Image source: Logic + Emotion
A list of the 50 Most Influential Blogs in Malaysia (based on technorati ranking) has just been released, and has caused some stir in the local blogosphere.
I’m flattered to be included on the list – #21 overall (and #3 in the technology segment), but that’s not the point of this post. What’s interesting here is the heated debate going on about how the rankings are decided, and what constitutes a blog’s ‘influence’.
What is blog influence?
Dictionary.com defines influence as “the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others”. So it is fair to say a blog’s influence can be measured based on the level of success in accomplishing the aforementioned. Also, blog influence does not equate to blog popularity – though both factors are often closely related.
Everyone’s an influencer
“The barriers to publishing online are so low right now”
“Do you think that AOL ever thought Vincent Ferrari was an influencer? I’m guessing they never even knew the guy existed until it was too late.”
“With sites like YouTube, MySpace and Digg that have audiences of millions of people that are reachable at anytime, all one needs to do is shout through the megaphone and people will hear it, loud and clear.” –via Pronet Advertising
You could say, that since the explosion of social networking on the web, no one is really too small to create a stir.
The image (from the Logic + Emotion blog) on the top of this post from demonstrates the ripple effects and relationships blogs have among one another. If you look at the tier 4 bloggers (<100 links), even they have some small amount of pull on other more influential sites.
How do you measure your blog’s influence?
1. From the actions that result outside the blogosphere
There’s a real world out there, and the most influential blogs can have an impact on many aspects of life for example:
- Purchase decisions (eg. Engadget)
- Voters (eg. Lim Kit Siang)
- Governmental Policies (eg. Education In Malaysia)
- Business practices (eg. Manager Tools)
- Attitudes and Approaches to Life (eg. Lifehack)
The more real life decisions it has an effect on, the more influential it is. For example, many early adopters rely on sites like Engadget to give the thumbs up for a new gadget. Many gadgets live and die on a review from these A-list blogs. Does your blog inspire action?
2. Whether or not you reach your target audience
The more focused your niche is, the easier to build up credibility in that niche, and the more influential you become. Trying to appeal anyone and everyone would simply make a blog lose focus.
- Track the keywords for the search queries which people use to arrive at your site. Are they closely related to your site’s overall theme?
- Track the time visitors spend on your site and the number of pageviews per visitor. They may have visited your site, but are they finding it interesting enough to browse through?
3. Number of people who talk about your ideas
Sign up for Technorati, and check your ranking. The more people who bother to talk about you blog, the more influential you probably are. Incidentally this was how the Top 50 Most Influential Malaysian Blogs were ranked.
4. Influence of the people who talk about your ideas
Does your site show up on A-list blogs from time to time? Have a look at the ripple effects of an A-list blog and you’ll note the significant effect they have in driving traffic and additional backlinks into your site. The more often you appear on their sites, the more influence your blog wields.
5. Number of people who want to keep listening to your ideas
Anyone can visit your site, but how many care enough to be notified when new updates are presented? To me, a feed or email subscriber is like a thumbs up for the work I do. The larger your feed count, the more people care about your ideas, and the more influence your blog has.
Those are my top 5 – What other factors would you consider?