Bloggers Traffic

The world’s 50 most powerful blogs

From Prince Harry in Afghanistan to Tom Cruise ranting about Scientology and footage from the Burmese uprising, blogging has never been bigger. It can help elect presidents and take down attorneys general while simultaneously celebrating the minutiae of our everyday obsessions. Here are the 50 best reasons to log on

Read Bobbie Johnson’s blog on celebrity snooper Nick Denton here

The following apology was published in the Observer’s For the record column, Sunday March 16 2008

The article below said ‘Psychodwarf’ was Beppe Grillo’s nickname for ‘Mario Mastella, leader of the Popular-UDEUR centre-right party’, but it’s actually his nickname for Silvio Berlusconi. Mastella’s first name is Clemente and Popular-UDEUR was part of Romano Prodi’s centre-left coalition. And Peter Rojas, not Ryan Block, founded Engadget and co-founded Gizmodo. Apologies.

1. The Huffington Post

The history of political blogging might usefully be divided into the periods pre- and post-Huffington. Before the millionaire socialite Arianna Huffington decided to get in on the act, bloggers operated in a spirit of underdog solidarity. They hated the mainstream media – and the feeling was mutual.

Bloggers saw themselves as gadflies, pricking the arrogance of established elites from their home computers, in their pyjamas, late into the night. So when, in 2005, Huffington decided to mobilise her fortune and media connections to create, from scratch, a flagship liberal blog she was roundly derided. Who, spluttered the original bloggerati, did she think she was?

But the pyjama purists were confounded. Arianna’s money talked just as loudly online as off, and the Huffington Post quickly became one of the most influential and popular journals on the web. It recruited professional columnists and celebrity bloggers. It hoovered up traffic. Its launch was a landmark moment in the evolution of the web because it showed that many of the old rules still applied to the new medium: a bit of marketing savvy and deep pockets could go just as far as geek credibility, and get there faster.

To borrow the gold-rush simile beloved of web pioneers, Huffington’s success made the first generation of bloggers look like two-bit prospectors panning for nuggets in shallow creeks before the big mining operations moved in. In the era pre-Huffington, big media companies ignored the web, or feared it; post-Huffington they started to treat it as just another marketplace, open to exploitation. Three years on, Rupert Murdoch owns MySpace, while newbie amateur bloggers have to gather traffic crumbs from under the table of the big-time publishers.

Least likely to post ‘I’m so over this story – check out the New York Times’

7 Proven Strategies to Increase Your Blog’s Traffic by 206%

traffic growth

According to Hubspot, marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see a positive return on investment. But, you already know blogging is valuable, which is why you already have one.

But, if no one visits your blog article, how are you going to generate those links, or even more traffic or sales?

Don’t kill your blog yet. Instead, give it some resuscitation.

If you want reliable and qualified search traffic but don’t know where to begin, this post is going to be your best resource. Read it religiously and act on the pearls that you find.

You may already know some of the strategies, but I’m going to approach them from an entirely unique angle so you can learn how to increase your blog traffic.

Specifically, you’ll learn 7 proven strategies that I used to triple my blog’s traffic. Here’s what I’m going to teach you:

  1. Kindle Select 90-Day Traffic Plan
  2. How to create viral content
  3. How to create evergreen list posts
  4. Long-tail keyword domination
  5. Email traffic generation
  6. Twisted guest blogging
  7. Restructure your posts

Learn how I grew my search traffic by 51% in 3 months by implementing these exact tactics on NeilPatel.com.

Traffic Strategy #1: Kindle Select 90-Day Traffic Plan

Did you know that self-published books now represent 31% of e-book sales in the Amazon Kindle Store?

Consulting with Neil Patel

See How My Agency Can Drive Massive Amounts of Traffic to Your Website

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BOOK A CALL

You used to need thousands of dollars and a contract with a large publishing house to get published. That’s changed. Anyone with an idea worth sharing can be a published author within a week and, more importantly, drive a lot of search traffic to their blog.

I won’t discuss Kindle publishing in detail here (read JerichoWriters excellent guide instead), but I will show you how to drive targeted traffic and reach thousands of people for free when you publish via Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

Here’s how it works.

When you publish your Kindle book, you can enroll your book in the “Kindle Direct Publishing Select Program.”

That makes your book exclusive to the Kindle Store for 90 days and includes it in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, where thousands of targeted readers can borrow it for free. You can even run a free promotion for a paid e-book for 5 of those 90 days.

kindle dashboard

There are two simple ways to use your Kindle book to drive traffic to your blog or landing page:

  1. Link directly to your website inside the book.
  2. Use a free giveaway.

Let’s first go over how you can get search engine traffic by linking directly to your blog article site.

Author Link

The screenshot above shows how you can link directly to your blog article or website inside your book before you enroll it in the Kindle Direct Publishing Program.

This strategy alone typically sends up to 200 extra visitors to your site within 30 days.  With the right call-to-action, a top-100 ranked e-book can send you anywhere from 300 to 3,700 visitors a month.

But linking directly to your website isn’t enough to make you stand out. To get even more traffic, use your e-book as a traffic magnet by including a free giveaway … which gets us into our second method of leveraging KDP.

Steve Scott has published more than a dozen Kindle e-books and has built a huge list of targeted subscribers. His technique? Giving a freebie to book buyers. When they buy, they see a “free gift” message with two links to the author’s landing page. This is a simple and very effective technique.

Free Offer

But, that’s not all. Use Amazon’s “Look Inside” and “Download a Sample” features to give readers a free report. Add a call-to-action on page 4 of your e-book (the last page in the preview) and link this back to your landing page or blog. Every 30 previews should send about 10 visitors to a blog post.

If your book is free, expect 1,000+ visitors to your blog in about 7 days or close to 6,500 visitors per month. Free downloads make your e-book rank higher and attract the attention of your target audience in search traffic.

Traffic Strategy #2: How to create viral content

Everyone wants to create viral content, but most people fail. That’s because they don’t pay attention to the sites that successfully create viral posts, day in and day out. If they did, they would learn three secrets of viral content creation to increase blog traffic.

The first secret, which isn’t really a secret, is to write great headlines8 out of 10 people will click to read your content if you get the headline right.

This isn’t a new concept. In fact, it’s really old (like 1927-old).

Check out this ad from the roaring 20s.

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What happened? WHAT happened when he started to play?

It’s the perfect example of grabbing the reader’s attention with a little bit of storytelling. It connects with the audience — they’ve been there. They know what it’s like to be teased. They feel for the guy.

Then he starts to play and amazes the crowd. And now the reader is hooked to find out how he got so good and how they can learn just like him.

And the best part? The ad is for a free book! It’s a 1927 lead magnet.

Now, these people are more than willing to hand over their information to get the freebie and learn how to play.

This and other types of clickbait, if they are done right, play with several of your emotions: fear, greed, envy, lust.

Want to take the headlines one step further?

One study found that headlines perform the best when they are polarizing. These divide opinions. You either love it or hate it—and there’s nothing in between.

I know, I know. “Clickbait” is a bit of a dirty word. We are living in the time of “fake news.” No one wants to be swindled or tricked into clicking on something that ends up being snake oil.

But a good headline that draws readers in and encourages them to click through should be followed up by quality, truthful content. The headline may have baited you, sure. However, the product and the copy backed it up.

Like this one for Phoenix Mutual in 1929. The headline was pretty enticing, but once readers got into the nitty-gritty of the ad, they were met with real facts and figures on how they could retire on the cheap.

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The next tip is to get the length right.

Shareable posts are over 1,000 words. Longer content (try 2,500 to 3,000 words!) attracts more shares than short posts. In fact, more words means more opportunities for SEO. This means a higher conversion rate.

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But people have short attention spans, you say. Just trust me on this one. Your posts need to be north of 3,000 words.

Why? Because

  • People still haven’t caught on and are doing 500-word posts. Your beefed up blogs will stand out.
  • Longer posts are good for backlinks and organic leads, giving you lots of evergreen content.
  • You become the go-to on the topic. You did the digging and the research. Your reader can find every single thing they need to know from your post, and they don’t have to go elsewhere to supplement the info.
  • Did I mention evergreen? These posts have staying power and can be repurposed over and over again.

