5 Ways to Imitate the 10 Most Popular Blogs

Want to make your blog just like the 10 most popular blogs in the world? Here are 5 unmistakable ways to imitate the blogosphere’s giants:

1. Publish frequently.
2. Have a team.
3. Offer hot news.
4. Have an attitude.
5. Be visual.

Let’s explore each point a bit.

1. Publish Frequently

Very frequently. If you don’t post at least once per weekday, good luck trying to fit in with the blogosphere top 10.

Nearly all of these blogs post several times daily. Some post 10-20 times or more every day. 50 blog posts in the last 24 hours wouldn’t raise any eyebrows in this crowd (Gawker has churned out 46).

Frequent posting boosts blog popularity in two major ways:

  • It keeps the search engines happy
  • It gets human attention

But posting every two or three hours isn’t exactly compatible with most bloggers’ lifestyles.

Which leads to point number two …

2. Have a team.

Each of the top 10 blogs is a “team blog” – it either has several authors who share the posting duties (like TechCrunch) or allows reader submissions (like I Can Has Cheezburger).

Spreading the publishing responsibilty among multiple authors means that “many hands make light work.”

It also enhances the blog’s marketability and virality – wouldn’t you rather have a team of five or ten to promote your blog for you than do it all yourself?

The main drawbacks to team blogging?

Well, you give up some editorial control. And there’s a risk that someone on your team could compromise your blog’s security or publish damaging information.

Also, coming up with something to say might be more difficult when you’re on a team; the other authors could take the words right out of your mouth.

Which may be why nine of the world’s top 10 blogs:

3. Offer hot news.

While advice and opinion do account for some of the biggest blogs’ content, the bulk falls under a single heading.


Often, it’s not just this morning’s news either. It’s this-just-in, pedal-to-the-metal, flaming-hot-off-the-press breaking news.

Notice the first two words next to the number 1 in the listing for the world’s most popular blog, The Huffington Post.

Breaking news.

Original news reporting boosts blog popularity like little else. If you’re a constant source of interesting stuff to talk about, people will come to you constantly.

The only non-news publisher in the global blogging top 10 is I Can Has Cheezburger, which focuses on humor.

Which reminds me of point #4:

4. Have an attitude.

Each of the top 10 blogs on earth has a distinct voice, a certain unique feel, that pervades its content, design and community.

If someone called your blog “TechCrunchy,” you’d know what they meant, right?

Same goes for “Lifehackery” or “Gizmodo-y.” Definitely for “Boing-Boingy.”

There’s a tasty mixture of snark, charm and/or flair present in each of the top 10 blogs.

Attitude is memorable. Blandness ain’t.

And (obviously) the memorable tends to become more popular than the forgettable.

See Also
The Importance of Being Kind to Yourself; And How To Do It

So, given that most people have a single dominating sense called sight that provides most of their daily input, it’s not surprising that point #5 is …

5. Be visual.

Every single blog on the worldwide top 10 list features at least one image or video in nearly every post. Ars Technica is the only one that doesn’t also include those images on its homepage.

Check your blog’s last 10 posts. If two or more of them are nothing but text, it’s not like the most popular blogs of all.

Images draw the eye into an article’s text and give it more impact.

In some cases (*cough* icanhascheezburger *cough*), they become a blog’s centerpiece and the driving force behind its popularity.

So if you want to imitate (collectively speaking) the biggest blogs of all, post frequently with a team of bloggers offering hot news with an attitude and lots of visuals.

Easier said than done, I know, I know. :)

So what does all this mean?

Well, it doesn’t mean that popularity equals quality.

Or that doing these five things will guarantee your blog a place in Technorati’s Top 10.

But it does mean that there are certain attributes that the most popular blogs have in common, and which are likely to help your blog become more popular.

I challenge you to take a close look at the Technorati Top 10 – and, if you have the time, the whole Top 100 – and decide now to imitate something about one or more blogs on that list.

At the very least, you should have some fun doing it.

At the most, well … maybe you’re the world’s future blogger numero uno.

What Do You Think?

What are some other ways to imitate these 10 highly popular and influential blogs? How do you decide whether your blog should be like them? Is all this talk of imitation useful or ridiculous?

View Comments (22)
  • I got my first blogging lesson based on imitation from a blog called Skelliewag. She taught me that you could build a brand/website simply on being extremely helpful to her readers. She just kept giving and giving and offering free advice and services until she had build a humongous reader base.

    She was the first to take “being helpful” all the way to remarkable. Thus she gained subscribers and links and authority.

    Now, how can I apply “being insanely helpful” to my own niche? Hmmm…..

  • Patrick and Gayla – hey, I know you guys!

    Patrick, Skellie is a genius. I totally agree – she proved that being helpful can generate tons of popularity. I think all the top 10 blogs in the world are extremely helpful to their target audiences – whether by helping them laugh or learn.

    Gayla, thank you so much! I hope it helps.

  • Aruni, thanks for stopping by. Glad you brought up the point that it doesn’t have to be a blog’s goal to become super-popular. Just trying to be useful will never go out of style.

  • Hi Easton
    A very interesting analysis/comparison, especially if you want to be in the Top 10. Obviously that is a measure that will appeal to some. Others need to ask, so why would I want my blog to be in the Top 10? Or even the Top 100? Just for the fame? For dollars from advertising opportunities? And that would hopefully prompt the question, what is the purpose of this blog? I don’t think any of us would *mind* being in the Top 10, but from a business point of view I’m always asking what the purpose is of the blog before I can make sense of what a particular measurement might mean in terms of the blog’s achievement. But a great suggestion to study these high achievers and take from them what could work for the rest of us.

  • Very well! Great tips with major impact on blogging success!

    In my opinion, #1 and 5 can be less difficult to obtain. #2 and 3 are very difficult to achieve, #4 could be really tricky…

  • Des, very true. A corollary or follow-up post to this might be “Why are you blogging?” or “How to Decide Whether to Imitate Popular Blogs.”

    I guess there’s a #6 I could add. Get lucky/blessed. Be in the right place at the right time. But I think that plays only a very small role in nearly all cases.

  • I have been wondering how to improve my site, how to increase that traffic and rankings, and I am so glad to learn some good points from your article. You are really Helpful!! Thank you Easton! =)

  • Hey, tips that really work and are useful!

    Is there a way to add/control /edit team members and their posts? Does this create an inordinate amount of work as HMFBIC?

    Creat site, by the way. I’ll be subscribin’

  • Absolutely great information. I have found that posting frequently with good quality information…displayed in a unique way gives the reader something to look forward to.

  • This list is a helpful “nudge” for aspiring bloggers (or bloggers aspiring for more popularity!). I find that item #4 is a difficult one, in the sense that it can take some time, experience and experimentation to “find your voice”.

  • This is great advice. Lol, now to get the team. I work so hard in my business to get the word out. I donate part of the proceeds to a great cause in every show that I produce. The great thing about my business, is that there is always a need for it. When someone is launching a new product, having a corporate meeting, a family occasion, or any event in general, it all can use live entertainment to enhance the campaign. I’m currently working on trying to get a website together so it can get out there. Blogging is the way. Check out my MySpace page (soon to be a website) and see what I do.

    All the best.


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