So who IS the most popular beer blogger in Britain?

How do you measure popularity in the blogging world? Wikio believes it has the answer: take each blogger and assess “the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs”. It then produces a ranking of “the most influential blogs in the UK and Irish blogospheres”.

But having seen my own Wikio ranking bwoing wildly up and down over the past three months on the basis of what I know (because I track the links into my blog) are tiny, tiny differences in the numbers of links being made from one month to the next, I don’t believe Wikio rankings are actually reflecting anything meaningful. And yes, because I have a big ego (or I wouldn’t be a blogger), I do look at people higher than me in the Wikio listings, and think: “I can’t believe HE’S more influential than I am …” (Incidentally, if you believe you may be the “HE” referred to there, don’t worry, chances are it’s someone else. Or not.)

Is there a better way of measuring blog popularity? Well, sheer numbers of visits is a good one: and you can gather that information for any website, by entering its url at Webdatah here and within 60 seconds or so out will pop your global website rank courtesy of Alexa (which is part of Amazon). Now, Ron Pattinson is not the only nerdy number-cruncher who can whip up an Excel spreadsheet around here, so after some tedious data-gathering, I can now present to you the Z-A league table (that’s Zythophile-Alexa, not Zak Avery) of British beer bloggers, as ranked by Alexa’s measurement of average daily visitors and pageviews for the past month.

(Update: indeed, now I’ve checked even further down through Wikio’s listings, a site it reckons is only the 22nd most influential beer blog in these islands IS ACTUALLY THE FOURTH MOST VISITED. Which downgrades Wikio’s methodology even further, to me: because if you’re the fourth most visited, you ain’t merely the 22nd most influential …)

So here is the (updated)

British and Irish Beer Blogger Popularity League Feb 2010

Rank

Beer blogger

Wikio rank*

Alexa rank

1

Pete Brown

2

736804

2

Roger Protz

872420

3

Zythophile

14

941275

4

Beer Reviews

22

1485371

5

Pencil & Spoon (Mark Dredge)

1

1538974

6

Called tt Bar (Adrian Tierney-Jones)

15

1850744

7

Cooking Lager

1975155

8

Blogo’beer

18

2022606

9

Tandleman

4

2094069

10

Boak & Bailey

9

2235638

11

Real Ale Blog

19

2336963

12

Ron Pattinson (Shut Up ABP)

2714420

13

Zak Avery/The Beer Boy

2799176

14

Real Ale Reviews

10

2979415

15

Beer Nut

6

3161166

16

Ed’s Beer Site

4501701

17

Pubology

25

4543510

18

Pub Curmudgeon

5

4581891

19

I Might Have a Glass of Beer

4868024

20

Woolpack Dave

3

5075208

21

Jeff Pickthall

8

5231616

22

Good People Eats

21

5297850

23

Bitten Bullet

7

7260854

24

Beer Justice

24

7347810

25

Reluctant Scooper

13

7366287

26

Taking t Beard oo Beer (Melissa Cole)

16

7495344

27

Impy Malting

11

8630471

28

The Beer Diary

26

9426809

29

Southport Drinker

20

9836244

30

Tyson’s Beer Blog

17

11427379

31

Brew Wales

12

12076670

* Wikio rank given after taking out Brew Dog (not really a blog), Stonch (no longer blogging) and the wine bloggers

The cynics among you are muttering that I would prefer this table, because suddenly I’m up from the lower reaches of the top 20 to number 3. And you’re right, of course. But I know how many visits this blog gets each month, I know, because I’ve investigated the figures, that it’s around 10 times more than the average blog, of any sort, gets, and that doesn’t seem to be reflected in the Wikio rankings.

Indeed, the difference between the Z-A rankings and Wikio’s is fascinating: Pete Brown easily number one, Roger Protz, who is still, for many, the public face of real beer in Britain, at number two. A surprise to many may be Beer Reviews at number four: I suspect its ranking is down as much to its name as its content. If you’re looking for beer reviews, you’ll go to a site with that name on the tin. But look at where Cooking Lager is! Whoo-hoo, well done Cookie, it couldn’t happen to a more contrarian chap. I’m sure he’ll be furious to be there up just behind the likes of me, RP and ATJ as seventh most popular beer blogger in Britain – a popularity his many fans (of whom I am one) will say is entirely deserved.

Now, Cooking and Roger Protz aren’t, afaik, tracked by Wikio at all, and neither are several others on this list. But among those that are tracked, there are some surprising falls, and rises. Not sure why Woolpack Dave plunges so far: it suggests he gets a lot of links compared to his readership. The same is true of a couple of others. Adrian TJ shoots up almost as far as me, however, and Blogobeer and the Real Ale Blog are also high risers.

