Analysis of Five Top Blogs and What You Can Learn from Them

Inspired by my recent post on How Young is Too Young?, I was contacted by 16-year-old blogger Onibalusi Bamidele who has guest-written this post.

There is a trend among many new (and even old) bloggers. I discovered many of them tend to quit, lose hope, or even become less dedicated to their blogs when it seems they are not seeing any result for a period of time.

In blogging, however, we all know that there is nothing like overnight success and you will only get what you put into it. If you invest your time and hard work into your blog, then you surely will get something great in return.

This post will analyze five of the most popular blogs on the Internet and will detail a lot of factors about them that contribute to their success; hopefully, you can examine some of the factors and improve on yours.
The following blogs will be analyzed:

  1. ProBlogger
  2. Copyblogger
  3. Daily Blog Tips
  4. Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development Blog
  5. Entrepreneur’s Journey

The following factors will be analyzed:

  1. Their blog age.
  2. Their domain name
  3. Their post type – length, frequency and value.
  4. Their monetization strategy
  5. What they have in common

Their Blog Age

I will be using when they started writing blog posts to calculate their blog age which can be found in their blog archives. Based on my findings, Problogger started in 2004, Copyblogger started in 2006, Daily Blog Tips started in 2006, Steve Pavlina’s Blog started in 2004, and Entrepreneur’s Journey started in 2004.

You will notice that all these blogs did not just start yesterday or even last year. They have been around for years now. Yet many bloggers who have not even spent up to a year on their blogs keep complaining about not achieving any results. It is true everybody loves success but we should also not fail to understand that success does not come overnight; it comes after a lot of hard work, persistence, and patience.

I have yet to see a top blog that has not been around for years now, and that is what brings about the joy of it.

Similarly, this is applicable to the “make money online” niche. If that becomes too easy, then everybody will be doing it and it will lose its value.

It takes hard work and patience to make it offline and this is exactly applicable online.

Their Domain Name

Another great thing to analyze from these blogs is their domain name. I personally believe that your domain name will affect your blogging career and how people look at your blog.

It is very important to have a domain name that communicates what you blog about without even visiting it to get that assurance. To that end, if we take a look at the above domain names, we will notice that almost all of them made it easy to know they are about blogging. The only exceptions are Steve Pavlina and Entrepreneur’s Journey which are naturally not in the blogging niche.

Another great thing to note from the above domain names is that they are user friendly and very easy to remember, and most of them are less than 15 characters.

Further, if we also take a close look at some of the domains, you will notice they try to establish a type of authority for the blogger. For example, by looking at ProBlogger, we are being told that the owner is not an amateur but a pro blogger.

Many bloggers will ask “why should I use a name like ‘problogger’ when I don’t know much about blogging?” I will answer this question in a simple manner. Darren registered this domain name when he was not known and when he had no readers. It is how you treat yourself that your readers will treat you. If you begin to call yourself a mediocre now then your readers will regard you as such and it will affect your overall blogging career.

It should be noted that a blogger can still succeed irrespective of the domain name, but the better and more memorable your domain name, the easier it is for you to succeed.

Their Post Type – Length and Value

Many bloggers believe that you should be writing long posts (like Glen does), but I can tell you it depends on you, your writing style, and how best you can convey your message.

Let’s take Techipedia for example. Most posts are long but you will discover that the posts here are not just rehashed junk and have great value to add to you (the reader). It is simple because Tamar discovered that is what works best for her and she adapted to it.

I also love writing long posts because I love to give great value in my posts and I believe that can be done better in a long post. For example, if I’m blogging to tell you the importance of traffic then I should also tell you how to get traffic in the same post.

Short posts also work but you must be ready to update regularly. You will notice Tamar does not post everyday (Glen also does not) because their single posts already convey a lot of information. I prefer this method than a blog that just passes out anything and posts everyday.


Below are the posting frequency of the above blogs:
ProBlogger provides updates everyday, Copyblogger updates almost everyday, Daily Blog Tips has provides updates everyday, Steve Pavlina updates anytime (but regularly), and Entrepreneur’s Journey updates anytime.

