Reading stats for the Guardian's blogs – but incoming links more important, says McIntosh

• January 6, 2007 • Comments (3)

On his blog, Neil McIntosh, head of editorial development at Guardian Unlimited, offers some usually secret statistics of blog traffic at the Guardian.

blog traffic of 1.2m page impressions in December 05 grew to a record 7.1m pages in July 06 as the World Cup and troubles in the Middle East sparked lively discussion across our sites. Despite the huge flows of users, and the inevitable problems a minority of users can bring, the quality of the debate has been strong. Although numbers are rarely made public, I suspect our blogs are second only to the BBC’s in terms of user numbers.

McIntosh argues, though, that traffic is less important than attention from other bloggers, something I agree with. By measuring incoming links, the Guardian gets a first place among media blogs in the UK. McIntosh boasts a bit:

Technorati records more inbound links to Guardian blogs in the last 180 days than to any of our UK rivals – Comment is free, by itself, gets more links from the blogosphere (12,027 at time of posting) than the Times, Telegraph and BBC blogs combined (a total of 11,552 at the time of posting). Our other blogs do even better (17,128 links).

The important bits come in the next paragaph of McIntosh’s post – which is based on a piece he’s written for the Press Gazette – though:

But let’s not get too smug. For all the success we’ve enjoyed, the fact is blogs are the horseless carriages of social media, when fleet-footed rivals are already cranking out Model Ts. Social news sites such as Digg and Newsvine show how users don’t just want to talk about the news – they’d quite like to decide what it is, or add to it because they happen to be experts in the subject at hand.

Yep, that’s right… It’s good for the Guardian that McIntosh sees this. In offering their readers blogging tools, the Guardian could reach even further. True, the staff blogs and the Comment is free initiative (a collective group blog for a number of regular columnists from the Guardian and Observer, but also other people, most of them well established though) are pretty good, but they are still written mainly by journalists, and that is playing a different ballgame than the one that will be played in the media at large in the years to come. Even if comment IS free (well, you have to register to comment, but that’s reasonable I think), it doesn’t allow j random user to bring attention to whatever is on her or his mind. Only through reader blogs can you achieve this.

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  1. Pelle Sten says:

    Or by allowing your readers blogs to be shown on the site or found via the site. The media company doesn’t have to control the blogs, just that improper content doesn’t get displayed on the site.

  2. Yes, that’s also true. The main thing is to bring the readers’ initiatives into the site.
    Though the advantage of actually providing a blogging platform is that you get those initiatives that aren’t part of the mainstream media newsflow much closer to home, and it’s a bit less likely that the news editors miss them.
    Unfortunately lots of newsdesks don’t cover much of the blogosphere. Though that will need to change too.

  3. Pelle Sten says:

    “Unfortunately lots of newsdesks don’t cover much of the blogosphere. Though that will need to change too.” For sure.

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