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Wine Blog Traffic – some big differences between blogs

I’m on a journey to find the best wine blogs. To catch up on this journey check out my blog category on wine social media.

In this post we use a traffic tool called Compete compare sites. Well, at least that’s what I’m calling it ;).

Estimating traffic volume

There are a number of ways to determine how popular blogs are. I’ve covered engagement scores, blog search engines, media planning and page authority tools in previous posts. In this post I introduce a tool that uses panels of website users – that’s right, actual people, I hear they still exist in the analytics world.

Compete has a 2,000,000 member panel

Compete screen shotNow I reckon Compete doesn’t deal with all of the members themselves, rather they aggregate lots of ISP data with their own members.

Regardless this is a large group that is a statistically significant sample (~1% of the US population). Other companies such as Alexa and Neilson also use panels. Neilson costs an arm ‘n a leg, and Alexa has a technical users’ bias. So this leaves the free Compete service to assess blog traffic.

But it’s not completely accurate

Having said they have a statistically significant sample they are also known to be either wrong. Or at least different from the analytics and web log traffic estimators that use internal data. I’m not sure who is right but I’m guessing it’s not Compete.

So rather than use their absolute unique visitor numbers I’ve used their Compete Rank instead. This is still based on the number of unique visitors but is relative to other websites. This keeps this analysis relative and sensible – rather than absolute and possibly nonsensical.

One very important problem

Compete rank can not “see through” domains.

What I mean by this is that (fermentation.)typepad.com, the (various.)blogspot.com and (dinersjournal.)nytimes.com all get domain compete rankings that approach perfect.

This is incorrect. Individual blogs that use subdomains (the part before the “.”) cannot ride on the coat tails of their parent domain’s authority. So unfortunately I can’t use Compete to assess a bunch of top blogs. Never mind we’ll do our best, there is still some useful stuff here.

Wine Blog Compete Rank Graph

Wine Blogs Compete Graph

The rich just get richer

Once again Gary V is at the top and is becoming the benchmark for other wine blogs. Not that surprising really. Vinography and Dr Vino also do very well.

Other “mentions in dispatch” include James Goode, another wine blog, Steve Heimoff, 1WineDude, catavino and My Wine Education.

Then there seems a drop off to the next group and I’m afraid the last two just aren’t in the running so I’ve cut off the graph to exclude them. Mean but necessary.

Here’s the raw data:

So can I use this?

Hmmn… I’m missing some important sites.

Still I think we’re starting to see a pattern emerging and this has been a valuable if incomplete exercise. I need to rethink whether I should be including Wine Library TV in this list so I’ll look back at my criteria. Otherwise these ones keep popping up (not in ranked order):

  • Wine Library TV
  • 1 Wine Dude
  • another wine blog
  • Dr. Vino
  • Steve Heimoff
  • Vinography
  • Fermentation

I’m not finished with this process, especially trying to find good demographic data on the blog visitors.

What are your thoughts on how this is panning out?


  1. I’ve just now been pointed to this series, and I think it’s largely pretty fascinating (though admittedly a bit navel-gazing from the *blogging* side of things :-).

    Here’s my $0.02:

    The numbers for any of the ways you’ve measured wine blogs are helpful in that they help you winnow the field in terms of picking, as a retailer, the most bang-for-your-buck in engaging those blogs for ads, samples, etc.

    It gives you a potential shortlist.

    After that, if you want to find the best fit, it comes down to they type of retailer you are, your reach, your target customers and how all of that intersects with a blog, its writer(s), content, etc.

    If I was a regional retailer looking for decent exposure and an engaged audience with some disposable income, I might pick my blog – but not if I specialized in budget wines, which rarely get covered on 1WineDude.com. If I was national and looking for high-volume, my decision might be more traffic-driven.

    And etc., etc., almost ad nauseum.

    The best determinant of what blogs to engage with as a retailer? Your own brain, coupled with good old-fashioned hard work.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your comments Joe, I agree with what you’re saying, and I gotta say I’ve been enjoying your blog as I wind my way through this process.

    In the back of my mind was a local wine retailer strategy (and future post) of co-operating with their local wine bloggers. Just how is still a few posts away while I do some more navel-gazing 😉 .

    Certainly it has become clear to me you’d do this well for Pennsylvania but given how much you tour perhaps you (and some of the other larger wine bloggers) have a natural place with larger retailers.

    Lastly the hard work bit. This is the major issue for small wine retailers as they are the CEO, CTO, CFO, sales assistant, storeman, delivery guy, coffee maker, wine reviewer … so, as I’m sure you know, they work extremely hard (and often don’t make huge profits – but luv what they’re doin’). This blog is trying to assist them to be more productive with the small amount of time they have as “VP – Marketing” by showing them the best way to sell wine online.

    And I think good wine bloggers have a significant place in that!

  3. Thanks – I agree, except for PA, since the state runs the wine stores there essentially is no local retailer strategy (alas…)!

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