And, the third is to have a killer idea that is sure to go viral in social media. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Use a topic generator to generate content ideas
  3. Use Ubersuggest to generate content ideas
  4. Generate ideas from useful comments
  5. Generate ideas from reviews
  6. Generate ideas from Answer The Public
  7. Content curation for ideas

Step #1: Understand your audience

What does your audience want?

I sometimes use Quora to figure out what my audience is passionate about. All I do is type my primary keyword into the search box and hit enter to get a list of people’s most pressing questions and concerns. I get a better idea of long tail keyword phrases to help build user intent in my blog article.

Quora

Once I have a better grip on my audience and what they want, I can segment them on where they are in the sales funnel.

Because let’s face it. Only a teeny tiny portion of your site’s visitors are actually ready to buy or even make the next move. Like, less than 4% teeny tiny.

So how do you attract that staggering 96% while also nurturing the 4% at the bottom of the funnel?

You need to give each group exactly what they are looking for, based on where they are in the buying cycle.

That ice-cold, doesn’t know anything about you traffic isn’t going to sign up for a high-priced service right off the bat. You have to ease them into it. Offer them something that doesn’t require so much commitment.

Someone who has been receiving your newsletter for half a year? It’s not out of line or too soon to ask them for a little more info. Someone who just happened on your site from a paid ad? Start a little slower. Buy ‘em dinner first.

Here’s how people are typically grouped in their buyer’s journey:

Awareness: They don’t even know why they need you. Here, it’s important to fill them in on what you’ve got, get their attention, and prime them a bit to reach back out.
Consideration: Now they know they need something, and they’re looking for where to find it. Luckily you’ve already planted the seed and can follow up to try and turn them into a lead.
Decision: Now they’re a lead and will be interested in the specifics: pricing, trials, etc.

Here’s an excellent example from For Entrepreneurs:

image 23

Let’s go back to those leads for a second.

Remember that 1927 lead magnet? That works here.

  • Offer an e-book
  • Provide a webinar on some relevant topic
  • Turn your content into an email course
  • Give a checklist, etc.

Then, once you’ve assigned some offers to match the stages of the journey, make it easier for people to get from one point to the next. Take a look at how users typically travel through your site. Then, optimize those popular paths; from the landing page, to the thank you page, to the confirmation email.

You can check out Behavior Flow inside Google Analytics (or Universal Analytics).

google

Step #2: Use a topic generator to generate content ideas

If you want to engineer a viral post, you need to find out what makes other posts successful. HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator is a great tool for this. Plug in your primary search engine keyword and search.

buzzsumo 1

You’ll get a week’s worth of free topic ideas, and you can unlock a year’s worth by signing up.

Step #3: Use Ubersuggest to generate content ideas

Ubersuggest is a unique keyword suggestion tool that also helps you generate blog post ideas. Type your primary keyword into the homepage search box. For this test, I typed blogging.

ubersuggest blogging

Leave the default settings and just click “suggest.” Ubersuggest searches the entire web for related words and phrases you can use in a blog article.

Here are some examples of Ubersuggest results:

ubersuggest sites that pay

Which phrases appeal to you from the examples above? Your readers will probably like them, too. If they do, there is a good chance social media will too.

Pick a phrase and click the plus sign to see even more phrases – and get more ideas that you can research and write.

ubersuggest paying site dropdown

Step #4: Generate ideas from useful comments

I love to read blog comments. Not only is it great to connect with readers, but I’ve gotten a lot of useful content ideas from comments over the years. You can too, but you need to find comments from people who really know their stuff that help with future blog article content.

comment

The best way to find them is to visit authority blogs. Seek out expert advice to include in your posts.

For example, check out the comments on blogs like the Moz Blog shown in the example above. Commenters on those sites are usually seasoned entrepreneurs, SEOs, and content marketers whose comments provide great ideas.

A good example of a blog that is creating viral content on a consistent basis is Upworthy. Upworthy has grown rapidly, especially in its first couple of years with a whopping 88 million visitors. That’s more than Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and even Business Insider.

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Many of Upworthy’s posts are viral, and there are three reasons for their success:

  1. Curiosity-driven headlines
  2. Fewer sharing buttons
  3. A short emotional video

Look at the headline below. Does it make you want to read? Each Upworthy headline makes readers curious enough to click and read more.

upworthy

You can do this, too. Here are some typical headline templates that you can use to create magnetic, clickable, and shareable headlines designed for social media. Just fill in the blanks with your primary keyword or goal.

  • This 3-Minute Video Will Show You How To ______________
  • How a 5-Minute Video Generated ____________ Visitors In ______ Days
  • The Only Proven _______________ Technique That Works
  • 10 Weird Tricks To Get More ________________ in Just 15 Days
  • _____ Ways To Work Less Than 2-hours Daily And Still Earn $_____
  • Example: if your niche is blogging, you could write:
  • This 3-Minute Video Will Show You How To Install WordPress: The Only Proven Blogging Strategy That Works

In addition to using curious headlines, Upworthy knows that the more social media sharing buttons you have, the lower your conversion rate. Compare the screenshots below. Which would make you click?

Upworthy successfully uses limited choices to drive engagement with a blog article and improve search traffic.

Before:

share button many up

After:

share button upworthy

Finally, they tend to include emotional videos, which is an excellent way to motivate readers to get involved with your blog post topic.

Case study: Back in 2012, Michael Dubin, co-founder of Dollarshaveclub.com, created a video. He knew his audience (men) and delivered his message in an interesting and manly way, including a story and a clear way for customers to get a better shave for just $1.

Within 24 hours, that video went viral, generating thousands of paying customers and adding over 5,000 email subscribers to their list. To date, the video has over 26 million views on YouTube.

The lesson? Include video to make your content even more compelling.

upworthy video

Step #5: Generate Ideas From Reviews

What about getting ideas from your customers on what they are looking for and what content they are seeking out? Don’t have a ton of customers for this? I like to mine reviews to find out what users of similar products and services are saying.

Joanna Wiebe used this approach while working on copy for a rehab center. The topics were sensitive, and it wasn’t as easy as finding a client to ask about their story and feelings.

So, she took to Amazon to research the reviews of books that dealt with addiction and similar issues. She started pulling out key words and phrases that she saw most often and placed them into these three categories:

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She took the intel and created a new landing page for the center with a headline “If You Think You Need Rehab, You Do.” She tested this against the control headline “Your Addiction Ends Here.” The page saw a 400% jump in click-throughs and 20% more lead generation forms filled out.

Going through reviews is great for finding what’s important for your customers. You can gain a better understanding of the language they use and their pain points.

Sifting through reviews requires a smart strategy, though, and you should consider these key questions, according to Wiebe:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What solutions do I believe they want from us? What are their goals?
  • What solutions might they be using today to achieve those goals?
  • If those solutions are online, where are they?

Step #6: Generate Ideas from Answer The Public

If consumers like your content, they are going to share it and it will attract more traffic. Plain and simple.

But like I’ve already said, that content has to be relevant to the consumer. It needs to answer a question they have and give them something they need.

What do they need? Enter Answer The Public.

Much like Google’s autocomplete function in search, Answer The Public is an automated autocomplete tool that will populate tons of relevant topics based on your search.

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Now that you know what people are asking, it’s time to check who is already answering them.

A quick Google search will let you know how much the topic is being discussed. If it’s a popular one with a lot of hits, move on. Your goal here is to stand out among the rest.

You can also take that question and search it again on Answer the Public, which will give you some variations on the topic that might not have been covered.

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What does this tell you? Now you know what people are looking for and where the holes of information are. This is a great tool to produce content that is wanted but not readily available.

Step #7: Content Curation for Ideas

Take the best of the best content to share to come up with ideas. Here, you don’t have to start from scratch — you can search out what’s already out there and give it to your readers.

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Create a weekly blog with content from all over the web and publish for your readers. You’ve now taken the heavy lifting away from the reader — everything they need is right there and linked from your site.

Hootsuite does this every week with their blog and gives readers the best and most pressing social media and technology news. Here’s an example of one on content curation.

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Your blogs are up against four million new ones every single day. You can stay up day and night, tirelessly creating new content, or you can grab what’s good and reuse it.

“Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme,” according to nonprofit blogger Beth Kanter.

“The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information. A content curator cherry picks the best content that is important and relevant to share with their community.”