You will notice that only half of the above blogs update everyday, while the other half updates when they like but I think this your own choice should depend on your online business model.

If your online business model is to make money from advertisements like AdSense and banner ads then I will suggest you should be updating regularly because the type of visitors who work most with this model are the search engine visitors, so the more regularly you update your blog, the more search engine visit your content and the more you get indexed, the more traffic you will gain.

It is also important to note that these blogs are not just popular because of one thing but because they give value. If you take a look into their blogs, you will notice that they don’t just write anything but they write high quality and informative posts.

Their Monetization Strategy

Many bloggers are of the assertions that using some types of monetization strategy will hinder the growth of your blog; this is true and is not true. You should know that using some types of ads like Kontera (contextual advertising) and the likes on your blog will irritate a large percentage of your readers but using AdSense the right way will not affect your blog.

Even the most popular of these blogs (ProBlogger) uses AdSense and banner ads and I don’t think it is affecting the growth of the blog.

My suggestion is for you to start monetizing now so that you curb the expectation of “free” amongst your readers. For example, my blog is three months old. I have never written a product review on my blog and my posts average 30 comments. However, after writing a product review on my blog recently, after 24 hours I only had 3 comments on the post (which is very unusual). This means I have built an audience who love free information only. Now I must work on correcting this.

All of these blogs also make use of affiliate marketing and it works for them since they have a large audience. However, what I don’t see them use is contextual ads, and I wouldn’t advise any new blogger to use it.

What They Have in Common

What all these bloggers have in common is passion and patience. If they were not patient then they would have quit years back. I am very sure there were some bloggers who started with them and were inspired by them but are no longer blogging. Blogging is really great only if you are ready to work hard and wait patiently for the results.

It is also important to notice that all these bloggers don’t just write anything on their blogs; they write valuable posts only.

MY TIP: Examine your blog now. Is it where you were some months ago or you are improving? It is true all of these blogs were not overnight successes and it took time for them to be where they are but you should also note that growth is a gradual process. If you are where you were six months ago then I would advise you to think twice and examine your blog to know what you are doing wrong, and if you can’t find any then my best advice for you will be to change your niche.

Onibalusi Bamidele is a 16 year old entrepreneur. He blogs at youngprepro.com where he shares some not so common tips. He also write about wordpress on wpkube.com. Get his free ebook on how to make it online.

Blog photo (bottom) by Shutterstock.

44 Comments

  • July 1, 2010

    Virginia

    Don’t remember how I discovered your blog, but I’ve been reading it for a few weeks now. This particular article is top notch and prompted me out of the woodwork into the comments. Thanks for the excellent analysis of what it takes to be a top blogger. I especially appreciate your conclusions about passion and patience.

    • July 1, 2010

      Tamar Weinberg

      Thanks Virginia! Oni did an excellent job on this.

  • July 1, 2010

    David Siteman Garland

    Fantastically useful Tamar (and Oni).

    I may rip it off and do one on video bloggers :) (inspired by this post of course)

    • July 1, 2010

      Tamar Weinberg

      If you’re going to do this, you better make it a guest post here, David ;)

  • July 1, 2010

    John Sullivan

    Cool post.My analysis
    1 Cool
    2 Jerk
    3 Cool
    4 Jerk
    5 Cool
    Basically

    • July 1, 2010

      Tamar Weinberg

      And what are the takeaways? :)

      • July 3, 2010

        aaron wall

        Be polarizing. Clearly!

  • July 1, 2010

    Caryn Sullivan

    As someone who is just about to launch into blogging, I found this informative. Thank you!

    • July 2, 2010

      Onibalusi Bamidele

      Hi Caryn,

      That is really great :)

      Thanks a lot for the nice comment,
      -Onibalusi

      • July 6, 2010

        Marcus

        Hey Onibalusi,

        we have to thank you. This is one great and insightful article you produced there. How long have you been blogging?

