Sunday Series: Traffic Rises to Political Blogs

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Image from: Political Parties / shutterstock

News and political blogs grew 11% in April with over 14 million Unique Visitors (UVs)–making it the one of the Top 20 fastest growing categories (according to Compete PRO). It was a busy news month–reflected in the second fastest growing site online: CNN.com. Below are ten of the news and political blogs with the largest increases in monthly UVs. The list naturally split almost evenly along party lines: six lean left and four lean right. The top two sites in the category both made the list: The Blaze, with over four million UVs and Politico with just shy of two million UVs.

I noticed major differentiator between the liberal and conservative blogs on the list: their incoming traffic sources. The Liberal blogs[1] received more traffic from Google, while Conservative blogs[2] received more traffic from Facebook. All six of the liberal blogs on the list received more referral traffic from Google than Facebook. Google was the top incoming traffic source for all but one of the liberal blogs–The Ledge, which is a subdomain of NYTimes.com. Facebook was the top incoming traffic  source for three of the four conservative blogs. Facebook was not even on the top 25 list of incoming traffic sources for one of the conservative blogs, RightPundits.com. Not surprising, as their Facebook page only has  357 ‘likes’ [as of 5/17/2013].

news and politics blog sunday series 2

[1] Liberal Blogs: politico.com, thelede.blogs.nytimes.com, good.is, firedoglake.com, americablog.com, globalvoicesonline.org.
[2] Conservative Blogs: therightscoop.com, rightpundits.com, freebeacon.com, theblaze.com.

About Carro Halpin:
Carro is excited to join the Compete team as the Digital Marketing Co-op for Compete.com, with a focus on all things social media. A third-year student at Northeastern University, Carro is pursuing a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Political Science. She has a passion for digital media. Follow her on Twitter @carrohalpin or connect on Google+

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  1. Robert Black

    I probably spend more time than I should on political blogs, in my case UK based ones such as newspapers, Guido Fawkes, etc. One day I’ll write my own article about this, but I really think we as marketers can learn an awful lot from political blogs.

    For now here’s one or two observations:

    The same commenters appear on different articles on the same day. They are not just interested in commenting on one topic but a whole series of them.

    The same commenters appear day in day out, week in week out. Visiting blogs/new sites is an integral part of their daily routine.

    The same commenters appear across a wide range of sites, not just the same single one. It’s fair to assume that not everyone will have the same user name on each blog, so this practise is almost certainly more widespread than is apparent. This reinforces the view that commenting on political blogs is a daily part of their lives.

    Commenters are passionate about their opinions. I guess that goes without saying.

    Commenters do not just leave their comments agreeing or disagreeing with the article, but engage positively and negatively with other commenters.

    Conclusion: imagine if we as marketers could harness just a tiny fraction of the passion and enagagement on political blogs and apply that to our own sites…

    That’s without even looking at the monetization methods used on these sites. Yep, there’s a lot we can learn from political bloggers.

    Reply

    • Carro Halpin

      Hi Robert, thank you so much for your insightful comment! Interesting comparison and observations. Marketers all want lots of quality comments on their posts, but don’t practice what they preach. We receive a lot of comments that don’t add any value, such as “Great post!” We don’t approve those comments. Why should someone get a free link back to their site without contributing anything meaningful?

      Commenters need to stop being lazy and form an opinion, and content creators must publish thought-provoking content. Political blogs don’t publish posts just for the sake of creating more content, they do it to spark discussions and to educate. Too often in marketing I see content and comments just adding to the noise as everyone is narrowly focused on their own SEO and SEM rankings. Where is the community and the passion? They say the quickest way to succeed is to help other people.

      Reply