How to Research & Identify Top Websites & Blogs in Your Category

Searching for best blogs / Marcel Germain

Flickr / Marcel Germain

I often advise new bloggers to identify the top blogs or communities for their target audience, and build relationships with those bloggers. (Don’t see blogging as a competition. It’s a community.)

But then the question arises, how do you identify the top websites and blogs in your category or for your audience?

Here are free methods and resources you can use. Don’t rely on any single resource—try them all. You’ll get different results.

  1. Technorati (blog index). Drill down by whatever category best fits your audience or type of work. Or, click here for the books category.
  2. StumbleUpon. It can be frustrating to search this systematically, but give it a shot. E.g., the first result to come up during a “romance” search is All About Romance, which is one of the top-ranked sites appealing to romance readers.
  3. AllTop. You can search by keyword or browse categories.
  4. Twitter. Using Twitter’s recommended follows by category, you can identify influential people, then visit their site and see who they follow and recommend. Alternatively, try WeFollow.
  5. Google. Try searching for “top blogs” + keywords for your audience or category. Imagine what your target audience might search for, and see what Google uncovers. You can also try “top 10 blogs for XYZ.” Top 10 lists are exceptionally common and popular.
  6. Try the blog awards. The two most common are the Webby Awards and the Bloggies, but such awards typically don’t drill very deep into a category or audience, which makes them less helpful for authors.
  7. Blogrolls. Once you’ve identified a few top sites or blogs, check their blogrolls or resource lists to find others.
  8. Finally, crowdsource an answer. If you use Twitter, Facebook, or another community site, post a question soliciting other people’s favorite sites and blogs.

With No. 9 in mind, I hope you’ll share your favorite techniques for uncovering the top blogs or sites for a specific category or audience.

 

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Posted in Marketing & Promotion.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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