        • July 6, 2010

          Onibalusi Bamidele

          Hi Marcus,

          Thanks so much for your nice words, I have been blogging for 6 months now.

          Thanks a lot,
          -Onibalusi

  • July 1, 2010

    Joel Libava

    Awesome job on this post. What a great idea!

    Passion. It’s so obvious that these 5 have it. Big time.

    They are also very consistent. Posts that come from any of these 5 that don’t wow! me, still wow! me.

    The Franchise King®

    • July 2, 2010

      Onibalusi Bamidele

      Exactly Joel,

      They are all passionate and that is why they could last so long in the blogging niche.

      Thanks a lot for the nice comment,
      -Onibalusi

  • July 1, 2010

    Sonia Marsh

    Tamar, Thanks for this guest post by Oni.
    I am at the opposite end, trying to help middle-aged and older writers start blogging in order to develop their author platform. I am reluctant to start adsense and was curious about the comment on using it properly so it’s not offensive. I know I’m using blogger and not Thesis theme on WordPress, but I’m curious if it really makes a huge difference with SEO, or if it’s more of a fad, and blogger with it’s improvements may offer the same. Don’t you think blogger can look professional if you switch to your domain name and follow the (less is more approach) on your template? Thanks. All this info. will help me with my next presentation.

    • July 2, 2010

      Onibalusi Bamidele

      Hi Sonia,

      I am very happy Tamar allowed me to guest post on techipedia and I will be sending in more guest posts soon :)

      Yeah! It is important if you have your personal domain like “yourname.com” because you will notice all the bloggers above use their personal domain name. Blogger is not reliable.

      Thanks a lot for the nice comment,
      -Onibalusi

  • July 2, 2010

    Gloson

    Hi! Great post, Oni! I really like your point about patience and passion – the 2 P’s! Too many bloggers quit blogging because they don’t have both of those qualities. :-)

    • July 2, 2010

      Onibalusi Bamidele

      Hi Gloson,

      Exactly! Lack of patience and passion is what makes so many bloggers fail.

      Thanks a lot for the nice comment,
      -Onibalusi

  • [...] vuoi approfondire la relazione tra tempo vita del blog e il suo successo, ti consiglio di leggere il Guest post di Onibalusi Bamidele imprenditore di 16 (sì avete letto bene sedici anni) anni che h…: analizza proprio questo aspetto con delle interessanti case histories. GD Star Ratingloading… [...]

  • July 3, 2010

    Kwame

    Thanks for putting this quality info forward Oni and Tamar. Patience really is important in every aspect of building a blog. Patience is required in building a community, seeing real results with monetization and building traffic. Some people are able to build a community but fail at monetizing their blogs. Some also build traffic but fail to build a community.

    Learning should also be a point here. Even though these guys are big, they spend some time learning from each other. That’s how come they become better at what they do and also that’s how come they know which articles to link to when they are writing posts.

    This article serves as an encouragement to everyone who wants to make it like the big guys.

    Again, great job.

    • July 3, 2010

      Onibalusi Bamidele

      Yeah Kwame,

      All of them keep learning and working with each other – that is really another great lesson.

      Thanks a lot for the nice comment,
      -Onibalusi

  • July 4, 2010

    Jonathan Cohen

    Hi Onibalusi (and Tamar),

    This is Jonathan from Kontera – thanks for sharing this in depth post :)

    Regarding the potential of your readers finding In-Text ads irritating, in our own experience that isn’t the case. Because users actively have to scroll over the highlighted word to see one of our ads, only people who are actively curious about our ads will even see them. Additionally, unlike some of our of competitors, our In-Text ads are always double underlined so there’s never any confusion that’s it’s an ad.

    Also because of the concept of “banner blindness” where we as a society have become so over-saturated to banner ads that we simply don’t notice them anymore, there’s an entire segment of your readers who’s ad clicks you’d be losing out on completely without In-Text ads.