Why is it good for you? It’s faster. Duh. There are only so many hours in the day, and while you should be creating content, too, you can’t do it ALL the time.

Also, it works in all the same ways by building trust with the customer, promotes you as an opinion leader, and boosts your traffic.

writing time management content curation

Just make sure your content (curated or not) is sharable. If no one’s sharing it, there are probably a few mistakes you are making.

Now that you know some of the best tips, here are a few common mistakes to watch out for.

Mistake #1: You’re trading clarity for clever and cutesy

Sometimes good, well-performing content doesn’t come from the wackiest idea or concept. Chip and Dan Heath mentioned this in their 2007 book, Made to Stick.

In 1999, an Israeli research team assembled a group of 200 highly regarded ads — ads that were finalists and award winners in the top advertising competitions. They found that 89 percent of the award-winning ads could be classified into six basic categories, or templates.

The researchers also tried to classify 200 other ads — from the same publications for the same types of products — that had not received awards – and they were only able to classify 2%.

In short? Stuff that performs well follows a simple structure. It doesn’t have to break the mold. Stick with what works.

Like humor:

Search Ads Ads Gallery 23

Or a straightforward message:

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Mistake #2: You’re aren’t personalizing enough

Users want to think content and ads are just for them. This is why retargeting, automation emails, and recommendations on ecommerce stores works so well.

A good way to do that? Polarizing content. Putting something out there that people are either going to love or hate is a good way to attract the people who were going to love it in the first place.

Subtly Vegan is good at this with content that resonates with other animal advocates. A cute dog and a “please don’t eat me” tagline will attract their target audience.

Search Ads Ads Gallery 16

You can create even more appeal by showing the user how the product or service will fit into their lives. A good use case will hook a customer on the fence.

Like this one from GearBest that shows you how to be a do-it-yourself plumber.  pasted image 0 9

Mistakes # 3: You’re selling the product, not the outcome

Ever look at a Lowe’s hardware store ad? You’re not seeing drills and hammers and nails. You’re seeing what you can do with them. Look at the beautiful holiday charm you can add to your house! Check out the wreath that you so perfectly hung on the wall (with the hammer and the nails — shh!).

They know that to sell the stuff, they have to sell the end result.

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Or Zipcar. They’re selling the experience — no taxes, convenience, freedom.

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And maybe my favorite of them all — this ad for Virgin Airlines. Their customers are buying plane tickets from them. But instead, their customers get the vision of the destination. Ahhhh, Hawaii.

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But then you need a solid content strategy for all that viral content. Here’s where to start.

1. Figure out your customer/client’s pain points

The PAS marketing formula (problem, agitate, solve) works for a reason. They’ve got a problem; you’ve got a solution.

Once you identify their problem, you can show them the value add of your product or service. Give them the goods on what’s in it for them.

Where do you find out this information? Your customer. Create a survey for them so they can tell you what they want. Then, talk with specific customers to learn even more.

2. Identify your product/services benefits

If someone signs up for your consulting services, it’s because they are looking for a specific outcome that the service can provide. Step into their shoes for a minute to brainstorm what they’ll get from your product or service.

But then, go a step further. Studies show that people are extremely loss-averse. You need to identify what they will be losing if they don’t go with you.

Customers will be motivated by a variety of different factors, so get specific on all the ways the product is a benefit. By pointing out these benefits (and the loss that comes with the customer not taking the next step), you are setting yourself apart from others doing even similar work.

3. Find your messaging, categories, and structure

Your message and voice should be an extension of your brand. Mailchimp gets this — they’ve even got a dedicated website for the sole purpose of training writers on their Voice and Tone. Each person in charge of any kind of content, from emails to web copy, knows their guidelines and style.

Sometimes, that tone is that of a slightly-inebriated monkey.
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You can use your newly formed intel on pain points and benefits to inform your message. That message and each of its categories will work with the product/service benefits, and will also position you as the opinion leader in the field.

Then, make sure to give the message and its categories a format and style to uphold. Make content evergreen, prioritize flashy/splashy pieces over been-there-done-that basic ones, and create content with goals in mind.

Be sure to integrate social media into this strategy, and make the message consistent and coordinated on all channels. On Facebook, this often looks like:

  • Live, manual posts at timed intervals
  • Opportunities for engagement and interactions
  • Monthly or quarterly promotion

4. Manage the creation process

Now you need to execute to results. The whole team has to be on board and ready to carry out the strategy, and you should focus on setting up some systems to make this work.

At a minimum, you need to keep track of potential topics, assignments, and timelines.

Trello has a Calendar Power-Up for deliverables, which lets you drill down even more to see the full workflow.

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5. Make a content template that’s uniform

Creating a standardized template will help you do two things:

  1. Consistently produce high-quality work
  2. Create each article faster

Your content will be better, and your process will be more efficient — just with this one little tip!

Here’s a great outline to follow:

  1. Headline: Grab the reader’s attention using some of the headline tips above
  2. Hook/Lead: Get them interested and build anticipation with an attractive angle
  3. Problem/Context: Fill readers in on the problem and what issues it can cause
  4. Solution: Give a solution (save the day!) to fix the problem
  5. Conclusion/Wrap-Up: Summarize the key points; add a call-to-action if necessary

And although we already talked about length (long!), make sure to keep the formatting primed for distracted readers. Make the content snappy, and don’t make paragraphs too big. Informal works well, and no need for big $10 words.

Through all this scheming and strategizing, you’re not alone. Marketing leaders have trudged and trotted through it all to find best practices and tricks to make everything a little easier and more successful.

 

 

Traffic Strategy #3: How to create evergreen list posts

Evergreen list posts are another proven strategy for increasing blog search traffic. A Moz case study defines evergreen posts as “content having a continued and sustained success” and also shows that evergreen posts can generate traffic years after their original publication.

60 Second Marketer sums up the dos and don’ts of creating evergreen content in this slide:

evergreen content

So, how do you decide whether a topic has evergreen potential? There are two ways.

First, ensure that there is at least one magazine or publication on the topic/subject that you want to write a list blog post on (this reveals how popular your topic/idea is).

Go to magazines.com and type your primary keyword into the search box. I typed “marketing” and found 43 marketing magazines:

magazines

Second, assess previous list posts with evergreen potential that enjoyed social media success. Examples include:

These evergreen list posts succeeded because:

  • Each of them makes a specific promise.
  • The posts are useful and address that specific promise.

Note that with list posts, the higher the number in the title, the better. If everything else is the same, readers will be more motivated to read and share ‘35 Blogging Tips’ than ‘15 Blogging Tips’. And, odd numbers are more popular with blog article readers.

Use this information to get creative about creating your own evergreen posts. Remember, people will only click your headline if it’s inviting. Here’s how you could make the examples above even better.

Original:

  • 35 Blogging Tips To Woo Readers and Win Business

Your fresh headline:

  • 37 Fresh Blogging Tips To Woo Your Readers Right Now
  • Top 35 Blogging Tips Your Readers Need To Know This Week

Let’s rewrite the second headline.

Original:

  • 73 Cool Ways To Write Content For Targeted Traffic

Your unique headline:

  • 73 Smart Ways To Write Traffic-Sucking Blog Posts
  • 73 Simple Tricks To Write Content That Magnetically Attract Visitors

Note: Don’t copy someone else’s headline. Use it as inspiration to create a better one that speaks directly to your audience.

The cool part about this strategy is that you can also use Google to eliminate search traffic competition. Google’s search engine is still the #1 driver of leads and sales. That’s why you have to make sure that your killer idea isn’t already listed in Google’s index.

  • Step #1: Visit Google.com
  • Step #2: Plug your headline into the search box (in double quotes for an exact match).
  • Step #3: Check the results. If there are no results, there is no competition and a huge opportunity to rank well in the SERPs.

Google headline zero 1

Follow the processes outlined here, and you will always have evergreen list blog article ideas.

Other methods to try to create timeless posts that consistently generate organic traffic include:

  • Brainstorming – What problems have you been struggling with for a long time?
  • Hang out & listen – Search for relevant forums and discussion boards (Type “your niche + forums” into the search box). Register, read the threads, and look out for issues that keep popping up. Write down your findings.
  • Research – Read relevant magazines, blogs, newsletters, white papers, e-books, and copy to get the answers to those challenging questions so that you can easily create your own evergreen blog article.
  • Promote – Once you publish your evergreen list post, alert your email subscribers, share it on Facebook, and send outreach emails to your network of friends/business partners. If the post is really helpful, even industry experts will gladly share it with their networks and improve your search traffic.