I’m sure all the beer bloggers reading this will be checking their figures at Webdatah: if you find what you believe are errors in my analysis or you believe you should be in the table, stfu do let me know. I’ll try to come back and do this again in a couple of months.

0 thoughts on “So who IS the most popular beer blogger in Britain?

  1. I’m sure, a bit like government statistics, these things can be interpreted in many ways.

    Wikio, rightly or wrongly, put some sort of quality factor on the visit volume. Perhaps also some measure of time spent on the blog by readers. My visit stats suggest the average visitor spends a long time reading my stuff.

    What I believe really does help is commenting on other peoples blogs because it provides relevant back-links to your own blog.

    Roger Protz’ RSS feed doesn’t seem to work, which might explain that little anomaly.

    At the end of the day though, as with anything, there are many ways to measure performance. For any activity that takes time the ultimate measure of sucess is money. Blogging doesn’t pay, so I expect I’ll get bored of it soon. That’ll be another “HE” out of the way.

  2. Intresting stuff! Even more interesting if you go via http://www.alexa.com/ and look at the rankings for individual countries, Pete B seems to do really well in Denmark…

    It’s quite good fun watching everyone’s rankings going up and down, im a bit of an analytics geek (partly to do with my job) so it’s interesting looking at the different ways sites are ranked for various best of lists, I know which blogs i read most and that’s all that really matters isn’t it?

    • Yes, speaking as Mr. 20, I wasn’t aware I could get dual nationality. Can I? Not that I want it, mind. Happy being Irish and European.

      And still happy to be in the top 20, whatever system is being used 😉

      • Apologies to you too, Barry, My Irish wife and all her relatives will probably be clubbing me with a copy of Michael Collins’s biography …

      • If you have a grandparent born in the UK (which included all of Ireland until 1922) you can claim your citizenship. Not much point though: visas for UK nationals are often more expensive and their consular service tends not be as good as Ireland’s.

      • I remember an English colleague referring to it as “this Western European Archipelago”, which I found amusing, especially as it seemed like he was trying to make amends for his business partner who referred to Britain as “the mainland” while speaking to an assembly of Irish customers in Trinity College, Dublin. And that guy was a Director of Marketing! 😀

        (I really don’t care)

        • It’s always amused me, when I’m in Ireland, that Irish people won’t say “the British Isles”: the Pretanni, after whom the archipelago was named, were either Celtic, or Pre-Celtic. And if they were the same as the Cruithni, and the Cruithni were the same as the Picts (scholars disagree), they lived in both Britain and Ireland.

          • People who find geography offensive amuse me no end. It’s probably their fault that Norway is now depicted on euro coins so Sweden and Finland don’t look as obscene.

            I’m not, incidentally, convinced of the notion that the British Isles were “Celtic”. Isn’t that a bit of a discredited Victorian theory these days?

          • Now THAT is a whole nother debate – genetically you’re closely related to the Basques, I believe …

  3. Nice post and thanks for the tip about webdatah (althought I can’t fully work out what it’s telling me for my blog).

    As someone who is pretty new to the beer blogging world (and doesn’t feature in the top 1000 …. let alone top 10), I don’t really pay much attention to these ratings. More rewarding for me is people commenting and discussing the things I write.

    The good thing about the Wikio debate though, is that it does highlight decent blogs which you might not otherwise know about. This one for example, I found through the wikio debate.

    BeerBirraBier.

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  5. Standing still again, story of the last year one feels! Interesting piece – well done for taking the time, it’s something I wouldn’t have any patience for!!!

    • Yes, Andy, but as you’re a first time commentator here you have to wait to be approved, and I’m not so sad that I hover constantly over this blog. Now you’ve been approved, you can comment away as frequently as you like and your words should appear instanter.

    • Indeed, KA, that’s why you, Evan, PF and several other European beer-bloggers-in-English don’t appear, that and you’re not in the Wikio list either: the Irish appear in the Wikio list so they’re here, and Ron’s here for the almost entirely arbitrary reason that I wanted to include him and it’s my table and my rules …

  6. Well I’m in the top ten at least, so I’m not complaining as I take all these things with a pinch of salt.

    One observation I’d make is that professional beer writers with a high profile like Roger and Pete should do better on numbers. And they do.

    It’s all interesting though.

  7. Excellent post. Thanks for doing the hard work that I’m too lazy to have bothered with. Can’t say I’m a fan of Wkio. I signed up when it started, but withdrew once it became apparent how it operates. If there is going to be a list (and there always will be!) I think the system you highlight is much more logiocal. Even though it ranks me lower:)

    The example of Cookie is a good indication. He’s a clever boy and has many fans. The nature of his posts means he won’t get as many links as others do, but you would expect him to be up there as I know his readership is high. You could be starting something here, though. But be warned-even the might Ron has been known to draw the wrong conclusions from the available data.

