A simple process of trying to create a Top 10 list of Analytics blogs can be complex, here is the story (with some reporting tips sprinkled in).
Of the 44.2 million (!!) blogs out there today 0.00013% from the field of "web analytics". I wanted to create a list of the top 10 web analytics blogs both to satiate my curiosity and also to create a handy list of resources for people interested in web analytics.
The process of coming up with the list was fraught with decisions similar to what we might run into while creating a web analytics report. What tool to use? How to identify relevant blogs (remember as of today there are 44.2 million)? How good is data quality? What data to show along with the rankings to add more context to the rank?
There are many blog ranking sites out there. My choice was Technorati since it seems to be a well accepted standard, even if according to some a bit flawed. Standards and benchmarks are great because people buy into them more easily and sometimes the choice of a bit flawed standard is a small price to pay.
Tagging seems to be a standard in the blogosphere. Common tags that fall into our specific area seem to be: Web analytics, web metrics, web-analytics, analytics, google analytics, advanced analytics. Simplicity always wins over complexity, because what people understand better they are more likely to action, if relevant. My decision was to stay with the cleanest tag: Web Analytics.
Data quality was perhaps the most interesting challenge. Some of the blogs that showed up in the resulting query did not seem to be purely about web analytics. One of the blogs that should have shown up high did not show up at all (Eric: your blog, which I am sure is highly ranked does not show up in Technorati, perhaps something’s amiss). Rather than applying my judgment I choose to show the listing exactly as it would show up in technorati, because judgment should be applied with a lot of careful consideration because reasonable people might disagree with someone they don’t know, and that leads to doubt and a credibility hit.
In any report context is king. A simply table with ranking would have sufficed, but it would not be as insightful. I decided to add Technorati rank to show in the global context of all the blogs in the world how are our web analytics blogs doing. The decision to add Links to Sites ratio was made because I thought it gave key insights to higher rankings: breadth (more sites that link to you) matter more than depth (same sites who link to you multiple times). That was fascinating. How long each blog has been around also seemed like it might add great context to the ranking (how long does it take to get to #1 or who can get how far how quickly etc etc). In the end I decided to leave it out (can you guess why?).
Be aware of hidden agenda, yours and those of others, and accommodate for them in your reporting / decision making. The reason this is top 15 and not top 10 (as my original plan) is because I wanted one of my friends on this list and his blog was not in the top 10. This is just a simple example of a “hidden agenda”, more often when we report things are much more complex. My personal ultimate loyalty is to highlight the Customer Voice and any agendas to promote are with goal of highlighting the Customer Voice over that of the company. It is not always optimal but there are more people with the Company Voice so it all balances out.
One final tip, be open and up front with your assumptions, it shows a understanding of the data and builds credibility. You'll see examples of this above and below.
To summarise the reporting tips:
- Global standards and benchmarks are great because people buy into them more easily
- Simplicity always wins over complexity, because what people understand better they are more likely to action
- Judgment should be applied with a lot of careful consideration because reasonable people might disagree with someone they don’t know
- In any report context is king, provide the right context
- Be aware of hidden agendas, your’s and those of others
- Be open and up front with your assumptions
Without any further delay, and with much fanfare : The Top 15 Web Analytics Blogs
(I'll publish an updated list in one month):
|Technorati June 12|
|Rank||Blog||Author||Rank||Links / Sites|
|1||Conversion Rater||Pat McCarthy||9,832||252 / 191|
|2||Web Metrics Guru||Marshall Sponder||11,201||6,849 / 173|
|3||Pronet Advertising||Neil Patel||27,181||123 / 87|
|4||Occam's Razor||Avinash Kaushik||61,940||129 / 45|
|5||Web Analytics Guide||Travis Staut||91,511||39 / 33|
|6||Mikkel deMib Svendsen||Mikkel deMib Svendsen||102,630||74 / 30|
|7||Increasing your website's conversion rate||Robbin Steif||111,263||93 / 28|
|8||Ecosphere||Emmanuel Parody||111,263||66 / 28|
|9||Web Analytique||Blynxx (Adrien)||127,066||54 / 25|
|10||Demystifying Usability||Frank Spillers||139,948||33 / 23|
|11||Business et Marketing Online 2.0||David Sadigh||196,911||32 / 17|
|12||Online Marketing Blog||Federico Calore||196,911||31 / 17|
|13||Brand To Be Determined||Ed Schipul||225,302||34 / 15|
|14||Instant Cognition||Clint Ivy||225,302||33 / 15|
|15||Web Analytics Blog||Xavier Casanova||261,228||22 / 13|
(That last number for Xavier’s blog does not look right. So two data issues in this report.)
With the methodology, issues, assumptions explained above would you still find this "report" insightful? Would you have made different choices in its creation? How can I make it better next month?
Please share your feedback via comments.