For more platforms to promote your evergreen list-posts, see: 32 Ways To Make Your Blog Post Go Viral.

If you’re thinking about needing to create evergreen content but still stuck on that four million number of new blog posts every day, it’s fine. There are ways to manage your time a little more efficiently and some hacks to turn you into a copywriting machine.

First of all, never write from scratch. As Wiebe says, only rookies do that. And you’re an old pro — everyone knows that.

There are many copywriting formulas out there to make your job easier and help you piece together your content.

Like, AIDA:

  • Attention: get the reader to take notice
  • Interest: engage them in an enticing way
  • Desire: toy with their emotions (in the nicest possible way!) so they can’t resist what you are offering
  • Action: get them to take the next step

Check out this Moz lead generator that has the AIDA game down pat:

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Or the trusty PAS that I was talking about earlier.

This one gets people interested because it paints a picture of how bad life would be, and how much worse it could get, without your solution (product/service/etc). Sounds a bit dramatic, but it works.

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FAB is good, too. People want to know about the bells and whistles and why your product is better than the rest. You can do that here.

  • Features: what does the product do?
  • Advantages: how does it help?
  • Benefits: what does the product do for YOU?

Here’s an example of FAB:

pasted image 0 18

Or, start swiping. The best of the best are using swipes to pull from what works and make it new and fresh again.

Generate ideas and learn from what types of structure, keywords, and whatever else made it an effective piece. Create a swipe file, which is essentially a scrapbook of all the best marketing emails/headlines/ads you’ve come across and would like to use someday.

You can find awesome examples, both new and really old, here from Swipe-Worthy:

writing time management swiped

Or Kopywriting Kourse. Bet this envelope headline gets your attention.

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Once you’ve got the formulas and the idea repository down, it’s time to get a process going.

We know that blog posts have to be longer (because I keep telling you).

Sometimes what works best is trusting the process to help you create quality (read: stuff people will want to read and share) content in less time.

Digital Marketer’s Ad Grid is good for this. It breaks down writing into little pieces so you aren’t freaking out over looking at the process as a whole. You can use it to create taglines and hooks for each customer or client persona.

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Once you’re ready to get going, make sure you are well aware of these three things for the project: knowledge, time, and enthusiasm.

Rachel Aaron figured this out when she wasn’t meeting her daily word goals. She did a little scientific testing (see, even writers can be science-y!) to find out what the problem was.

She quickly realized she could optimizing her writing output by focusing on these three things.

  • First, knowledge. Don’t walk into any piece blind. Have an idea of what you’ll be writing; an outline is a good way to start this. Use those formulas and swipe files we talked about. Prep your sources and your images.
  • Then, get your time straightened up. Rachel used a spreadsheet to monitor her productivity at different times of the day and different writing locations. Then, she started writing more in the most productive times.
  • Finally, find your enthusiasm. No, not every piece is going to be riveting, can’t stop my fingers from typing stuff. But search for a new or fresh angle. Tell a story. Grab attention.

writing time management triangle metrics

Traffic Strategy #4: Long-tail keyword domination

Create a spreadsheet when you first start doing keyword research.

In one column, add the URL. In another, add the key phrase that associates with it.

You’ll be good to go on volume and competition, but don’t forget about creating some context. This is where long-tail keywords come in handy. It’s good for those users who are more toward the middle and bottom of the funnel that are on their way to converting.

For example, “furniture” is popular, no doubt. But it’s also too generic and vague. There are almost too many people searching for it, most of whom have zero interest in buying what you’ve got.

Now compare that to “antique love seat.” It only gets a fraction of the overall searches. But the people who search for it are much more likely to buy.

And look at the Cost Per Click in the image below. It’s also a much cheaper key phrase, too!

long tail keywords cost less per click

You can pinpoint your specific industry’s typical customer path using Think with Google’s digital marketing toolbox. It will show you what channels are your top performers at each stage of the journey.

skitch 69

Remember before when we were talking about the need for personalization? It works here, too.

Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) are built by browsing history. This means keyword rankings matter less, while preferences, searcher location, and intent matter more.

For instance, Google doesn’t think you are researching the history of ramen when you search for it. It knows you’re likely looking for a local spot. It can basically read your mind and knows what you mean with just a simple search.

How? Contextual data. Then, Google will take everything else it knows about you (and it knows everything), and use it to personalize the search even more. Like, who are your friends, who you follow on social, and what are you liking and sharing.

Google probably knows what you want before you do. It uses the power of prediction. And that’s good for you — Google spits out exactly what the user is looking for (hopefully you), makes them happy with how simple and easy the process was, and gets them to come to you.

Even before Google first rolled out their Panda update in 2011, long-tail keyword phrases were a major traffic driver. Since then, it’s been even easier to dominate Google, drive organic traffic to your blog, and build a profitable business.

Way back in 2009, Search Engine Journal recorded a 78% increase in organic traffic after optimizing naturally for long-tail keywords.

Long tail traffic

The question is: How do you identify long-tail keyword phrases with minimal or low competition? Is it even possible to find long-tail keywords that virtually no one is targeting for search traffic?

Yes, it is!

But, you need to research extensively and create lengthy, useful content with long-tail keywords front and center.

Do that and you will not only funnel targeted traffic to your blog article but also build a sustainable, enduring community around your ideas — in other words, an evergreen audience.

What do long-tail keywords show you? A long-tail keyword is great because:

  1. They reveal searcher intent. If someone types “buy golf bag online,” you know what they are looking for.
  2. They tell you how to structure your content so that it can solve the searcher’s problem. If someone isn’t interested in buying, there’s nothing in it for you. If they are, you can focus on product features and benefits in your content to deliver what they want.
  3. They help you meet a specific need.

There are 3 steps to dominating Google’s top 10 with long-tail keywords.

  • Step #1: Google Autocomplete
  • Step #2: Google Keyword Planner
  • Step #3: Write

Step #1: Google Autocomplete

Go to Google and start typing the primary keyword that you want to rank highly for in the SERPs. Carefully look through the automatically suggested search queries for organic long-tail keyword ideas to increase blog traffic.

Here’s an example of the competitive “fat burning supplements” niche:

autosuggest google

In this example, there were over 2.7 million web pages that wanted to rank for and profit from that keyword. But the auto-suggested search queries included “fat burning supplements for women.”

When I clicked, the number of competing web pages dropped by almost half.

autosuggest longtail

Since the number was still too high, I moved to the next step.

Note: For this example, it’s almost impossible to rank for the seed keywords. But, with my strategy, you can generate buyer long-tail keyword ideas and rank for them quickly in a search engine.

Step #2: Google Keyword Planner

Go to Google Keyword Planner.

Copy the long-tail keyword you selected above into the keywords search box and click “get ideas.” You will get a list of related long-tail keyword phrases that you can use.

longtail keywords

Pick one of these phrases and return to Google to search for the new phrase. Use quotes around the phrase for an exact match search result. Here’s what I got when I searched for “weight loss pills for women that work.”

target keyword

The top three results do not target the exact long-tail keyword phrase. There are also fewer than 50,000 competing web pages. That’s my rule of thumb for considering a topic.

next keyword

Use this method, and within 20 minutes you will find several long-tail keywords that you can rank for — and you won’t need to build hundreds of backlinks to the content page. Here are some examples:

  • “weight loss pills for women that work”
  • “best fat burning supplement for men”
  • “supplements that help with weight loss”
  • “best fat burning supplements for men”
  • “best diet supplements for weight loss”
  • “best thermogenic fat burners”
  • “weight loss supplements that actually work”

Step #3: Write

The next step is to research and write a rich, valuable, interesting, data-driven post of at least 2,500 words that is well-optimized for the target long-tail keyword, making sure to include plenty of data, images, and links to authority sites in the niche.

Rinse and repeat this 3-step approach for SERPs domination in every long-tail keyword niche.

Now that you’re good on the long-tail keywords, use them in your long-form posts.

