Is there a critical mass that a blogger has to reach before he or she can say that they have joined the ranks of the most popular blogs?
After all there are so many damn blogs out there. Blogs for every area of life; whether it is excellent ones about the weirdness of life (Boing Boing and my favorite Zero Boss are just two) to technology blogs of all flavors much like WinExtra. It is a number that is constantly shifting as new blogs come online and old ones die or lay forgotten. By Technorati accounting they are tracking some 66 million blogs.
That’s a lot of damn blogs for anyone to consider let alone try and rise to the cream of the top – the Technorati A-List; but it doesn’t stop there. There is one level even within the A-List that is like blogger nirvana – the Technorati 100.
After all even by the Technorati breakdown; best explained here at Kindera’ Blog, the A-List itself is a monster when placed against the vast number of blogs world-wide:
The Very High Authority Group [A-List Bloggers] (500 or more blogs linking in the last 6 months)
In the final group we see what might be considered the blogging elite. This group, which represents more than 4,000 blogs, exhibits a radical shift in post frequency as well as blog age. Bloggers of this type have been at it longer – a year and a half on average – and post nearly twice a day, an increase in posting volume of over 100% from the previous group. Many of the blogs in this category, in fact, are about as old as Technorati and we’ve grown up together. Some of these are full-fledge professional enterprises that post many, many times per day and behave increasingly like our friends in the mainstream media. As has been widely reported, the impact of these bloggers on our cultures and democracies is increasingly dramatic.
So to pull the top 100 out of that much noise is an incredible feat especially when you consider it is all based on one simple thing – links. Take for example Engadget at number one spot who has 26,271 blogs that link to it within the last 6 months. From there you head to the bottom of the 100 and find it currently occupied by Robert “Mr. Blogger” Scoble who only has a measly 3, 177 blogs linking to him.
With linking being the key you get a lot of bloggers offering their Best Of methods for getting and giving links much like you would find on John Chow’s site, all for the purpose of trying to rise above the din of the blogosphere.
While much is made of playing the linking game and having quality content the chances of making it as a professional blogger is a daunting task. Much more daunting when you realize that the A-List is not the end all be all of blogging; because as even the Technorati ranking show you can be one of the 4,000+ A-Listers but that doesn’t equate with being popular.
So what does it really take to reach that critical mass that once reached you find yourself in the realm of popular blogs?
Is it just the number of links; which really considering the flotsam of junk blogs out there playing the linking game makes that part questionable. After all just how many of those 26,000+ links that Engadget has are value added links in contrast to garbage links.
Could being popular mean having your content, your ideas being mentioned consistently much like Dave Winer or Stowe Boyd. Or could it being involved on a regular basis in comments conversations with the likes of Mathew Ingram (a fellow Canuck) or John Calacanis.
As I crawl my way toward the B-List I think about and read much of what is written about promoting oneself and gaining links; but I think one can walk a very fine line between providing value in one’s backlink and becoming a link slut. Personally I think it is better to take the longer road, have people talk about your thoughts, pass your ideas around and give value to your link worth.
Better to be a Katherine Hepburn of links than a Paris Hilton; after all popularity can be longer lasting; and be more rewarding, when you add something to the conversation than it is when you are looking to add links like trophies on a wall.
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