New research from Vizu Answers and Ad Age suggests that when it comes to blog posting discovery, the majority of readers use links from other blogs to arrive there. The fact that the figure is as high as 67.3 percent is slightly surprising, given the amount of people that use services such as Digg, Reddit, Technorati, Google Blog Search and Feedster for example. Indeed, the report reveals that only 5.6 percent of blog post discovery comes by way of specialist blog search engines, and far more people use standard search engines, 19.6 percent in fact.

Other interesting snippets to come from this survey include that 68.3% of people read their favorite blogs every day, and personal opinion plus writing style and editorial freedom is what makes a blog a blog. But perhaps the most telling statistic has to be that it is the quality of the writing that determines the blogs that people choose to read regularly and the credibility of that blog. Forget the notion that citizen journalism is just about breaking the story, getting their first or shouting the loudest.

As a professional journalist myself (a member of both the National Union of Journalists and Society of Authors in the UK) and a blogger, I have to admit that it is good to get some statistical confirmation to back my gut feeling that basic journalistic skills should not be trampled in the rush to publish.

Some bloggers get depressed at the lack of interaction between themselves and their readers, often wondering if anyone really cares about what is being said at all. However, this study reveals that the overwhelming majority of blog readers are what we used to call lurkers in the BBS slang of old. 76.9 percent of people only ever read blog postings, with just 11.7 per cent commenting.

If you are a blogger yourself, or have been thinking about starting a blog, then read the report for yourself as it provides a useful insight into what makes a successful blog tick. Once you realize that community is a primary driver of readership within the blogosphere and that personal interest and entertainment drive more readership than either business or education, it might just change what you write about and how you publicize it.

Which might just make all the difference between a blog that nobody reads, and believe me there are plenty of them out there, and ones that become essential sources of online information.

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...