There’s some good things happening out in the blog news field of late; competition is good for readers and it’s good for blog news junkies (like me 🙂 ). Each site has some great strengths, and yet none of them look like taking a clear lead in terms of what they are delivering at the moment.
The Blog Herald
My old love in life has taken a different turn since I’ve sold it to BlogMedia. Matt came in for some criticism at first, but it’s never easy piloting a bloody great big oil tanker, you have to learn how to steer the ship, and it can take time. The site is now really kicking again, but in a different way to when I use to run it. It’s become, as I think I read someone else describing it (if it was you, let me know) tabloidish, lots of nice bite size pieces mixed in with some podcasts and personal stuff. It’s become easily digestible.
The Blogging Journalist
Horrible aesthetics, great read. Munirs doing a lot of stuff like I use to do at The Blog Herald, digging and posting about blogging related stuff that you might not read elsewhere…much of which to many might seem boring but I like this sort of stuff…. I’d think of the 3 I’d probably follow links from this site the most.
The Blogging Times
(disclosure, I write a weekly column here) Minic was doing a good job here, and yet the involvement of Chartreuse and others is taking the site to the next level. I absolutely love the layout and the way they are categorizing stuff…and as an extension of this how they are pursuing bringing in different writers as well to write regular columns (ok, I’m one of these, but as an idea I think it’s superb). I’m not party to what their future aims are with the site, but it just continues to improve…it feels like a newspaper and nearly reads like on as well…nice mix of opinion and news posts.
For all 3 though, they are lacking one thing, and as much as I’d rather focus on the positives, call this free advice.
All 3 are failing to break stories.
Sure, very few blogs can honestly say they break stories, and yet as much as great content, be that opinion, podcasts, videocasts, how to posts etc… make for good traffic, breaking news will put the site which does it well, and most often, ahead of the rest.
The biggest posts, the ones that drove new readers and traffic at my days at The Blog Herald were always where I’d break a story first or close enough to first that I was often quoted as the source.
Being in far flung Western Australia always had me behind the 8 ball when it came to being first because unlike sites like Techcrunch today where the bulk of the team is on the West Coast of the US and actually meet face to face with enough people to give them a free heads up, I was far removed from the action, and yet I still managed to break news fairly regularly. The sources were always interesting, sometime it was feedback from conferences (forwarded group emails were always fun). Other times it was disgruntled employees. Sometimes I couldn’t verify the tips (Microsoft with Spaces and Yahoo with 360 come to mind) and I published anyway, other times I published things that I probably shouldn’t have, in retrospect, published. There were also times where I didn’t publish tips (they just seemed to far fetched) and a week later someone else would publish them instead and get all the credit. It’s a hard game but a game that is not only enjoyable, but worthy of pursuit for a news site that wants to be the top of its game.
The Blog Herald has the advantage of incumbancy so is in the strongest position to be the blog news leader (note I’m not talking traffic here because obviously The Blog Herald is a mile in front), and yet if either of the other two start breaking news regularly statistics and readership may well change.
Food for thought.