You know what you need to start with: the best headline ever. These headlines need to give readers a reason to click through to your blog instead of all the others.

Get their attention with a little primal motivation, and really pull them in on what you’re selling.

Except, you’re not selling at all. You’re storytelling. Remember that Lowe’s ad? You’re storytelling about the end result that the reader gets from what you’re selling. OK, you’re kind of selling.

There are some proven ways to get this attention.

First, go negative. What you’re giving readers is protection from what’s bad out there, and they’ll want to know more.

adwords plateau

Or, try an emotional appeal. Give the reader something they care about, and they’ll pay attention. Get them to empathize, to sympathize, and to want to read more. Like this one from Smart Blogger’s Jon Morrow.

emotional appeal bulletproof article

Another tip? Stir the pot.

Once again, we can benefit from the PAS formula. Agitate the problem for the reader, and then be there to solve it.

First, ID the problem. Fill the reader in on the situation. Get them to understand and relate. Make them want to read more to solve it.

Then, remind them of the problem. Illustrate how the problem makes their life worse. Get them to start thinking that they need to seek out a solution.

What’s that? A solution, you say? I’ve got one of those right here! Give them specific steps to solve their woes (and how you can help them do it).

Then, finish it off with an objective. At the end of the post, it’s time to summarize all the points into a nice little package. But don’t forget to give them something that keeps them interested. An actionable tip, for instance.

Kaleigh Moore on Copyhackers did it like this:actionable tip copyhackers

Or turn the call to action into a way for the reader to learn even more. If you did your job on the blog itself, they’ll want to see what else is out there. Finished reading the tips? Now watch the webinar.

call to action copywriting

They’ll bite on this, of course, if they actually read your post.

Oh, people aren’t reading it? Here’s why.

There’s no hook: Don’t bury the lead. Get your reader into it right from the start. Pique their interest with a good headline and then continue to pull them in.

You aren’t using anecdotes: Say it with me again. Four million blog posts a day. You need something to grab attention, and that can be done by storytelling. Add a pop culture reference. Include a story they can shake their head in agreement with.

Like Jon Morrow’s On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas. He tells a pretty emotional tale about his physical condition that means he’ll be bound to a wheelchair his whole life. It sucks you in with the moment Jon’s mother learns this from the doctor. And then you can’t stop reading.

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The Made to Stick brothers double down on the importance of storytelling with three tried and true approaches:

The Challenge Plot: Think Rocky Balboa (or the latest excellent installment, Creed). Someone — often a reluctant hero — has to rise up in the face of adversity and slay their real or imagined dragons.

The Connection Plot: Think Romeo & Juliet. “Love conquers” and all that mushy stuff. Somehow, someway, two opposing forces are brought together from the unlikeliest places.

The Creativity Plot: Think “Da Vinci Code.” A crazy (outlandish) puzzle solved with ingenuity in unexpected ways.

You don’t start on the opposite side of the postIn that same Morrow example, he beautifully takes readers on a journey but leaves them in a place no one expected. This kind of misdirection grabs your attention by catching you off guard.

 

 

Traffic Strategy #5: Email traffic generation

Oberlo revealed that there are over 3.7 billion email accounts worldwide and that more than 269 billion emails are sent every day. Email experts also claim that, on average, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you’re going to make up to $32 back.

If you don’t believe me, just look at Quick Sprout. One simple email blast helped generate $43,036 in income in less than 24 hours.

Sounds great, but don’t get too excited, because most email lists are dead and yield no search traffic results.

How can you make yours come alive?

Simple. Build a specialized or “elite” list and nurture your subscribers so that they always open and act on your emails.

Why do you want a list for a privileged minority? Because to succeed, you don’t need everyone on your list.

In fact, do all that you can to weed out those who don’t want or need what you have to offer — you ONLY need the right people.

Let’s first talk about the benefits of building an elite email list:

  • You’re collecting only targeted leads.
  • When you send newsletters, the open rates will be high.
  • The click-through rate will blow your mind.
  • You’ll get huge word of mouth referrals.
  • You can build a profitable business with less than 1,000+ elite subscribers.
  • Your email subscribers will be your #1 source of qualified traffic for relevant offers.

Now that you know the benefits, here are the steps that you need to take to build an elite list through your blog article portfolio:

  1. Define your main goal.
  2. Create a special landing page.
  3. Guest blog on targeted, A-list blogs only.
  4. Use Facebook precise targeting.

Step #1: Define your main goal

What do you intend to achieve by having a specific group of people on your email list?

 

huffingtonpost.com

2. Boing Boing

Lego reconstructions of pop videos and cakes baked in the shape of iPods are not generally considered relevant to serious political debate. But even the most earnest bloggers will often take time out of their busy schedule to pass on some titbit of mildly entertaining geek ephemera. No one has done more to promote pointless, yet strangely cool, time-wasting stuff on the net than the editors of Boing Boing (subtitle: A Directory of Wonderful Things). It launched in January 2000 and has had an immeasurable influence on the style and idiom of blogging. But hidden among the pictures of steam-powered CD players and Darth Vader tea towels there is a steely, ultra-liberal political agenda: championing the web as a global medium free of state and corporate control.

Boing Boing chronicles cases where despotic regimes have silenced or imprisoned bloggers. It helped channel blogger scorn on to Yahoo and Google when they kowtowed to China’s censors in order to win investment opportunities. It was instrumental in exposing the creeping erosion of civil liberties in the US under post-9/11 ‘Homeland Security’ legislation. And it routinely ridicules attempts by the music and film industries to persecute small-time file sharers and bedroom pirates instead of getting their own web strategies in order. It does it all with gentle, irreverent charm, polluted only occasionally with gratuitous smut.

Their dominance of the terrain where technology meets politics makes the Boing Boing crew geek aristocracy.

Least likely to post ‘Has anyone got a stamp?’

boingboing.net

3. Techcrunch

Techcrunch began in 2005 as a blog about dotcom start-ups in Silicon Valley, but has quickly become one of the most influential news websites across the entire technology industry. Founder Michael Arrington had lived through the internet goldrush as a lawyer and entrepreneur before deciding that writing about new companies was more of an opportunity than starting them himself. His site is now ranked the third-most popular blog in the world by search engine Technorati, spawning a mini-empire of websites and conferences as a result. Business Week named Arrington one of the 25 most influential people on the web, and Techcrunch has even scored interviews with Barack Obama and John McCain.

With a horde of hungry geeks and big money investors online, Techcrunch is the largest of a wave of technology-focused blog publishers to tap into the market – GigaOm, PaidContent and Mashable among them – but often proves more contentious than its rivals, thanks to Arrington’s aggressive relationships with traditional media and his conflicts of interest as an investor himself.

Least likely to post ‘YouTube? It’ll never catch on’

techcrunch.com

4. Kottke

One of the early wave of blogging pioneers, web designer Jason Kottke started keeping track of interesting things on the internet as far back as 1998. The site took off, boosted partly through close links to popular blog-building website Blogger (he later married one of the founders). And as the phenomenon grew quickly, Kottke became a well-known filter for surfers on the lookout for interesting reading.

Kottke remains one of the purest old-skool bloggers on the block – it’s a selection of links to websites and articles rather than a repository for detailed personal opinion – and although it remains fairly esoteric, his favourite topics include film, science, graphic design and sport. He often picks up trends and happenings before friends start forwarding them to your inbox. Kottke’s decision to consciously avoid politics could be part of his appeal (he declares himself ‘not a fan’), particularly since the blog’s voice is literate, sober and inquiring, unlike much of the red-faced ranting found elsewhere online.

A couple of key moments boosted Kottke’s fame: first, being threatened with legal action by Sony for breaking news about a TV show, but most notably quitting his web-design job and going solo three years ago. A host of ‘micropatrons’ and readers donated cash to cover his salary, but these days he gets enough advertising to pay the bills. He continues to plug away at the site as it enters its 10th year.