    Here at Kontera, we’re very focused on our ads becoming integrated with your content, not a distraction from it. That’s why our contextual algorithm was developed to actually read your content for meaning not just scan for keywords like other In-Text ad networks do. This assures that the ads we provide are actually relevant to what you’re writing about, an added level of targeting that leads to higher CTR and better CPC.

    Additionally, because we feature an exclusive ad inventory from some of the biggest brands in the world including Blackberry, L’Oreal, Dominos Pizza, National Geographical, and Microsoft our ads are actively of interest to site visitors. These premium, often Rich-Media ads are the most eye catching, offer the best possible CPC, and are only available through Kontera.

    If either you or any of your readers are interested in becoming part of the Kontera Network, we’re currently offering new publishers a 70% revenue share, which is the best rate in the industry. We’re also offering new publishers a $50 bonus if they get at least 25,000 U.S. page views during their first 30 days on the network; and we recently lowered our minimum payment threshold from $100 to $50 across all payment methods.

    You can learn even more about the Kontera Network, on our Publishers Page: http://www.kontera.com/publishers

    Thanks,

    - Jonathan Cohen
    Kontera Community Manager
    [email protected]

    • July 4, 2010

      Tamar Weinberg

      Jonathan, I appreciate what you’re saying but that opinion isn’t Onibalusi’s alone. Contextual ads with mouseover popups are pretty darn evil. And while I understand and respect Kontera’s business model, it’s extremely irritating and intrusive. Why don’t we see any *major* blogs using that technology? Normally there’s one reason for that: user feedback. The blogs listened to their readers and removed the option.

      Whereas some bloggers want to make a quick buck, others want to provide a stellar user experience for their readers.

      I’ve been really active in the blogosphere for 4-5 years now, and I see blogs all the time trying new things, including big blogs who wanted to try Kontera and Snap. At the end of the day, they’re no longer using contextual ad snap ins anymore because they know that their reader base will drop if that kind of practice is continued.

      I do respect what you’re saying but using snap-ins are much better for smaller publishers who don’t care as much about their user experience. This article was summarizing the top 5 blogs, and those bloggers actually do.

      • July 4, 2010

        Onibalusi Bamidele

        Yeah! Exactly!

        Tamar has said it all.

        What I am trying to analyze is the above 5 blogs and all I noticed from theme in relation to achieving blogging success.

        Thanks a lot for the nice comment,
        -Onibalusi

        • July 25, 2010

          Jonathan Cohen

          Hi Onibalusi & Tamar,

          Actually, Kontera does have a lot of successful blogs on the network – techspot.com, macnn.com, & topspeed.com are some examples that come to mind. Kontera is the biggest In-Text network with over 15,000 publishers and 140 million unique users per month, and that includes everything from major sites like FoxNews.com and MensHealth.com to smaller sites that just generate a couple hundred impressions per day.

          Tamar, regarding your feelings that In-Text ads are irritating, I realize that no form of advertising will ever be 100% embraced. However, comScore, the leading internet marketing research firm recently did a study on Kontera In-Text ads and found among other things, that we’re actually one of the least disruptive ad formats. Only 33% of found Kontera ad to be “very intrusive” compared to 63% for Interstitial ads, 53% for Video ads, 40% for Rectangle ads, and 29% for Banners.

          If you factor in the “banner blindness” issue I mentioned earlier, Kontera’s performance is even more impressive, as people aren’t bothered by banner ads because they flat out don’t see them.

          You can see the full results of the comScore study here: http://www.kontera.com/advertisers/research-results

          The reason Kontera performed so well in the study is because In-Text is the only type of internet ad platform that’s 100% user initiated, meaning only readers who are actively curious scroll over the highlighted keyword even see any ad at all. I realize that occasionally someone will scroll over them accidently or not realize that it’s an ad, but unlike some of our competitors we always make sure our ads are double underlined, as to not confuse them with other kinds of links. By and large, the vast majority of people who see Kontera ads really want to see our ads, and our interested in the products of our premium advertisers.

          Anyway, thanks both of you, for your thoughtful conversation on the issue.

