Topsites is a piece of (free) software that is used to track traffic on different web-sites belonging to a community. It shows how popular a web-site is. How many unique visitors come to the page per day in average. Webmasters use toplists to create traffic to a specific as site. As people check in daily to check stats (which indeed is a bit lame – but human nature) very soon a top list receives amazing Google Page Rank. Those links listed on the first page of the Toplist also gets a lot of important “link-juice”. Pages with high numbers of visitors can be self sustained in terms of costs also just by putting those ugly Google ads on there – or in some cases more profitable with more directed ads, although birding web-sites, with some exceptions, don’t make the owners rich.
Check this link for your own page-rank.
For birders there are currently two toplists that are of interest. Fatbirder Top 1000 – which rank all birding related web-sites that have signed up to the community and NatureBlogNetwork for bloggers which has a category for birding. BirdingBlogs have very fast advanced on to the first page of both lists, much due to the fact that we have published a new post every day – and have 10 people who all share on Facebook and Twitter.
For individuals it is much harder to reach a top rank. Currently my own blog A Birding Blog from Peru has an embarrassing position on NBN and my birding company used to be on Fatbirder’s toplist, but the counter button displayed a rank of over 200. I felt absolutely no need to show my potential clients that my birding site had such low rank.
I have had the idea for some time to produce top lists that serve my means as an individual blogger and as basically – a one man birding company when it comes to creating the on-line content for our web-site, although we have many guides and office staff. The time is ripe to now put these ideas into practice, with birdingblogs.com as the vehicle to reach as many as the birders as possible. I proudly present two new ideas from the top of this wacky head.
One of the drawbacks of Fatbirder and NBN is that it is very difficult to use as a birders directory. The new toplists do have a chance to become a directory for birding blogs and for bird tour companies, as each web-site will become designated to a category. These categories include the major geographic birding areas, and for blogs some additional specific topics. Thus, it is my hope that these new top-lists will become a tool for external users who don’t have a blog or owns a birding company. Say you want to check blogs birding blogs and birding tour companies that specialize on South America. You shall immediately find the most popular ones! Or maybe you love bird photography and you just want drool over juicy bird pictures. Which are the most popular bird photography blogs? Until now it would be very hard to know, but soon it will be.
This functionality for both lists makes me think that they shall not only be used by the people who submit entries, but to the birding community as a whole.
Top Birding Bloggers
This new toplist is housed at Birdingblogs.com. If you are a bird blogger you should sign up now. Your exposure here will be far better than on NBN – as you will receive a higher position and people will be able to find you in your main category. Here are the rules:
- Individual bloggers – multiauthor blogs (such as BirdingBlogs) are not allowed. This is to level the field and allow diligent one-person bloggers to shine some.
- birding is the main theme. Blogs that mostly write about creeping crawlies and dinosaurs – and only occasionally write about birds -are not allowed..
- Specific categories: Geographic areas and specific topics such as world birding, pelagics, bird photography and birdfeeding.
- Only category per blog. If you mainly blog about the stuff at your feeder somewhere in the US, you should be in the birdfeeding category rather than North America.
- Patience. When signing up, I still need to approve each account manually, so please be patient. Eventually, you’ll get an email that you have been accepted. Don’t forget to also check the spam folder. These automated messages are notorious to end up in spam filter.
- Tracking code. In the message there is a tracking code, that you need to place on your blog homepage. It needs to be placed on your blog, not your non-blogging home, if you house your blog in your own domain.
World Birding Tour Network
As mentioned above, I was not too happy with my company’s position on Fatbirder Top 1000. I was also curious how birding companies could network more. A birding operator could reciprocally direct clients to another operator in a different region. There would be much to explore in this context once the network is all complete. Also, for another brain-child – the Virtual BirdFair – I need a directory of all the bird tour operators in the world. It is likely that the seed to the Virtual BirdFair, covering not only the British BirdFair, but all major birding festivals all over the world, will grow here on BirdingBlogs in a near future. We want to be involved in a major fund raiser for bird conservation and the outline in the referred article may just be the thing the members of this blog will go for. We shall certainly come back to talk more about Virtual BirdFair in future posts. In the meantime, all bird tour companies should sign up to World Birding Tours Network.
Again to level the field there are some basic rules.
- birding tours is the major activity of the company
- if birding tours is part activity of the company (like many nature tour or classical tour operators which have birdwatching sections) then the tracking code should be inserted in the birding tour page
- There must be sample birding tour programs, even if you do custom tours mainly
- There should be a birding tour calendar where your upcoming tours are mentioned
- There should be information about the price of the tour
- After signing up, wait for my approval and look for the tracking code that is sent with an automatic email.
- Note there is no world birding category. Each company should select their main geographical region. Should a company want to participate in several regions they would need to set up a regional page on which they have tours descriptions and calendar for each region. Thus a company could probably then have several different tracking codes for different regional pages. I am not sure it works, but it would be useful. Write me if you want to try it out: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sure, the measuring of unique hits to a web-site does not tell all about the quality of the tours or the blog. In fact it does not show anything else than popularity on the web. So as such it is of little value. You can rate blogs and tour companies and leave comments, but since more users than consumers are likely to participate – at least initially, I doubt that even the voting process will be of any particular value – as it is inviting to manipulation.
I will not rank companies and blogs via the reviews and votes, and I shall remove very bad reviews from users if they are meant to hurt the company or person in question. In the end, a hint of quality is the number of good reviews received, but only a hint. Testimonials are best sought elsewhere.
Please share this with all birders now. Share on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, listservers, bird forums, and the birding companies you have traveled with as well as the birding bloggers you read and interact with. It is a unique time for birders to truly become connected. This will become a very important resource.