Least likely to post ‘Look at this well wicked vid of a dog on a skateboard’

kottke.org

5. Dooce

One of the best-known personal bloggers (those who provide more of a diary than a soapbox or reporting service), Heather Armstrong has been writing online since 2001. Though there were personal websites that came before hers, certain elements conspired to make Dooce one of the biggest public diaries since Samuel Pepys’s (whose diary is itself available, transcribed in blog form, at Pepysdiary.com). Primarily, Armstrong became one of the first high-profile cases of somebody being fired for writing about her job. After describing events that her employer – a dotcom start-up – thought reflected badly on them, Armstrong was sacked. The incident caused such fierce debate that Dooce found itself turned into a verb that is used in popular parlance (often without users realising its evolution): ‘dooced – to be fired from one’s job as a direct result of one’s personal website’.

Behind Dooce stands an army of personal bloggers perhaps not directly influenced by, or even aware of, her work – she represents the hundreds of thousands who decide to share part of their life with strangers.

Armstrong’s honesty has added to her popularity, and she has written about work, family life, postnatal depression, motherhood, puppies and her Mormon upbringing with the same candid and engaging voice. Readers feel that they have been brought into her life, and reward her with their loyalty. Since 2005 the advertising revenue on her blog alone has been enough to support her family.

Least likely to post ‘I like babies but I couldn’t eat a whole one’

dooce.com

6. Perezhilton

Once dubbed ‘Hollywood’s most hated website’, Perezhilton (authored by Mario Lavandeira since 2005) is the gossip site celebrities fear most. Mario, 29, is famous for scrawling rude things (typically doodles about drug use) over pap photos and outing closeted stars. On the day of Lindsay Lohan’s arrest for drink-driving, he posted 60 updates, and 8m readers logged on.

He’s a shameless publicity whore, too. His reality show premiered on VH1 last year, and his blogsite is peppered with snaps of him cuddling Paris Hilton at premieres. Fergie from Black Eyed Peas alluded to him in a song, and Avril Lavigne phoned, asking him to stop writing about her after he repeatedly blogged about her lack of talent and her ‘freakishly long arm’.

Least likely to post ‘Log on tomorrow for Kofi Annan’s live webchat’

perezhilton.com

7. Talking points memo

At some point during the disputed US election of 2000 – when Al Gore was famously defeated by a few hanging chads – Joshua Micah Marshall lost patience. Despite working as a magazine editor, Marshall chose to vent on the web. Eight years later Talking Points Memo and its three siblings draw in more than 400,000 viewers a day from their base in New York.

Marshall has forged a reputation, and now makes enough money to run a small team of reporters who have made an impact by sniffing out political scandal and conspiracy. ‘I think in many cases the reporting we do is more honest, more straight than a lot of things you see even on the front pages of great papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post,’ he said in an interview last year. ‘But I think both kinds of journalism should exist, should co-exist.’

Although his unabashed partisan approach is admonished by many old-fashioned American reporters, Marshall’s skills at pulling together the threads of a story have paid dividends. Last year he helped set the agenda after George Bush covertly fired a string of US attorneys deemed disloyal to the White House. While respected mainstream media figures accused Marshall of seeing conspiracy, he kept digging: the result was the resignation of attorney general Alberto Gonzales, and a prestigious George Polk journalism award for Marshall, the first ever for a blogger.

Least likely to post ‘Barack is so, like, gnarly to the max’

talkingpointsmemo.com

8. Icanhascheezburger

Amused by a photo of a smiling cat, idiosyncratically captioned with the query ‘I Can Has A Cheezburger?’, which he found on the internet while between jobs in early 2007, Eric Nakagawa of Hawaii emailed a copy of it to a friend (known now only as Tofuburger). Then, on a whim, they began a website, first comprising only that one captioned photo but which has since grown into one of the most popular blogs in the world.

Millions of visitors visit Icanhascheezburger.com to see, create, submit and vote on Lolcats (captioned photos of characterful cats in different settings). The ‘language’ used in the captions, which this blog has helped to spread globally, is known as Lolspeak, aka Kitty Pidgin. In Lolspeak, human becomes ‘hooman’, Sunday ‘bunday’, exactly ‘xackly’ and asthma ‘azma’. There is now an effort to develop a LOLCode computer-programming language and another to translate the Bible into Lolspeak.

Least likely to post ‘Actually, dogs are much more interesting…”

icanhascheezburger.com

9. Beppe Grillo

Among the most visited blogs in the world is that of Beppe Grillo, a popular Italian comedian and political commentator, long persona non grata on state TV, who is infuriated daily – especially by corruption and financial scandal in his country.

A typical blog by Grillo calls, satirically or otherwise, for the people of Naples and Campania to declare independence, requests that Germany declare war on Italy to help its people (‘We will throw violets and mimosa to your Franz and Gunther as they march through’) or reports on Grillo’s ongoing campaign to introduce a Bill of Popular Initiative to remove from office all members of the Italian parliament who’ve ever had a criminal conviction. Grillo’s name for Mario Mastella, leader of the Popular-UDEUR centre-right party, is Psychodwarf. ‘In another country, he would have been the dishwasher in a pizzeria,’ says Grillo. Through his blog, he rallied many marchers in 280 Italian towns and cities for his ‘Fuck You’ Day last September.

Least likely to post ‘Sign up to our campaign to grant Silvo Berlusconi immunity’

beppegrillo.it

10. Gawker

A New York blog of ‘snarky’ gossip and commentary about the media industry, Gawker was founded in 2002 by journalist Nick Denton, who had previously helped set up a networking site called First Tuesday for web and media entrepreneurs. Gawker’s earliest fascination was gossip about Vogue editor Anna Wintour, garnered from underlings at Conde Nast. This set the tone for amassing a readership of movers and shakers on the Upper East Side, as well as ‘the angry creative underclass’ wishing either to be, or not be, like them, or both (‘the charmingly incompetent X… the wildly successful blowhard’). Within a year Gawker’s readers were making 500,000 page views per month. Nowadays the figure is 11m, recovering from a recent dip to 8m thanks to the showing of a Tom Cruise ‘Indoctrination Video’ which Scientologists had legally persuaded YouTube to take down. Gawker remains the flagship of Gawker Media, which now comprises 14 blogs, although gossiping by ex-Gawker insiders, a fixation on clicks (which its bloggers are now paid on the basis of) and fresh anxiety over defining itself have led some to claim Gawker has become more ‘tabloidy’ and celeb- and It-girl-orientated, and less New York-centric. But its core value – ‘media criticism’ – appears to be intact.

Least likely to post ‘We can only wish Rupert Murdoch well with his new venture’

gawker.com

11. The Drudge Report

The Report started life as an email gossip sheet, and then became a trashy webzine with negligible traffic. But thanks to the decision in 1998 to run a scurrilous rumour – untouched by mainstream media – about Bill Clinton and a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, it became a national phenomenon. Recent scoops include Barack Obama dressed in tribal garb and the fact Prince Harry was serving in Afghanistan. Drudge is scorned by journalists and serious bloggers for his tabloid sensibilities, but his place in the media history books is guaranteed. And much though they hate him, the hacks all still check his front page – just in case he gets another president-nobbling scoop.

Least likely to post ‘Oops, one sec – just got to check the facts…’

drudgereport.com

12. Xu Jinglei

Jinglei is a popular actress (and director of Letter From An Unknown Woman) in China, who in 2005 began a blog (‘I got the joy of expressing myself’) which within a few months had garnered 11.5m visits and spurred thousands of other Chinese to blog. In 2006 statisticians at Technorati, having previously not factored China into their calculations, realised Jinglei’s blog was the most popular in the world. In it she reports on her day-to-day moods, reflections, travels, social life and cats (‘Finally the first kitten’s been born!!! Just waiting for the second, in the middle of the third one now!!!!!!!! It’s midnight, she gave birth to another one!!!!!!’). She blogs in an uncontroversial but quite reflective manner, aiming to show a ‘real person’ behind the celebrity. Each posting, usually ending with ‘I have to be up early’ or a promise to report tomorrow on a DVD she is watching, is followed by many hundreds of comments from readers – affirming their love, offering advice, insisting she take care. Last year her blog passed the 1bn clicks mark.

