Once upon a time, when blogging was fresh and new, conservative blogs dominated the top of Technorati's most popular lists. Michelle Malkin, Powerline, and InstaPundit routinely led Talking Points and Kos. But we've fallen. Big time.
Yesterday, Michelle was still the #1 conservative blog--at 39 overall. Huffington Post is #1, Kos is #8.
Reason 1: Focus
Or lack thereof. The rising stars of the right aren't necessarily political, but scientific. Tom Nelson's blog digests all of the day's (even hour's) top stories involving some idiotic global warming (aka "environmental," aka "sustainability," aka "climate change") news. Anthony Watts is a seasoned meteorologist who provides deep dives into global warming news and science.
By focusing on a single issue, these blogs deliver one-stop shopping for conservatives in search of AGW news. Their blog rolls are similarly focused, allowing readers who want more to jump to another blog that emphasizes climate.
Most conservative blogs, by contrast, ramble. I don't mean that posts ramble, but the content is all over the map. Take Hennessy’s View for example. I'll hit AGW, economics, and the 10th Amendment all in the same day. When a reader visits Hennessy's View, he has no idea what he'll get.
Reason 2: Proliferation
According to the Battleground Poll, 60 percent of voting-age Americans describe themselves as Somewhat or Very conservative. That means we have a pool of up to 126 million people to win over as regular readers. Of that 126 million, according to Forrester, 25 percent are inactives when it comes to the internets, leaving 94.5 million for us to fight over.
While the liberals have 4 or 5 top blogs and lots of micro blogs, conservatives have a similar number of top blogs but many, many blogs just below the top. These high quality blogs cannibalize readership from the top 5. In other words, there are (my calculations) almost twice as many conservative blog readers as liberal readers, but our focus is diffused across many sites while the liberals concentrate attention on a handful of blogs.
Quantifying attitudes across 100 blogs is difficult. Quantifying top 100 is easy. So Technorati counts the top 100 which makes it look like liberal readership dwarfs conservative.
Should We Care?
Yes. The combination of lower rankings and scattered focus hurts the impact and influence of conservative blogs. "Most Read Blog in America" carries credibility with people we hope to influence. If you don't believe that, talk to a marketer. Similarly, people who can afford to shop in specialty shops do so because these shops are precise. A women's lingerie shop carries . . . you guessed it. No surprises or unfulfilled needs when a woman goes into Victoria's Secret.
How to Fix This
I don’t have a solution for the whole right side of the web. But I will share a strategy I’m going to employ for the next 4 weeks.
- Fewer Posts: Instead of blogging every stupid idea that pops into my head, I’m going to focus on one quality entry per day. I’ll start in the morning. If I have time to write and revise, I will do it before leaving for work. If not, like today, I’ll revise and publish when I get home. This will allow me to post cleaner copy.
- Limited Subjects: I will leave my categories for historical posts, but I am going to pick no more than 3 topics going forward: Global Warming, Limited Government, and Zen Conservatism.
- Emphasis will be Zen Conservatism, which will be a focus on the positives of conservatism and the essential tenets thereof: life, liberty, the pursuit hapiness, and private property.
One additional idea for the conservative blogosphere in general: narrow your focus. It isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.