The Online Journalism Handbook: A simpleguide to what the Internet likes and what to do about it

Posted on February 20, 2009 By newswala Topic: Internet and Websites, Onlinejournalismhandbook, Simpleguide, Trends

I know this is a inverse way of doing things but looking at the competition you are likely to face on the Internet, I thought it would be helpful if I shared information about what internet users like.


Let us start with what people like on social news and social bookmarking sites, looking at the leaders Del.icio.us and Digg.com, respectively:

What people love to bookmark: According to the del.icio.us blog, users searched for the following items most in 2008:

1. news
2. blogs
3. reference
4. wiki
5. restaurants
6. hotels
7. css
8. web 2.0
9. artists
10. music


Among news items, what do people like?

Let us look at Digg.

The Top Categories on Digg are:

Technology 36%
World and Business 29%
Offbeat News 18%
Science 9%
Entertainment 7%
Gaming 1%


Styles of articles that fare better on Digg:

News 38%
Announcement 15% - launch of new gadgets, updates, etc...
Story 16%
Story about Digg 6% - yes, Digg users can be very inward-looking
General blog 5%
Secret 4% - e.g. “The top 10 amazing secrets to getting on top of Digg."
Top list article 3%
How to 2%
Other 11%


Tip: Digg also has sections for photos, videos and audio. These sections mostly cater to the interests of young, tech-savvy males. That brings us to young people.

How To target young people: The young or the so-called Generation Y loves Videos (funny, weird, unique), Off-beat Stories, Lists [Top 10s - preferably on entertainment] and basically anything that they can share with their friends through social media sites.

So, if you are targeting young people, ask your kid or any teenager/people in 20s, "Would you share this story with your friend?". In other words, your story must have that 'viral' material.

You might be thinking that young people are dumbing down the internet, but that's the way things are in these parts of the internet.

Now, onto the top news sites and blogs on the internet.

Top news websites on Google News

1 New York Times
2 The Associated Press
3 Reuters
4 Reuters, UK
5 FOX News
6 Washington Post

Source: Newsknife

Technorati Top 100 Blogs

The Top 10 on the Technorati Top 100 list are [you will notice each of these blogs 1. Is Old and 2. Uses Multiple Writers to update several times during a day. Lesson: Team up and Go into it with a long-term view.

1. The Huffington Post [Group blog, aggregator, breaking news, liberal views; Founded 2005]
2. Engadget [Gadgets; Founded 2004 ]
3. TechCrunch [web 2.0 startups; Multiple writers; Founded 2005]
4. Gizmodo [Gadgets; Multiple Writers; Founded 2002]
5. Boing Boing [Group blog on "all things interesting"; Founded 2000 (as a blog) ]
6. The Official Google Blog [latest updates from Google]
7. Lifehacker [Productivity Tips and tools; Multiple Writers; Founded 2005 ]
8. Ars Technica [Technology news; Multiple Writers; Founded 1998 ]
9. Daily Kos [Liberal Group Blog, Founded 2002]
10. Smashing Magazine [For designers and web developers; Multiple Writers; Founded 2006]

Bonus:

How to succeed with Google News or Yahoo News

- Have a news team of more than 2 people and display author profiles on a dedicated page
- Submit site to Google News
- Submit Site to Yahoo News
- Submit Sitemap to Google
- Cover news regularly - it is going to take some time
More help here and here

How do you keep abreast of what the internet likes?

Here are top 7 sources for checking what's hot on the internet
1. Google Trends - what is hot on Google right now -
2. Compete Blog - How people behave online
3. Pew center
4. Marketingcharts Useful charts about Internet usage trends
5. Popurls - What's hot on top social media sites http://popurls.com [covering all top social news sites including Digg.com, Metafilter.com, Slashdot.org besides the top news sites, photos, videos and audio]
6. Global Internet Usage on Wikipedia

So, now you are savvy with the in-things of the internet. How about you apply it to your blog writing? Easy.
7. Check Topic Coverage: Before your write any post, check Google Blogsearch if others have already beaten you to what you were going to say, and to have a view at what else has been covered about your topic.

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