A couple days ago I went through each of the 100 most popular blogs to take a closer look at their headlines (or lack thereof). This is what I found out.

Why I did this

Technorati Top 100

Technorati Top 100

I went through the 100 most popular blogs a couple weeks ago to see what trends there were in terms of subject matter; what were the blogs writing about? I did the same thing a couple days ago to take a closer look at the taglines.

Are taglines a relic from the past or are they still relevant? Do the big blogs have them or do they not even bother? That’s what I wanted to find out. I wanted to see  whether the top blogs have taglines, and if so, what exactly the taglines were like. Were they clever taglines? Or were they more descriptive? And if there is no tagline on the blog, why not?

To find out, I went through the Technorati Top 100 (as I did for my last case study a couple weeks ago), which is a listing of the 100 most popular blogs based on things like traffic, inbound links, etc.

Below are the top 100 blogs (as of Friday, October 7). If they have  a tagline in the header of the blog, I wrote it out. If not, I just wrote down the name of the blog.

The top 100 blogs and their taglines (if they have one)

  1. Huffington Post – The Internet Newspaper: News, Blogs, Video, Community
  2. Mashable
  3. TechCrunch
  4. Engadget
  5. Gawker
  6. Gizmodo
  7. Think Progress
  8. The Daily Beast – Read This Skip That
  9. TMZ
  10. Hot Air
  11. Boing Boing
  12. The Next Web – Technology News, Business and Culture
  13. BuzzFeed
  14. City Room – Government & Politics, Crime & Public Safety, Transportation, Schools, Housing & Economy, People & Neighborhoods
  15. Paul Krugman
  16. CNN Political Ticker
  17. Mediaite
  18. VentureBeat – Interpreting Innovation
  19. Vulture – Devouring Culture
  20. LA Now – Southern California – This Just In
  21. GigaOM
  22. ReadWriteWeb
  23. Daily Intel
  24. Lifehacker
  25. The Official Google Blog – Insight from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture
  26. BGR
  27. Deadline.com
  28. The Caucus – The Politics and Government Blog of The Times
  29. Joystiq
  30. The Official Netflix Blog
  31. ArtsBeat – The Culture at Large
  32. AppleInsider
  33. 9 to 5 Mac – Apple Intelligence
  34. Business Insider
  35. Gothamist
  36. Jezebel
  37. Danger Room – What’s Next in National Security
  38. SlashGear – Feeding Your Gadget and Tech Obsessions
  39. Kotaku
  40. Big Government
  41. Laughing Squid
  42. MacRumors – News and Rumors You Care About
  43. RedState
  44. TUAW
  45. ZeroHedge – On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero
  46. Bits – Business | Innovation | Technology | Society
  47. Daily Kos – News | Community | Action
  48. Deadspin
  49. PocketNow.com – Smartphone News, Reviews, and Video
  50. Pajamas Media
  51. This Isn’t Happiness
  52. PhysOrg.com – Science | Physics | Tech | Nano | News
  53. Michelle Malkin
  54. The White House Blog
  55. Just Jared
  56. Raw Replay
  57. The Village Voice
  58. The Foundry
  59. Top of the Ticket – Political Commentary from Andrew Malcolm
  60. The Onion – America’s Finest News Source
  61. PopWatch – Keeping an Eye on Pop Culture
  62. EuroGamer
  63. Threat Level – Privacy, Crime and Security Online
  64. ComicsAlliance
  65. TPMMuckraker
  66. The Cut
  67. Autoblog
  68. Facebook Blog
  69. Search Engine Land
  70. The Consumerist – Shoppers Bite Back
  71. Electronista – Gadgets for Geeks
  72. Eurekalert
  73. Ben Smith’s Blog – A Running Conversation About Politics
  74. Hit & Run – Continuous News, Views, and Abuse by the Reason Staff
  75. Neatorama
  76. Ubergizmo
  77. WinRumors
  78. The Windows Blog
  79. Android Police – Looking After All Things Android
  80. Wired’s Gadget Lab – Hardware That Rocks Your World
  81. County Fair – A blog from Media Matters covering the news and progressive media criticism
  82. The Volokh Conspiracy
  83. Flavorwire – Cultural News and Critique
  84. Company Town – The Business Behind the Show
  85. LA Times Tech Blog – The Business and Culture of Our Digital Lives, from the LA Times
  86. Hotline On Call – Evolving Wisdom and Original Political Reporting
  87. TechDirt
  88. The Opinionator – Exclusive Online Commentary from The Times
  89. The Awl
  90. Nice Kicks – Fly Shoes. Fresh News.
  91. Felix Salmon – A Slice of Lime in the Soda
  92. Naked Capitalism
  93. Media Decoder – Behind the Screens, Between the Lines
  94. Towleroad – A Site With Homosexual Tendencies
  95. Infowars – Because There Is a War on For Your Mind
  96. Crooks and Liars
  97. All Facebook – The Unofficial Facebook Resource
  98. Gizmag
  99. Grist – A Beacon in the Smog
  100. Bleacher Report

Data analysis

Of the 100 blogs, 42 had taglines of some kind. So that’s not quite half.

Those 42 taglines can pretty much all be put into one of two categories: 1) clever taglines and 2) descriptive taglines. Clever taglines use wordplay and/or humor, while descriptive taglines just say what the blog is about. Some “taglines” are just keywords, and I’ve included those in the second category.

An example of a clever tagline is the tagline for Company Town (a blog about the entertainment industry): “The Business Behind the Show.”

Here’s an example of  descriptive tagline, from All Facebook: “The Unofficial Facebook Resource.”

A lot of the taglines could fall into both categories, but my unscientific and subjective analysis shows that of the 42 taglines, there were…

  • 16 clever taglines
  • 26 descriptive taglines (including a few that were basically just keywords

Why you wouldn’t need a tagline

Ok, so more than half of the blogs in the top 100 don’t have taglines in their headers. Why is that? I think there are a few reasons:

  • Sometimes the blog name explains what the blog is about. Examples of this are Autoblog, The Windows Blog, Big Government, and MacRumors.
  • Sometimes the blog’s categories or major topics are clearly laid out and clickable either above or below the header graphics. These obviously explain what the blog is all about.
  • Maybe some blogs are just so well known that the idea is that they just don’t need a tagline anymore. They’re just too cool for school taglines.
  • I noticed that there was often a keyword-rich description in the title tag of the blogs. That is, while there might not be a tagline or description of the blog, there’s one at the top of the browser window or in the browser tab. This is good for both SEO purposes and for people being able to figure out what your blog is about.
  • Maybe some blogs don’t have a tagline because they don’t want to put some kind of “limit” on what they want to write about. Maybe they think, “Well if it says in my tagline that my blog is about X and Y, I won’t be able to write about Z.”

Final words

So it looks like the majority of the blogs don’t have taglines in the header, which is a little surprising. I actually thought that more would have them. It seems to me that the trend over the years has been favoring NOT including a tagline on your website. As I covered in the previous section, there are several ways for you to accomplish everything a tagline accomplishes without actually having to have a tagline.

I still think taglines can be useful, however. A tagline is a great way for a newcomer to your site to understand in an instant what your site is about. Plus I always appreciate a clever tagline.

  • Are taglines still relevant and important?
  • Does your blog have a tagline? What is it, and do you think it’s good or bad?
  • What makes a good tagline?