New data: Technorati releases second and third parts of its blogger survey

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Blog indexing company Technorati released more data in the last couple of days from its new blogosphere survey. In part two and three of its report, the company has more to say about the profiles and habits of bloggers. (See my coverage of part one here.) The summary: bloggers are a diverse lot, but not so raggedy as their stereotype would have you believe.

Blogging is proving to be a path to fame. Beyond that, bloggers are seeing a variety of benefits as they create stronger connections with their audiences.

The first day’s data provoked some interesting responses. ReadWriteWeb suggested the data shows blogging is narrowing and slowing down, compared to previous years. But Technorati said that its methodology for counting blogs has changed from past years and that it is much better at weeding out tens of millions of spam blogs now. It also noted it’s hard to count blogs because it isn’t clear whether MySpace blogs should be counted or not.

Some questioned the results. How can bloggers with just 100,000 unique visitors say they make as much as $75,000 a year from blogging? (The answer: $75,000 was an average for the category, which included some bloggers who had more than a million visitors a month). While Technorati indexes 133 million blogs, only about 1.2 million have registered themselves on the site. The company chose to send it surveys to a random sample of these registered bloggers, so it’s important to note that the surveyed bloggers included only those who were savvy enough and driven enough to have registered with Technorati in the first place. The stay-at-home mom blogging about her favorite recipies with no drive to make money on her blog may not be represented. Technorati received almost 1,300 responses from 66 countries.

The survey questions were crafted by Michelle Madansky and Polly Arenberg, third-party media market research consultants. It’s not a perfect survey, as the results are also skewed to reflect who is willing to talk. It is worth noting that 79 percent of the respondents do “personal” blogging, meaning they write about things that reflect personal interests, as opposed to corporate or group interests. Here is a link to the methodology.

Second day data

The second-day data shows that many bloggers are profiting from in-person (like a conference, parties or “meet-ups”) or online events. About 47 percent of corporate bloggers (those who blog as part of their corporate duties) have created such events for readers, while 39 percent of professional bloggers (those who blog for a living) and 30 percent of personal bloggers (unpaid) have done so. About 27 percent of those surveyed report that blogging has led to participation in an interest group event such as a fan gathering, a blogger roundtable (24 percent), or a broadcast media appearance (17 percent).

“What this says is that bloggers have been able to achieve close engagement with an audience,” said Richard Jalichandra, Technorati’s chief executive.

Roughly 54 percent of those surveyed say they’re better known in their industry as a result of blogging. Some 26 percent consider their blogs to be useful as resumes for potential employers. And 16 percent say they have more visibility with executives as a result of blogging.

But they are concerned about privacy. Some 44 percent worry that their family and friends might be exposed or harassed as a result of the blogging. About 22 percent are concerned that family or friends would disapprove of the blogging.

At the same time, they say blogging has helped them make new friends. About 67 percent say they have made friends with people online that they have never communicated with in person. Another 60 percent say they are more involved in their hobbies and interests as a result of blogging.

The survey also indicates that bloggers gauge their success with these metrics, in order of importance: personal satisfaction (75 percent), number of posts or comments (58 percent), number of unique visitors (53 percent), and number of links to their blog from other sites (46 percent). The least cited metric of success was the number and quality of new business leads (10 percent).

As for their reasons for blogging: 79 percent of those surveyed said they do it to “speak my mind on areas of interest.” About 73 percent said they do it to “share my expertise and experiences with others.” And 62 percent said they do it to “meet and connect with like minded people.” Only 14 percent said they do it to attract new business clients.

More females described their styles as sincere or humorous than males, who leaned toward the humorous and motivation. Jalichandra noted that, while there’s a perception of blogs being snarky, very few bloggers described themselves as such. But he noted that, whatever the tone of bloggers to begin with, once major brands and advertisers engage with them, their tone becomes more objective.

“Anecdotally, when a brand engages, the snarkiness goes away because bloggers love to be taken seriously,” Jalichandra said. “The minute you show them respect, they are willing to be more objective.”

The topics covered in the second part of the Technorati survey are diverse. Personal musings ranked No. 1 (54 percent of bloggers), while technology was second (46 percent). News ranked 42 percent and politics was 35 percent. The majority of bloggers surveyed reported having ads on their sites, of which about 38 percent said they used search ads, 28 percent display ads, 20 percent affiliate marketing links, and 6 percent paid postings. On average, according to the survey, bloggers wrote about five different topics.

Third day data

Bloggers are dedicating a lot of time to their work. One in four bloggers is blogging more than 10 hours a week. Over half of the top bloggers post five or more times per day.

On average, the top 100 blogs posted an average of 310 times in the month of June. The next 500 posted only an average of 125 times.

Bloggers are also serious about promoting their work so that it spreads as far as possible. The top authority bloggers — those who are linked to by other bloggers the most — are twice as likely to put tags on their posts compared to other bloggers. They use RSS feeds, video, photos, and mobile updates as tools to make their blogs more robust.

Bloggers almost always use a commenting system — 85 percent of the time. They archive posts by date or category 84 percent of the time. And they build in syndication 82 percent of the time. They include search boxes 70 percent of the time and use widgets about 66 percent of the time. Only about 17 percent, however, use mobile updating tools. Some 31 percent use Twitter or real-time updating applications.

Bloggers say they attract visitors by listing their blogs on Technorati (83 percent), commenting on other blogs (77 percent), listing their blogs on Google (73 percent), and tagging blog posts (68 percent). But only 4 percent pay for online ads and 24 percent produce content for other blogs or web sites. (Skew alert: Certainly, the Technorati mention is very promotional for the blog index company, and don’t forget here that this is a survey where all of the respondents have registered with Technorati.)

The result: half of active blogs attract more than 1,000 monthly visitors.

Only one in 20 don’t know their monthly traffic. About two thirds of bloggers use Google Analytics as their most-common tracking tool. About 8 percent of blogs have more than 100,000 monthly page views and 6 percent have more than 50,000 unique visitors.

As for investments, the range is from $50 to $200,000 per year, while the mean is an investment of $1,020 per year.

The most popular tags used in blog posts: news, followed by music, video, Internet, blog, politics, life, business, videos and movies. Naturally, posts about Barack Obama peaked during the Democratic National Convention, while John McCain tags spiked on the day he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin herself had more tagged posts than McCain or Obama after speech at the Republican National Convention.

About 9 percent of corporate and professional bloggers have paid staff help. Another 13 percent have unpaid help.


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