Least likely to post ‘Forget the kittens – get a Kalashnikov!!!!!!!’

blog.sina.com.cn/xujinglei

13. Treehugger

Treehugger is a green consumer blog with a mission to bring a sustainable lifestyle to the masses. Its ethos, that a green lifestyle does not have to mean sacrifice, and its positive, upbeat feel have attracted over 1.8m unique users a month. Consistently ranked among the top 20 blogs on Technorati, Treehugger has 10 staff but also boasts 40 writers from a wide variety of backgrounds in more than 10 countries around the world, who generate more than 30 new posts a day across eight categories, ranging from fashion and beauty, travel and nature, to science and technology. Treehugger began as an MBA class project four years ago and says it now generates enough revenue from sponsorship and advertising to pay all its staffers and writers. It has developed a highly engaged community and has added popular services like TreeHugger.tv, and a user-generated blog, Hugg. It was bought by the Discovery Channel last year for a rumoured $10m.

Least likely to post ‘Why Plastic Bags rock’

treehugger.com

14. Microsiervos

Microsiervos, which began in 2001, took its name from Douglas Coupland’s novel Microserfs, a diary entry-style novel about internet pioneers. It is run by Alvy, Nacho and Wicho, three friends in Madrid, who blog in Spanish. The second most popular blog in Europe and the 13th most popular in the world (according to eBizMBA), Microsiervos concerns itself with science, curiosities, strange reality, chance, games, puzzles, quotations, conspiracies, computers, hacking, graffiti and design. It is informal, friendly and humorous, moving from news of an eccentric new letter font to reflections on the discovery of the Milky Way having double the thickness it was previously thought to have.

Least likely to post ‘The internet is, like, so over’

microsiervos.com

15. TMZ

You want relentless celebrity gossip on tap? TMZ will provide it, and when we say relentless, we mean relentless. The US site is dripping with ‘breaking news’ stories, pictures and videos, and deems celeb activity as mundane as stars walking to their cars worthy of a video post. TMZ was launched in 2005 by AOL and reportedly employs around 20 writers to keep the celeb juice flowing. It pulls in 1.6m readers a month and is endlessly cited as the source for red-top celeb stories. It was the first to break Alec Baldwin’s now infamous ‘rude little pig’ voicemail last April, for instance. TMZ prides itself on being close to the action, so close, in fact, a TMZ photographer had his foot run over by Britney Spears mid-meltdown. They auctioned the tyre-tracked sock on eBay in aid of US charity the Children’s Defense Fund last autumn.

Least likely to post ‘Paris is a metaphor for Third World debt’

TMZ.com

16. Engadget

Engadget provides breaking news, rumours and commentary on, for instance, a camera able to track a head automatically, the very latest HD screen or ‘visual pollution’ concerns prompted by hand-held pico laser-projectors. The world’s most popular blog on gadgets and consumer electronics, Engadget was founded by Peter Rojas in 2004 and won the Web Blogs Awards that year and each year since. Now part of Weblogs Inc (owned by AOL), it is offered on many other sites (including GoogleMail) as a default RSS feed, and is published in English, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. Last year, a mistake confirmed Engadget’s power – upon reporting a supposed email (which turned out to be a hoax) from Apple, informing Apple employees of a delay in the launch of iPhone, Apple’s share price fell by 3 per cent within minutes. Rojas also co-founded rival gadget blog Gizmodo.

Least likely to post ‘An iWhat?’

engadget.com

17. Marbury

No matter what happens between now and 4 November, you can be certain the US presidential election of 2008 will be among the most historically important and dramatic of any fought. Having an informed opinion will be a must, but if you are as yet unable to tell your Iowa Caucus from your Feiler Faster Thesis, Marbury – a British blog on American politics – is the place to start. The site’s creator, Ian Leslie, is an ex-expat who fell for American politics during a four-year stint living in New York. The site signposts important events and interesting analyses, gives context and witty commentary on everything from the most serious speeches to the silliest election-themed YouTube clips. And West Wing fans will be pleased to note that the blog’s name is a reference to the show’s British ambassador to the United States, Lord John Marbury, who, appropriately enough, provided an eccentrically British but reliably insightful appraisal of American politics.

Least likely to post ‘Is it just me or is Romney getting cuter?’

marbury.typepad.com

18. Chez Pim

Attracting around 10,000 people from all over the globe to her site every week, Pim Techamuanvivit has tried and tested an awful lot of food. From Michelin-starred restaurants to street food and diners, she samples it all, and posts her thoughts and pictures to share with other foodie fans. She advises her readers on what cooking equipment to go for, posts recipe suggestions for them to try, and gives them a nudge in the direction of which food shows are worth a watch. She’s not just famous on the net, she’s attracted global coverage in the media with her writing, recipes and interviews appearing in such diverse publications as the New York Times, Le Monde and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Least likely to post ‘Chocolate’s my favourite flavour of Pop Tart’

chezpim.typepad.com

19. Basic thinking

Recently rated the 18th most influential blog in the world by Wikio, Basic Thinking, which has the tag line ‘Mein Haus, Mein Himmel, Mein Blog’, is run by Robert Basic of Usingen, Germany, who aims ‘to boldly blog what no one has blogged before’, and recently posted his 10,000th entry. Basic Thinking reports on technology and odds and ends, encouraging readers to rummage through an 1851 edition of the New York Times one minute and to contemplate the differences between mooses and elks the next.

Least likely to post ‘Mein heim, mein gott – I need to get a life’

basicthinking.de/blog

20. The Sartorialist

As ideas go, this one is pretty simple. Man wanders around Manhattan with a camera. Spots someone whose outfit he likes. Asks if he can take a picture. Goes home and posts it on his blog. But the man in question is Scott Schuman, who had 15 years’ experience working at the high-fashion end of the clothing industry before starting The Sartorialist. He’s got a sharp eye for a good look, a gift for grabbing an on-the-hoof pic and an unwavering enthusiasm for people going the extra mile in the name of style. Minimalist it might be, but his site – a basic scroll of full-length street portraits, occasionally annotated with a brief note – is mesmeric and oddly beautiful. The site attracts more than 70,000 readers a day and has been named one of Time’s Top 100 Design Influences. So if you’re out and about and a guy called Scott asks to take your picture, just smile. You’re about to become a style icon.

Least likely to post ‘Sometimes you need to chill in a shellsuit’

thesartorialist.blogspot.com

21. Students for a free Tibet

Taking the protest online, Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) is a global, grassroots network of students campaigning to free Tibet, which has been occupied by China since 1950. Students in Tibet face arrest for posting on the site, but many escape to blog about their experiences in exile. With a history of direct action, the group is now uniting worldwide members through the web, blogging to spread word of news and protests, and using sites like Facebook to raise funds. The organisation, which was founded in 1994 in New York, spans more than 35 countries and gets up to 100,000 hits a month. In 2006, SFT used a satellite link at Mount Everest base camp to stream live footage on to YouTube of a demonstration against Chinese Olympic athletes practising carrying the torch there. Later this year the web will be a critical tool in organising and reporting protests during the games. ‘SFT plans to stage protests in Beijing during the games and post blogs as events unfold,’ says Iain Thom, the SFT UK national co-ordinator. ‘But for security reasons we can’t reveal details of how or where yet.’ Similarly, a massive protest in London on 10 March will be the subject of intense cyber comment. In response, the site has fallen victim to increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. Investigations have traced the sources back to China, leading to speculation that the Chinese authorities are trying to sabotage the site to stop online critics.

Least likely to post ‘Hey guyz, any hotties in the Nepal region?!’

studentsforafreetibet.org

22. Jezebel

Last year Gawker Media launched Jezebel – a blog which aimed to become a brilliant version of a women’s magazine. It succeeded quickly, in part by acknowledging the five big lies perpetuated by the women’s media: The Cover Lie (female forgeries of computer-aided artistry); The Celebrity-Profile Lie (flattery, more nakedly consumerist and less imaginative than the movies they’re shilling for); The Must-Have Lie (magazine editors are buried in free shit); The Affirmation Crap Lie (you are insecure about things you didn’t know it was possible to be insecure about); and The Big Meta Lie (we’re devastatingly affected by the celebrity media). Their regular ‘Crap Email From a Dude’ feature is especially fantastic, as is their coverage of current stories (opinionated and consistently hilarious) and politics. It offers the best lady-aimed writing on the web, along with lots of nice pictures of Amy Winehouse getting out of cars.

