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Popularity: How do You measure it?

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I haven't been very active in the Indian blogosphere and so missed the entire discussion over Kiruba being the No. 1 blogger in India (according to Blogstreet).  Patrix has expressed his opinion on popularity in the Indian blogosphere. He goes on to list several Indian blogs (including mine) according to their Technorati Ranking.  His post did get me thinking.

Popularity can be defined as the quality of being widely admired or accepted or sought after.  But, how does this translate in the world-wide web? How do we measure popularity? What are the various methods today? Are they reliable?


Today, a lot of methods exist for measuring popularity. One, like Patrix pointed out is, to use Technorati's Ranking.

My Technorati Rank as on Aug 11, 2006

Technorati ranks blogs based on the number of incoming links. This rank is updated several times a day and only considers active links from the past six months. As of today, Technorati tracks around 50.9 million blogs!
A point to note is that the incoming links don't just belong to posts or blogrolls, but also from credit lines (e.g. like that of my Connections Reloaded Theme).

Another method of gauging popularity is Alexa Traffic Rank.

Alexa's ranking system has been online from as far as i can remember! Alexa computes traffic rankings by analyzing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users. They have a page detailing the process.  This is a stark difference from that of Technorati. Having a higher traffic rank is a more accurate sign of your site's popularity because it measures the number of users actually visiting your site.  However, Alexa ranks can be slightly inaccurate because it depends on users of their toolbar.


Top Sites are often used to compare the popularity of blogs with one another. There are way too many top sites run by way too many people. A few well known ones are Blog Top Sites, Top100 Bloggers, RankingBlogs.com and Indian Bloggers.

While Top100 rates people on the number of votes they receive or the number of users visiting Top100 from the blog (which in my opinion is an highly inaccurate method of rating), the other three rate the blogs solely on the basis of unique visitors (i.e. traffic) which is how it should be.

Feed Subscriptions
A good way of ascertaining popularity is by looking at the number of feed subscriptions. e.g. Feedburner gives you buttons that let you display the number of subscribers to your feed.  This, however can't be a sure-shot method because you may have a lot of subscribers but no readers. Yet again, this doesn't track the actual traffic that the site receives.  Additionally, it only tracks those who have signed up for the service and put the code on their site.

No. of Comments
Visitor interactivity in terms of number of comments that the posts receive is another way to find out how popular a blog is. This can also be further used to determining visitor loyalty to understand how many repeat commenters are present. And yet again, this isn't the best way, because you could have a lot of visitors who love reading your blog but would not want to comment on it.

To conclude there are several ways to determine blog popularity. However, all of these methods may not give the same results. So which method should we actually adopt?

Give me your opinion.
Which method would you use from the above?
Do you have still another way of measuring blog popularity?
Or have do you believe that since your blog is personal, you don't really care about how popular it is?

And just a note to us Indian bloggers. Let's quit the squabble about who is No. 1 in the Indian blogosphere and look beyond. There is a whole world of bloggers out there.

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About Ajay

Ajay is an investment banker by profession and a die-hard blogger by passion. He is the owner and chief editor of Techtites. In his free time, he also blogs at AjayDSouza.com, authors a few WordPress plugins and operates Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Well then I stand chastized…

  • Very true about how you put it Snarkattack. Personal appreciation does help a lot in satisfying our ego at times 🙂

  • Ajay,

    I came across your article here via Google Alerts.

    Personally, I don’t blog. Most anyone I know doesn’t blog. Haven’t found much use for blogs, today. The 2005 Blog Awards showcased a few blogs of which most were fairly useless. I think one young lady blogged about her wart on her thumb.

    I guess you guys think that that’s measurement of popularity? Warts? She won an award!

    In the history of blogging, I’d say the MOST POPULAR and MOST FAMOUS is Leonardo da Vinci. He blogged some 5,000 journals (that we know of). Allowed comments on them and never once permitted spam (does yours?).

    I can understand keeping a journal such as Leonardo’s. It’s useful. You can read a virtual copy of one of them on the British Library’s web site. It’s cool. It’s flash. It’s interactive.

    It’s an excellent contribution. His works have been savored for centuries. Very popular!

    I believe that there are some 80 million blogs (and growing) today. None of them are popular in my world regardless of any of the means of measurement that you mentioned in your article.

    I don’t think any one of these 80 million will last forever as Leonardo’s will. I don’t think any one of them will hit the UK Library of fine literary journal (blog) content as is Leonardo’s, Michaelangelo’s and several others.

    Therefore, one VALID means of measurement (of popularity) amongst the blogging community is having your blog accepted and archived by the British Library of Fine Literary Journals.

    Kind regards,
    Al Toman

  • This is some of the points I wanted to raise Al Toman.

    Like I said, no scale to date has been able to judge popularity of any blog.

    As you mentioned, most people do not agree with the so called Blog Awards, just as many don’t agree with the Oscars.

    And one point I agree with, if persons like Leonardo or Aristotle for that matter blog, all our blogs would pale in comparison 🙂

  • You can also measure the amount of people currently on each page of your site. This gives current popularity per page, which is a unique statistic useful in news sites, blogs and shopping sites.