One of the hardest decisions a writer makes is “who to write for,” also known as your audience. For this blog I have chosen to assume that my readers are smart rather than dumb, well-educated, and interested “good” stories (not controversy and bad-mouthing).
Sarah Lacy wrote an interesting piece on the audiences that both the Huffington Post and Bleacher Report have catered to. Made even more scintillating because both blogs are the only ones to sell for hundreds of millions of dollars:
Huffington Post bifurcated its site between very high end content — celebrities who didn’t blog anywhere else, and more recently very highly paid poaches from organizations like the New York Times– and the rest. Pulitzer Prize material and photos of kittens. The two might seem like they don’t belong on the same site. But having high notes and low notes, is far more effective (and only half as soul crushing from a journalism point of view) than a site that maximizes just for the middle of the spectrum– which is far more common in professional blogging.
I like to think that I come down somewhere above the middle, just short of Pulitzer Prize material.
Does that mean I need a few more animated gifs of kitties?
WordPress is no doubt a very popular web publishing platform for blogs and other types of websites. But just how popular is it?
We just completed a study and found that WordPress is in use by 48 of the top 100 blogs in the world. This is an increase from the 32 we recorded three years ago.
Other developments since then include that custom blog publishing platforms are more common now, TypePad has all but disappeared from the top 100, Tumblr has made an entrance, and some companies really don’t want to spill the beans about what solutions they use.
more details about the top 100 blogs - Pingdom
The next five most popular blogging platforms are (number of top 100 blogs using them):
- Custom (14)
- Movable Type (7)
- Drupal (6)
- Gawker (5)
- Blogsmith (4)
And, the full list:
Over the past several months, I’ve had the unique opportunity to watch my partner-in-crime focus on building 1X57 as a blog.
Starting in July, Steve began blogging full-time for 1X57, producing content on a daily basis, focusing on what he loves and finds interesting, which includes topics such as surfing, comics, big data, and more.
It’s been a fascinating process to witness, especially since it’s been more than just SEO or creating catchy titles. His focus has been on improving the quality of his writing, learning to be a journalist, mastering web publishing and connecting with audiences who care about the things he cares about. Not to mention growing his social media prowess.
And it’s working.
Back in November 2010, we had 295 unique monthly views. By August 2011, the site has grown to receive almost 47,000 monthly views, over 150x growth…
…which is significant for us, since the growth we experienced in our first two years (starting with our initial post in November 2008, through November 2010) increased from only the 10′s to the 100′s for monthly views.
If you’re interested in hearing more about @robotchampion‘s journey from zero to blog dominance, please vote for his SXSW 2012 talk, “Blogging isn’t dead, it just went professional.”
I promise you, he won’t disappoint.
NOTE: Voting ends tomorrow, Friday, September 2, 11:59 CDT.
I wanted to like BlogHer. I did. A conference about blogging for women. I’m a woman. I’m a blogger. Perfect.
But as a first-time conference goer, I found myself unable to tap into the enthusiasm many attendees seemed to genuinely possess.
Maybe it was the fact that in almost every session I attended, someone in the audience asked what SEO is (I’m not saying this is bad, it just illustrates there were a lot of newcomers to the web and blogging in attendance). Or maybe it was every woman I met (who were all friendly and welcoming) happened to be a “mommy blogger.” Or it could have been the Expo Hall felt way too much like a 1950s cliché, dominated by packaged/prepared food, cleaning supplies and kitchenware vendors. Or it could have just been that unlike many of the women who were repeat attendees reuniting with friends, I was out of my geographic comfort zone without a posse to hold court with. Whatever the case, I didn’t fall in love the experience.
In BlogHer’s defense, I don’t typically go gaga for conferences (with the exception of my maiden voyage to SXSW), for the same reason I don’t like smorgasbords: a lot of broad, general content, without a lot of nuance and quality. While the speakers I heard from were knowledgeable, it felt like too often, they catered to the lowest common denominator. Not really the speaker’s fault, more a consequence of the format, but less than satisfying for me nonetheless. Perhaps if there were beginner, intermediate and advanced tracks, this would have been less of a problem. And perhaps if I had gone to any of the parties (I heard the parties are a big part of BlogHer’s appeal), I would have gotten more out of the networking aspect. But I didn’t. And I also didn’t go nuts for the swag. I heard a lot of women talking and tweeting about the swag. I’m not really a swag kind of gal.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention one obvious aspect of the conference…men (or lack thereof). I missed them (although there were a few in attendance). As someone whose been one of a handful of woman at similar-sized conferences comprised of mostly men, it feels unnatural to me to have just one gender talking about issues and content that are not gender specific. My motivation for going was to increase my knowledge of blogging. The fact that I’m a woman was secondary.
So while I understand the value of BlogHer, whose mission since 2005 has been “to create opportunities for women who blog to gain exposure, education, community and economic empowerment,” I’m more interested in focusing on the blog over the her.
To each her own.
This week TechCrunch launched a new design for their site and Michael Arrington, the founder, posted links to the previous designs. Which gives us a unique chance to see the evolution of blog design from 2005 to 2011.
Screenshots of all four changes are provided below and here are the big changes I noticed, what did you see?
- Ads – most dramatic change, in number (1 ⇒ 8 ⇒ 10 ⇒ 1) and size (wide banner is gone).
- Admin links – like categories, search, about, have steadily moved up the site, now resting on the very top.
- RSS – went from prominent placement to completely missing.
- Content – hasn’t changed, except for picture on left and title font growth.
- Sidebar – the eternal experimental space with the site going from sidebars at dual surround, dual right, thinner dual right, and single right.
*TechCrunch runs on WordPress*
2011 – my screenshot
2008 – Digital Inspiration
2006 – CrunchNotes
2005 – Michael Arrington on Flickr