          Best Regards,

          - Jonathan Cohen
          Kontera Community Manager
          [email protected]

          • August 4, 2010

            Tamar Weinberg

            Shrug. I don’t know what to say. First, you replied 3 weeks later. Then, well, I immediately saw the comment but didn’t have a response for you.

            Today, I came across a blog that uses Kontera. I saw the word “babies” highlighted, and when I moused over, it was an ad for Desitin. Maybe that’s somewhat contextual, but when I think of babies, I’d like to think of fun and smiling and giggles and cries — not diaper rash. The same mouseover was generated for “infants” and “birth.” Again, diaper rash? Who even will CLICK on that?

            I just don’t see this being useful, and for me, it was definitely intrusive. If I see a “link,” which this appears to be, I want to click on it (or mouseover it ONLY to see the URL it would be going to), not see a pop-up ad that I can’t make the educated decision to ignore.

  • July 4, 2010

    Howard Shen

    Hey Tamar,

    you got a great post.

    Aside from what I learned, I’m sure my readers over my page would learn, too.

    I’ve shared this post at my site.

    Continue to have a good post! ;)

    Howard

    • July 5, 2010

      Tamar Weinberg

      Thanks Howard! But this was all Onibalusi — I’m honored that he wrote this for Techipedia!

      • July 5, 2010

        Onibalusi Bamidele

        Hi Tamar,

        No, Don’t say that. I am really very humbled to write on your blog.

        Thanks so much,
        -Onibalusi

  • July 14, 2010

    Amy

    Tamar and Oni! Great job! Great job Tamar in recognizing this young talent and great job Oni in doing all the leg work to put this post together clearly and concisely. copyblogger is retweeting you btw!!! There are plenty of folks with passion out there…but too few with patience. That’s for underlining the importance of both! Rock on!

    Amy

    ps. If either of you are attending BlogWorld, I will be speaking Friday 1:30-2:30 — so please introduce yourself if you have the opportunity! Thx!

  • July 15, 2010

    Troy Lilly

    Kudos to Onibalusi (at 16 years old!) and Tamar for a great post on the the secrets to great blogging. This post is an eye-opener for me, particularly since I’m transitioning from emotional blogger to focused, scheduled and consistent blogger.

    You’ve just gained another follower – so I guess that make me reader 1,000,001, lol.

  • July 20, 2010

    Tia

    Oni – This is fantastic. I love that you have nailed some of the harder learned lessons (like age, domain name/blog name, and quality of posts).

    Patience and persistence is key. Being able to change directions, also. Problogger talks about that a few times.

    Cheers,
    Tia

  • July 20, 2010

    Joseph Archibald

    Hmmm, that’s odd, I am leaving a comment on your blog, Tamar – just below Tia’s comment. Tia is one of my icons with regards to social media and sheer “work ethic”. She’s amazing!

    Back to the point, and a great post by Onibalusi!

    I surely “commiserate” with both newer and older-term bloggers regards to quitting. It ain’t no easy ride out there, that’s for sure!

    I would imagine that most newer bloggers expect the so-called promised riches to ascend upon them, given some time and some patience. Little do they know…

    And for the more longer-toothed bloggers. Yup, for sure they get jaded, burned out, whatever… I get burned out every 5th day of the week (give or take…) cos I spend so much time online. But I also figure it in with my own passions which are actually very simple…

    I love life now – I live in Malaysia having upped and relocated from the United Kingdom some months before. I had little money to do that, I just NEEDED to do it! Thus, I did it, and here I am…

    I live off my income from the internet; nothing else. No rich parents supporting me. No pension.

    You don’t need to follow along with the “top bloggers” to make a decent living from this internet stuff. They did it their way, and each to our own. Things are a – changing. No need to buy John Reeses’ new product that will set you back $2k. No need!

    Its good education – as in, you would do a diploma in learning how to make money from blogging. Follow along with Darren Rowse in how to earn money online. Follow along with Yaro in how to make money online. Follow with Aaron Wall in how to avoid Google or they will pentrate your right to privacy. Love your emails by the way, Aaron, as do we all! Sorry, got off the point there.