    • “even the might Ron has been known to draw the wrong conclusions from the available data.”

      Oh, I’ve done that myself, and as a journo I know the embarrassment of the printed apology – though I’ve never had to apologise in court in front of a judge, as a colleague once did. I nearly embarrassed myself in the first iteration of this table by not going down through the Wikio listings far enough and thus missed out the Beer Review guys. I’m sure there are others I’ve missed out, and I’m hoping they’ll contact me so they can be included in the next version.

    • Sorry, you can blame the Beer Justice, who made me look at the lower reaches of Wikio’s listings this morning and realise there were several people who Wikio was doing an injustice to (see new table)

  8. Interesting stuff. I too take these things with a pinch of salt. Charts and number of hits can so often be misleading and or subjective. Being a sad individual into maths and messing around with data I very much like this post, although I tend to be more interested in the mechanics of arriving at answers rather than answers themselves. I suppose when one blogs one hopes that someone out there is going to read it, and I’m keen to bring in as wide an audience as possible, but popularity per se doesn’t greatly interest me. I’m registered with a few things like Wikio in the vague hope it will bring in new visitors.

  9. I never managed to get my blog to appear in Wikio at all. I don’t care if I’m the 4918th most popular, just finding it would do!

    I doubt this listing is the whole story either. I mean, I’m pretty sure more people read Melissa Cole and Impy Malting than read me, but I post more often than they do which means more unique visits.

    Ultimately I measure the popularity of my blog by the number of comments I get. We all want recognition from our peers, but being “top blogger” doesn’t have any intrinsic value.

  10. Well I have to say I’ve thought about joining the wankings…sorry rankings race but frankly i’m not intelligent enough to sort it out.
    More than that it’s just an ego thing, i’m only interested to know whether or not people are reading my blog and whether or not i’m wasting my time writing it. I won’t stop writing it even if loads of people say it’s shite though because I enjoy the process of ‘cleansing my brain’.
    I enjoy your blog Zythophile, keep it up!

  11. The real problem with the rankings as far as I can tell is that my little insular part of the blogosphere (gak!) crushes you all. Crushes. You. All.

    Yet all that 406,228 Alexa ranking for my space means is there is motion towards my content – not that it is either good content, either qualitatively or qualitatively. I have just been at it longer and have been at it at a manic pace. As with other effects beery, it is really only about girth. This is not to give you carte blanch to crap on what I post but is to point out that these rankings are only gross postings stats.

    […but, that being said, I do like knowing I crush all of Europe in relation to something…]

    • That’s very impressive indeed, Alan, as far as I can tell from a quick check around North America, you win the “big willy on the table” challenge – you’re way ahead of Lou Bryson (796,283) and Stan Hieronymous (514,995), and you’re beating Jay Brooks (467,145). However, Joe Sixpack, the Philly News beer blogger, wipes everybody’s arse – 2,312. (though his own website comes in at only 1,131,825).

  12. Interesting indeed. Obviously I’m not interested in the ranking, I just write for the enjoyment not for the accolade.

    But were I ever to be interested in such things then I’d be claiming my rightful place at no 16……….

  13. Hi all, sorry to join the party so late. Those of you who would like to check we have properly indexed their blog please contact me on info AT wikio DOT co DOT uk.

    Cheers!

    Dan
    Wikio UK

  14. Interesting to learn about Alexa – my defunct blog’s traffic rank is currently 2,071, 172 – which would place it at 9th in your chart – meaning that more people are visiting my old, dead posts than are reading the new ones for all but the top eight in your list… funny.

  15. One thing to bear in mind about Alexa is that it’s data-collection and therefore its results are heavily skewed towards users of the Alexa Toolbar (see their FAQ section for more info).

    Which means that if you want to boost your position in the Alexa rankings, the best way to do so is 1) install their Toolbar software (if you’re happy to have yet another memory-drinking 3rd party app slowing down your browser performance), 2) set your blog to be your browser homepage and then 3) watch your site leap up the rankings.

    On the other hand, if you want a more accurate and software-neutral overview of your blog’s performance, then (speaking as a digital marketing pro) I highly recommend Google Analytics. You get a vast amount of traffic data for absolutely nothing (well, apart handing Google all your data on a plate, but let’s face it they’re going to be gathering that anyhow so you might as well get something useful in return) and can use it to perform much more insightful analysis than just a rough-and-ready top-20 measure of who everyone else has been linking to recently…

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