Who reads blogs?

The numbers for a typical blog aren't huge. But there may be other benefits.

What do you get from blogging? Probably not a massive audience. But a look at who's actually reading indicates that there may be a number of other reasons why the practice could be worthwhile for your organization.

Since we devote a significant amount of time to blogging ourselves, we try to look at who's reading blogs and whether it's worth the effort.

According to research from Ipsos Mendelsohn on business use of technology tools, 32% of business executives read a blog online, while only about six percent have contributed to a blog or posted their own blogs. That's compared to 54 percent who report that they receive a daily e-mail newsletter or alert.

This is in line with the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which says that 33% of all internet users read blogs, with 11% saying that the do so daily.

Nucleus Research reports that 50% of people take the time to read blogs, and that most people read one or two blogs each week.

Ad Age reports these findings on blog readership:

  • Two thirds of blog readers read more than three blogs regularly and many are read daily

  • Community is a primary driver of readership within blogosphere: search engines are secondary to links and recommendations as a way to find blogs

  • Quality of writing is a very important driver of how people perceive blogs

  • Personal interest and entertainment drive more readership than business or education

  • About one quarter of blog readers are active participants in creating content
    The Spanish blog audience very similar to English audience except they claim to read more blogs on a regular basis.

And here are the top 10 blogs by readership, based on ebizMBA's multi-factor measurements:

  • gizmodo.com

  • TMZ.com

  • engadget.com

  • lifehacker.com

  • HuffingtonPost.com

  • PerezHilton.com

  • gawker.com

  • kotaku.com

  • treehugger.com

  • arstechnica.com

Audiences for each of these sites range from 350,000 to 4.4 million monthly visitors.

Most blogs, however, aren't nearly so popular. Many count their readership in the hundreds (or sometimes dozens) rather than millions. This obviously begs the question: If only about a third of internet users seem to be interested in blogs, and if they only read one or two a week, is it worth doing?

The answer for many organizations is still yes, though they can probably only expect a very small blog readership.

Here's why: The value of blogging isn't just in the audience, it's in the cumulative base of information you build for your organization online. The most direct benefit is in search engine activity: blogs account for a relatively high number of search hits.

For example, a search of BrainPosse revealed that three of the top five links to our name were blog posts. (For Apple, who's probably paying for the very top links, it's one out of five.) If you're an organization not in the news all the time, a blog is a simple way to make you more visible.

And it can make your more visible in a positive way. Because blog links tend to be regarded as news rather than direct promotion, they can be viewed as more credible. And when other bloggers mention your organization, the credibility increases.

Our blog has been quoted in several magazines, and, apparently in some academic journals and papers (we discovered this through search, and we're flattered). For many companies, the use of blog information and ideas by third parties reinforces their position as experts in their fields.

Blogs also are a simple, cost effective way to regularly add content to your website, which promotes more readership, return readership, and better visibility.

And that's an important point because 79% of blog readers say they look for information they can't find in other places. If you have specific information about your product or idea that maybe isn't something a conventional media outlet would use, maybe you can create visibility for it through your blog.

If you’d like to know more about using blogging in your business you can read our previous entry "Should You Blog?"