    Ah, ok that’s not quite the beaten track regards to blogging.

    But othewise, I think each of us have to make our own way with regards to blogging and profiting from such a pursuit. We should indeed learn from the pros. But then, once we graduate, we must proceed with our own rules and regulations.

    Enough I have said, do forgive my chat Tamar!

    Thanks for letting me share!

    Regards
    Joseph

    • July 30, 2010

      Udegbunam Chukwudi

      WOW! This is the kind of comment that TRULY generates traffic for real. I really can’t say anything cos you’ve sad it all. Of recent I’m kinda getting tired of hearing from the “gurus” and I just want to do things my way and make my own mistakes. Funny I thought I was the only that experienced those days when you just too bored to give a hoot about your blog. lol

  • [...] Copyblogger. (If you haven’t you ought to read Oni Bamidele’s post that analyzes five top blogs. He’s spot [...]

  • July 20, 2010

    Joseph Archibald

    Tamar, you got some great stuff going on there in your sidbar regards to awards received!

    Spread them out girlfriend. Just need a bit of clear space to make the most of those, is my own thougts anyhow. Too much going on there. I sense you would benefit from spacing the awards out.

    I bet my blog needs a severe makeover. No one ever tells me though…
    Just my own take on things. Don’t wish to offend, sorry!

    • July 20, 2010

      Tamar Weinberg

      What? Really? That’s just a subset. In any event, the blog will be made over soon enough. ;)

  • July 20, 2010

    Joseph Archibald

    Yes of course Tamar, pardon my voicing up. Just being silly old me, is all. Humbled but yet opinionated… True blogger, after all… ;-)

  • July 26, 2010

    Bryan Wong YH

    I just posted an article about blogging frequency and yes I do agree with you that it really depends on your monetizing model but i also think that it is really up to you. If you re a new blogger and have a fairly new blog, blogging regularly should be something you should do. Of course if you want to continue blogging daily and be consistent with it, get someone to guest post for you.

  • August 2, 2010

    Kathy

    It looks like Oni spent a substantial amount of time on this post, which is commendable.

    I like the point that was made about being patient. I think if you were to interview each of those powerhouse bloggers one on one, you would discover that they all kept plugging away methodically with mediocre results until one day, one particular post got noticed. Then the whole thing started to steamroll from there. On that day, something special happened with their one little blog post. It got noticed by the right people. Then wham! All the traffic they could have ever wanted started funneling into their pages like water onto the rocks at the bottom of Niagara Falls. That one little spark ignited a smoldering fire which eventually grew to what they are today.

  • [...] my favorite young bloggers Onibalusi Bamidele (he’s 16!) who has previously written a great analysis on the top 5 blogs and now is taking his evaluation to [...]

  • September 16, 2010

    Scolex

    I have to think if i’m gonna remove my Infolinks ads. What’s your advice guys?

    So far, i did not earn from it because my traffic is approx. 500 a day. I can’t monetize my blog thru adsense because i was banned in the early stage of this blog.

    I also realized that having a custom domain name is a must for a blog. That’s why i moved my blog to custom domain. I like my domain name without blogspot in its tail.

  • September 24, 2010

    articwoof.com

    Analysis of Five Top Blogs and What You Can Learn from Them » Techipedia | Tamar Weinberg…

    Inspired by my recent post on How Young is Too Young?, I was contacted by 16-year-old blogger Onibalusi Bamidele who has guest-written this post. There is a…

  • February 16, 2011

    Harshit Singhal

    Really nice analysis ! The crux of the matter is that blogging requires a lot of patience & consistency.

  • March 19, 2011

    Scolex

    Reading different blogs especially blogs about blogging really helped me improved my skills in blogging.

    Some things i learned from them is all about SEO and how to gain more traffic through search engines. With that, i enjoyed the benefits brought about by the traffic towards my blog. And with the things i learned about SEO, i also shared some SEO tips that will help improve a newly established blog.