Least likely to post ‘How To Look Skinny While Pleasing Your Man!’

jezebel.com

23. Gigazine

Created by Satoshi Yamasaki and Mazaki Keito of Osaka, Gigazine is the most popular blog in Japan, covering the latest in junk foods and beverages, games, toys and other ingredients of colourful pop product culture. Visitors first witness ‘eye candy’ such as David Beckham condoms (from China), 75 turtles in a fridge, the packaging for Mega Frankfurters or a life-size Ferrari knitted from wool, learn of a second X-Files movie moving into pre-pre-production, watch a vacuum-cleaning robot being tested and compare taste reports of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new Shrimp Tsuisuta Chilli.

Least likely to post ‘Anyone seen these charming croquet mallets?’

gigazine.net

24. Girl with a one-track mind

Following in the footsteps of Belle de Jour – the anonymous blogger claiming to be a sex worker – the girl with a one track mind started writing in open, explicit terms about her lively sex life in 2004. By 2006, the blog was bookified and published by Ebury, and spent much time on bestseller lists, beach towels and hidden behind the newspapers of serious-looking commuters. Though she was keen to retain her anonymity and continue her career in the film industry, author ‘Abby Lee’ was soon outed as north Londoner Zoe Margolis by a Sunday newspaper.

Least likely to post ‘I’ve got a headache’

girlwithaonetrackmind.blogspot.com

25. Mashable

Founded by Peter Cashmore in 2005, Mashable is a social-networking news blog, reporting on and reviewing the latest developments, applications and features available in or for MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and countless lesser-known social-networking sites and services, with a special emphasis on functionality. The blog’s name Mashable is derived from Mashup, a term for the fusing of multiple web services. Readers range from top web 2.0 developers to savvy 13-year-olds wishing for the latest plug-ins to pimp up their MySpace pages.

Least likely to post ‘But why don’t you just phone them up?’

mashable.com

26. Greek tragedy

Stephanie Klein’s blog allows her to ‘create an online scrapbook of my life, complete with drawings, photos and my daily musings’ or, rather, tell tawdry tales of dating nightmares, sexual encounters and bodily dysfunctions. Thousands of women tune in for daily accounts of her narcissistic husband and nightmarish mother-in-law and leave equally self-revealing comments transforming the pages into something of a group confessional. The blog has been so successful that Klein has penned a book, Straight Up and Dirty, and has featured in countless magazine and newspaper articles around the globe. Not bad for what Klein describes as ‘angst online’.

Least likely to post ‘Enough about me – what’s your news?’

stephanieklein.blogs.com

27. Holy Moly

If a weekly flick through Heat just isn’t enough, then a daily intake of Holy Moly will certainly top up those celeb gossip levels. The UK blog attracts 750,000 visitors a month and 240,000 celeb-obsessees subscribe to the accompanying weekly mail-out. It’s an established resource for newspaper columnists – both tabloid and broadsheet – and there’s a daily ‘News from the Molehill’ slot in the free London paper The Metro. Last month Holy Moly created headlines in its own right by announcing a rethink on publishing paparazzi shots. The blog will no longer publish pics obtained when ‘pursuing people in cars and on bikes’, as well as ‘celebrities with their kids’, ‘people in distress at being photographed’ and off-duty celebs. But don’t think that means the omnipresent celeb blog that sends shivers round offices up and down the country on ‘mail-out day’ is slowing down – there has been talk of Holy Moly expanding into TV.

Least likely to post ‘What do you think of the new Hanif Kureishi?’

holymoly.co.uk

28. Michelle Malkin

Most surveys of web use show a fairly even gender balance online, but political blogging is dominated by men. One exception is Michelle Malkin, a conservative newspaper columnist and author with one of the most widely read conservative blogs in the US. That makes her one of the most influential women online. Her main theme is how liberals betray America by being soft on terrorism, peddling lies about global warming and generally lacking patriotism and moral fibre.

Least likely to post ‘That Obama’s got a lovely smile, hasn’t he?’

www.michellemalkin.com

29. Cranky flier

There’s nowhere to hide for airlines these days. Not with self-confessed ‘airline dork’ Brett Snyder, aka Cranky Flier, keeping tabs on their progress. He’s moved on from spending his childhood birthdays in airport hotels, face pressed against the window watching the planes come in, and turned his attention to reporting on the state of airlines. His CV is crammed with various US airline jobs, which gives him the insider knowledge to cast his expert eye over everything from the recent 777 emergency landing at Heathrow to spiralling baggage handling costs and the distribution of air miles to ‘virtual assistants’.

Least likely to post ‘There’s nothing wrong with a well-conducted cavity search’

crankyflier.com

30. Go fug yourself

It’s a neat word, fug – just a simple contraction of ‘ugly’ and its preceding expletive – but from those three letters an entire fugging industry has grown. At Go Fug Yourself, celebrity offenders against style, elegance and the basic concept of making sure you’re covering your reproductive organs with some form of clothing before you leave the house are ‘fugged’ by the site’s writers, Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks. In their hands, the simple pleasure of yelping ‘Does she even OWN a mirror?’ at a paparazzi shot of some B-list headcase in fuchsia becomes an epic battle against dull Oscar gowns, ill-fitting formalwear and Lindsay Lohan’s leggings. The site stays on the right side of gratuitous nastiness by dishing out generous praise when due (the coveted ‘Well Played’), being genuinely thoughtful on questions of taste and funnier on the subject of random starlets in sequined sweatpants than you could possibly even imagine.

Least likely to post ‘Oprah looked great in those stretch jeans’

gofugyourself.typepad.com

31. Gaping void

In the middle of a career as an adman in New York, Hugh MacLeod found himself doodling acerbic and almost surreal cartoons on the back of people’s business cards to pass the time in bars. Everyone seemed to like the idea, so he kept going. Things started going gangbusters when he pimped his cartoons on the internet, and as he built an audience through his blog, he started writing about his other passion – the new world of understanding how to adapt marketing to the new world of the net. Remember when everybody was madly printing off vouchers from the web that saved you 40 per cent? That was one of his: aimed at helping shift more bottles from Stormhoek, the South African vintner he works with.

Least likely to post ‘This product really sells itself’

gapingvoid.com

32. Dirtydirty dancing

If someone stole your camera, took it out for the night to parties you yourself aren’t cool enough to go to and returned it in the morning, you would probably find it loaded up with pictures like those posted on DirtyDirtyDancing. The site seems pretty lo-fi – just entries called things like ‘Robin’s birthday’ and ‘FEB16’ featuring pages of images of hip young things getting their party on. And that’s it. The original delight was in logging on to see if you’d made it on to the site – your chances increase exponentially if you’re beautiful, avant-garde and hang out at clubs and parties in the edgier parts of London – but now the site can get up to 900,000 hits a month from all over the world.

Least likely to post ‘Revellers at the Earl of Strathdore’s hunt ball’

dirtydirtydancing.com

33. Crooked timber

With a title pulled from Immanuel Kant’s famous statement that ‘out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made’, it’s an amalgam of academic and political writing that has muscled its way into the epicentre of intelligent discussion since its conception in 2003. Formed as an internet supergroup, pulling several popular intellectual blogs together, Crooked Timber now has 16 members – largely academics – across the US, Europe, Australia and Asia. The site has built itself a reputation as something of an intellectual powerhouse; a sort of global philosophical thinktank conducted via blog.

Least likely to post ‘Did anyone see Casualty last night?’

crookedtimber.org

34. Beansprouts

Combining diary, opinion and green lifestyle tips, Beansprouts is a blog that covers one family’s ‘search for the good life’. Melanie Rimmer and her family of five live in a ‘small ex-council house’ with a garden on the edge of farmland in Poynton, Cheshire. They grow food on an allotment nearby, keep chickens and bees and ‘try to be green, whatever that means’. Rimmer set up the blog nearly two years ago when she first got the allotment and says she felt it was something worth writing about. With one post a day, often more, topics for discussion can range from top 10 uses for apples to making scrap quilts.

Least likely to post ‘Make mine a Happy Meal’

bean-sprouts.blogspot.com

35. The offside

Launched by ‘Bob’ after the success of his WorldCupBlog in 2006, Offside is a UK-based blog covering football leagues globally, gathering news and visuals on all of it, inviting countless match reports and promoting discussion on all things soccer, from the attack by a colony of red ants on a player in the Sao Paulo state championship third division, to the particular qualities of every one of Cristiano Ron