and 90% of the time it’s a bad hit because it’s some random article where somebody drops in a “As Shakespeare said…”

    I’ve love to find an audience for “top 100 shakespeare blogs” or literature or theatre or any other category that is more meaningful to me, that rules out the tech/current events/business stuff that’s just entirely non relevant.

  • The answer to “How difficult is it to code” is that it’s both easy and difficult.

    The easy part is this: if you are Google or Netcraft or Alexa or Pubsub or anyone else who thinks they know how popular blog A is compared to every other blog you know about, then it’s simple to filter a list by some category and return the results in popularity order.

    But the problem is the categories. Is the site about X or Y? If I think it’s about Y and you think it’s Z but the guy who writes it thought he was focusing on M, what’s it really about?

    And does it matter? Do I give a rat’s patootie who the “top blogger” in any category is? Honestly, not very much. If it’s MY category I will want to study succesful pages, but that’s the only reason – I’m not into hero worship..

  • There’s no real reason why it would be impossible to have something like that from a scripting point of view.

    I’m not a scripting type person either but we have a couple of guys who write custom scripts for us so I’ll rattle their cage if you’re interested.

  • Blogs can also have multiple identities. A blog might be very strong on a single topic that only a few folks are interested in, & therefore be a big blog in a small sphere, whilst also commenting less definitively on bigger issues, & taking a peripheral place in a larger sphere.

    There’s a social aspect to this too. Regular readers, commenters and subscribers form a sphere of sorts that has a great deal to do with how a site develops from day-to-day.

  • Reminds me of Venn Diagrams – the “big spheres” and “small spheres”. That certainly would me a cool visual representation of the blogosphere. You could create a site that lets you “drill down” into the blogosphere and see individual “spheres” and how they’re connected. Picture tagging w/ pictures. Alas, but I have no time to implement it. Anyone that does, send me royalties when you do ;)

  • Scoble is right on the mark with niche rather than general lists – although wouldn’t it be great to get listed in those general lists (which usually are compiled by well-known outlets) … just for the free publicity.

    But, really, many niche lists should be the go. I can think of a million and one niche lists – how far down do we want to go … “Top 100 I-Hate-Microsoft blogs” or “Top 100 How–to Make Money- From-Home-With as-Little-Effort-As-Possible” blogs” or how about “Top 100 Longest-Podcasts-With Nothing to-Say” Blogs.

    But thern again say in my example. I write about internet home business: I have a range of categories – what list would I be in?

    What could be better is if respected bloggers (ie: after you have developed a good reputation and people are actually interested in what you have to say) provide us with their “Best of….” links on niche topics in their fields.

    In a scripting sense, this should be a breeze for a Technorati, Feedster or even a Google or Yahoo!

  • kim

    You betcha, Darren. I’m in a niche not unlike scrapbooking (though scrapbooking is more popular in N. America), and it seems like every month a new, popular crafts blogger is publishing a book or going on a book signing tours or just generally getting lots of attention and making good money. Many of them started out as bloggers, not authors, and it’s really fun to watch it happen. So, yeah. Everything’s relative. :)

  • I write a blog that’s aimed at a niche within a niche, so I’d be all in favor of some “top in your niche” lists. ;) I think Martin’s idea above — respected bloggers’ “best of” lists — is also excellent. That would provide meaningful exposure with a dose of context, which the big lists just don’t do.

  • Pat

    I would love to see a list of Dog Blogs, since that is the subject of my blog. Rather than a list of “top” blogs, I would like to see a review of them. I have even thought of doing this myself, but am not sure if it would be too much work. You have no idea how many blogs about dogs there are until you start looking for them!

  • Well, there are some sites like blogtopsites that attempt to do this, though it is up to the authors to add themselves to the list. It would be nice to have some group of someones go out there into the universe and categorize and review every blog in some nifty way. But I think the problem is that since blogs can evolve and don’t necessarily have to stay to one subject or area, and it isn’t really feasible to actually monitor the content of millions of blogs every day, it’d be quite difficult to do successfully Someone would have to devote quite a lot of resources to building the infrastructure and publicising such a beast.

  • I told Scoble about the BoB Awards at, soon to be at and that is how you find your genres and the best in a niche


  • The only problem I see is that if the niches are very specific the list is going to be very small anyway. Which isn’t a bad thing if you are trying to say “Here are 10 sites dealing with this topic”, but if you are trying to say these are the “top 10 sites” and there are only 11 to choose from, it borders on the meaningless.

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  • does anybody know where I can find a list of the top travel blogs?