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
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)
- Huffington Post – The Internet Newspaper: News, Blogs, Video, Community
- Think Progress
- The Daily Beast – Read This Skip That
- Hot Air
- Boing Boing
- The Next Web – Technology News, Business and Culture
- City Room – Government & Politics, Crime & Public Safety, Transportation, Schools, Housing & Economy, People & Neighborhoods
- Paul Krugman
- CNN Political Ticker
- VentureBeat – Interpreting Innovation
- Vulture – Devouring Culture
- LA Now – Southern California – This Just In
- Daily Intel
- The Official Google Blog – Insight from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture
- The Caucus – The Politics and Government Blog of The Times
- The Official Netflix Blog
- ArtsBeat – The Culture at Large
- 9 to 5 Mac – Apple Intelligence
- Business Insider
- Danger Room – What’s Next in National Security
- SlashGear – Feeding Your Gadget and Tech Obsessions
- Big Government
- Laughing Squid
- MacRumors – News and Rumors You Care About
- ZeroHedge – On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero
- Bits – Business | Innovation | Technology | Society
- Daily Kos – News | Community | Action
- PocketNow.com – Smartphone News, Reviews, and Video
- Pajamas Media
- This Isn’t Happiness
- PhysOrg.com – Science | Physics | Tech | Nano | News
- Michelle Malkin
- The White House Blog
- Just Jared
- Raw Replay
- The Village Voice
- The Foundry
- Top of the Ticket – Political Commentary from Andrew Malcolm
- The Onion – America’s Finest News Source
- PopWatch – Keeping an Eye on Pop Culture
- Threat Level – Privacy, Crime and Security Online
- The Cut
- Facebook Blog
- Search Engine Land
- The Consumerist – Shoppers Bite Back
- Electronista – Gadgets for Geeks
- Ben Smith’s Blog – A Running Conversation About Politics
- Hit & Run – Continuous News, Views, and Abuse by the Reason Staff
- The Windows Blog
- Android Police – Looking After All Things Android
- Wired’s Gadget Lab – Hardware That Rocks Your World
- County Fair – A blog from Media Matters covering the news and progressive media criticism
- The Volokh Conspiracy
- Flavorwire – Cultural News and Critique
- Company Town – The Business Behind the Show
- LA Times Tech Blog – The Business and Culture of Our Digital Lives, from the LA Times
- Hotline On Call – Evolving Wisdom and Original Political Reporting
- The Opinionator – Exclusive Online Commentary from The Times
- The Awl
- Nice Kicks – Fly Shoes. Fresh News.
- Felix Salmon – A Slice of Lime in the Soda
- Naked Capitalism
- Media Decoder – Behind the Screens, Between the Lines
- Towleroad – A Site With Homosexual Tendencies
- Infowars – Because There Is a War on For Your Mind
- Crooks and Liars
- All Facebook – The Unofficial Facebook Resource
- Grist – A Beacon in the Smog
- Bleacher Report
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.”
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?