July 8, 2006

Clickish behavior.

Dan from Madison has some observations about the click-through behavior of blog readers. I've noticed this myself. You can get linked on a high-traffic blog without seeing much traffic. You could speculate that it's the kind of readers who are drawn to a particular blog. Maybe they just like to hang out with each other and don't want to see what else is out there. Maybe they are just narrow-minded and unadventurous. Or maybe it's something the blogger is doing intentionally.

Kos works to hold readers at his site, by providing lots of places for commenters and diarists. By contrast, Glenn Reynolds won't let you stay long. You can't comment, there's nothing like the Kos diarists, and the posts are really short. What are you going to do? You've got to click on the links. Half the time, you can't even understand the point of his posts unless you click through. Sometimes clicking is irresistible. He's sending you away. Kos, will often quote so much of the post they're linking to that you don't feel you need to bother to click. There, you don't click, you clique.

25 comments:

Ron said...

This may be why I cut Glenn some slack even when I disagree. His method is about saying, 'It's not about me, go look it up yourself.' Whereas, don't you get suspicious when someone is contiually talking about themselves, no matter what the topic?

Mary said...

Or perhaps...

When I put my mouse over a the link, I can see the address where I am being directed. I might not click but visit the overall site later.

If you are linked at some sites yet garner little traffic, perhaps the readers have been to your site before and choose not to return because they generally know what they're getting? Sometimes the ones that like us really like us, and the ones that don't, don't. So they might either skip over that link, or perhaps have read it earlier in their daily perusal of blogs?

AJD said...

Ron: "Whereas, don't you get suspicious when someone is continually talking about themselves, no matter what the topic?"

You are asking this on Althouse?!

Thanks for the giant laugh.

Matt Drachenberg said...

I like the way Ron puts it. I'm a bit of a blog speedreader and it's not often that I'll dig into a 1,000 word post (generally because most of the time it could have been condensed into 100 words). OTOH, when I do click through to a site, the first thing I always look for is the link to the main page, especially if it's a new site to me.

Ann Althouse said...

I encourage you to be suspicious of me. Just don't leave me. Me, me, meeeeeeeeeeee.

(Did I ever say I was like Glenn?)

Ann Althouse said...

Matt: Yeah, bloggers need to be concise. Some seem to think that spelling things out at length is a good idea. It's a real pitfall for academic bloggers. I just want to smack them.

Ron said...

I promise, Ann, I'll always be suspicious of you as long as you wear those waffle-cut green French Birkenstock-wannabe shoes!

Mark Daniels said...

I don't think that there are any rules for post-length. If someone is a good writer and has something to say, you can take longer posts. Mark D. Roberts, for example, is an outstanding blogger who posts longer pieces in serialized form--something I do occasionally. In Roberts' case, I have never gotten the itch to click away from his brilliance. His lengthy epistles are precisely right for him. Not everybody--including me, most of the time--can get away with that.

Glenn Reynolds has several sites where he posts. At GlennReynolds.com, he can go on at length. Instapundit is more of a blogging clearing house spiced, as the blog name implies, by some instant punditry. To me, two of the reasons people click onto Glenn's site so often are: (1) He seems to read everything. He's like a high-tech Reader's Digest for the rest of us. (2) They want to confirm that the avalanche that's just hit their site came from Instapundit.com. Those are the two reasons I routinely go to his site.

Mark

altoids1306 said...

I would give Glenn even more credit than that...I think he recognizes his unique position in the conservative blogosphere, and has used it deliberately to foster other bloggers. (Read his Yale interview if you're not convinced)

I certainly didn't start reading Althouse regularly until after Ann guest-blogged at Instapundit, and was linked several times by Glenn over a short period.

Question for Ann: how much, if any, credit does Glenn deserve for your current blog readership?

Ann Althouse said...

"How much, if any, credit does Glenn deserve for your current blog readership?"

A lot.

Mickey said...

Youve got to be pretty interesting in the first paragraph or two for me.
I need to comment too.
Mind games? Psychology? Style? Or all of the above?
Old hat.

Brian said...

Ann,

Dan from Madison cites the Malkin blog in support of his point. I'm wondering why you've substituted the Kos blog as your point of reference.

Kos and Instapundit are vastly different types of blogs, designed and intended to serve vastly different purposes. Kos, it seems to me, is a site designed to create a community of contributors who will provide fairly detailed commentary and analysis on a wide variety of political issues. Instapundit seems designed to alert people to articles or commentary they might otherwise have missed. In other words, Kos is the lengthy political conversation you may have with a group of friends. Instapundit is the e-mail you get from someone saying, "hey, check this out." I think both of these blogging styles can be of tremendous value, but they are cyber-apples and cyber-oranges.

Perhaps the Instapundit Glenn is motivated by the goal of sharing the world's supply of click-thrus as broadly as possible. I’ve always assumed he limited Instapundit to being a pass-through type of blog because of some combination of time and academic political constraints.

Ann Althouse said...

Brian: Hey, you followed the link!

Kos is konspicuous and the traffic is huge. I've been linked there and gotten almost nothing. I found that quite striking. Also, I'm interested in watching what's happening with Kos. Less so with Malkin.

The differences you mention between Kos and Instapundit are, of course, discussed in my post. Why is your comment written as if they aren't?!

It's true I could have cited Malkin too. I've gotten links from her and they don't produce much traffic.

Patrick Martin said...

Ann, I've found that your readers are pretty good about clicking to links made in the comments, at least. Stubborn Facts, the new blog that regular commenter here Simon and I have started with 2 other folks, has gotten quite a bit of traffic when we've put links here to our relevant posts. I'm not talking thousands, but a nice number for a new blog like ours. From our perspective, we have nothing but kudos for how well your readers click through links!

Now, I can't yet speak to their behavior when you, Ann, put a link on the front page, but if you ever do, I promise to report back on how much traffic it brings us!

charlotte said...

I, too, started reading you (Ann) more regularly after you guest-blogged for Instapundit before the '04 election, and I liked your links and take on issues. You were even kind enough to "print" my letter on the draft controversy/ruse, which made me appreciate how the Internet can be used to get an insider's perspective and information out to people poorly informed and manipulated by agenda-driven pols and MSM.

For some reason, I dunno why, I click through your links more often than I do other bloggers'.

Jim Hu said...

Of course, some of us don't click through to you because we read your blog first.

:^)

Oh, and do you get clickthrough when we click on a link in an RSS feed? That's how I do my first pass of Instapundit and Althouse these days.

Johnny Nucleo said...

As long as we're reminiscing, I first read this blog in the summer of '04. I probably found it through Instapundit.

My first conscious memory of this blog is a post from October '04. I was fighting pirates off the coast of Chile. It had been a rough day and I needed to unwind. It was the day after one of the debates. I read Ann's simulblog of the debate and thought it was the most brilliant real-time analysis of an event I had ever read. Actually, it was the only real-time analysis of an event I had ever read. But it was brilliant!

Brian said...

Ann says: "The differences you mention between Kos and Instapundit are, of course, discussed in my post. Why is your comment written as if they aren't?!"


The point I attempted to make is that there are plenty of valid reasons for the way the Kos site is organized and operated. Also, there are plenty of valid reasons for including lengthy quotations as a part of lengthy commentary.

Why did I feel a need to state the obvious?

After reading your post, and cross-checking Dan from Madison, I was worried that a careless speed-blog-reader might be left with the wrong impression. Such a person might:

-see the title, "Clickish behavior;"

-see Dan from Madison's reference to Malkin readers;

-mentally note that we "could speculate" that certain sites attract certain types of narrow-minded and insular individuals;

-read that Kos "works" to "hold" readers on his site (and his site alone!) by posting lengthy commentary by numerous commentators who use countless lengthy quotations;

- see that Glenn Reynolds, by contrast, tirelessly encourages his readers to seek out wide-ranging and diverse points of view by clicking through to other sites; and

-conclude that Kos readers are part of a clique which, just like the Malkin clique, is comprised of insular extremists who not only refuse to consider diverse opinions, but actively work to prevent others from viewing anything not on the approved list.

Of course, I know you didn't intend to lead any reader to any such erroneous conclusion. Just thought it would be good to clarify things (for the careless reader).

By the way, I first clicked onto this site several months ago through the Instapundit Glenn (who I found through the Unclaimed Territory Glenn). I've enjoyed your work on this site.

Ann Althouse said...

Brian: Fair enough, though clearly what I'm doing is more like Kos. I'm creating a community here in the comments. And I don't link that much. Glenn is being super-magnanimous. Clearly, I'm not blogging like that. He often links to things based on email that I too received and didn't think was worth linking and sending my readers to. In fact, Kos is more magnanimous than I am, because he includes other bloggers and he's focused on helping various political candidates. I'm just here expressing myself, hoping to have some readers. Now, when I do link, I send a higher proportion of my traffic that Kos or Malkin does. You can try to figure out why that is. Maybe it's because I don't link that much, but it's also that I try to write the post in a way that makes you want to click.

Brian said...

Ann says:

"I'm just here expressing myself, hoping to have some readers."


Well, it looks like you have quite a few. In fact, in the interest of saving some time, I'm giving up my periodic reading of Instapundit so I have enough time to stop by here. Even if you don't see me pop up in the comments, I'll be reading. As fascinating as the comments are, I don't always have enough time to read them, let alone prepare an intelligent comment of my own.

Please keep posting your "Madison Moments" photos as well.

Mark Daniels said...

FYI:
I found this site about two years ago through a Google news alert on blogging and bloggers. Ann was profiled in an article on blogging that appeared in a Madison newspaper, I think. Oddly enough, I follow the links from Instapundit less than half the time. I'm not sure why.

Mark

Meryl Yourish said...

Click-through from blogs is dependent on the trust and loyalty you've built up over the years.

I have a fairly high click-through ratio when I post a link. I hear that from everyone I link. I think it's for several reasons: If I say something is funny, my readers believe me and click through. I also think that like likes like, and many of my readers like the same things that I like.

Blogs like Glenn's or Michelle's are going to get the click-throughs of people who are only interested in the subject of the link. Because there's less of a personal relationship with the blogger, I think there's less loyalty, and less trust.

Which is not to say the readers dislike them. Just that they have very different types of followings than you or I.

Scott Wickstein said...

I read here because I'm interested in the Althousian opinion on things, so I don't generally click through if she's already made it plain what she's talking about in the post.

Of course, I ignore the television related posts. No one's perfect, after all.

rafinlay said...

Clickthru to a blog may have as much to do with the character of the blog being linked as does the blog doing the linking. I rarely click on a link to Althouse because I know I will be visiting the blog itself later. I wonder if the same is true of Kosites -- since they are in the Kos community, they don't need to clikthru to it. I will clickthru to sites that I find occaisionally interesting but do not visit regularly, or to sites I don't know at all, if the linker makes it sound interesting, but do not clickthru to sites I have given up on (like Sullivan), no matter what the linker said.

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