The state of blogging – 2017


At Leeds Hacks we set out to identify the top 20 blogs in Leeds. We looked at blogs for music, fashion, food, culture, sport, news and politics.

We started by assigning a blog category to everyone in our team, then used Google Advanced Search and our archive of research from 2013 and 2015 to generate a list of blogs made in Leeds. We decided that “blogs” were independently run websites that concentrated on single issues. That excluded sites created by digital agencies just for promotion purposes, sports teams and national (or regional) sites with “localised” content. We did allow a couple of Leeds City council sites through the net though.

Using Alexa – a website service that ranks sites by traffic we gathered data for each blog and also found the total number of incoming links for each site. We also made a note of how many twitter followers they had. When we had all that data, we assigned each blog a rank and calculated an overall rating for each site. You can see how we worked it all out here.

The result is a purely quantitative list, arrived at through traffic, links and followers. Your favourite might not be in the list and if it’s not – let us know in the comments!

Here’s our top twenty:

Blog Title URL Hack Rank
Leeds List 1
Em Talks 2
Leeds Inspired 3
Leeds Music Scene 4
Leeds Guide Magazine 5
Them Apples 6
The Tofu Diaries 7
Digital Diva 8
The Scratching Shed 9
South Leeds Life 10
Independent Leeds 11
Leeds United 12
Leeds City Magazine 13
The Culture Vulture 14
Amy Elizabeth 15
Sophie Cliff 16
The City Talking 17
North Leeds 18
Life, Leeds United, The Universe and Everything 19
Richard Burgon 20

Leeds List came out on top. By sticking to its niche audience of Yorkshire folk and tourists, it has garnered a following of half a million readers who want to see everything Leeds has to offer. It’s the second time the listings mag has topped our survey – it took the top spot in 2015 too.

Jumping up one place to second on this years’ list is Emtalks, the glossy lifestyle blog from Leeds-London based Em Sheldon.

Em Sheldon on a beach Em Sheldon on her travels – photo from Emtalks

Topics range from fashion and fitness to food and travel, plus a sprinkling of personal life experience. Articles like ‘How getting cheated on affected me’ provoke heartfelt comments from a thriving community of readers. The author says you should, “see Emtalks as your little book of everything”.

Launched in 2012. Em shares her posts across six social media platforms, and has 27600 twitter followers in the process.

Leeds Inspired ranks third place with 35,800 followers on Twitter.

The site informs their readers on thousands of events that happen in Leeds every year, inspiring people to attend everything that’s happening, from independent gigs and exhibitions to more established shows and performances. The site shows it’s worth for a visit if you’re looking for something to do in your spare time. 

Number four in the top 20 Leeds blogs is LeedsMusicScene. A blog dedicated entirely to keeping you up to date with the latest gigs, albums and up and coming artists in the Leeds area.

It’s been running now for almost 20 years, giving people a look into the music scene of our Yorkshire city. It has pages solely committed to venues around the city, giving you all the information you need to locate it and attend the hundreds of gigs that take place in Leeds every year.

Finally in our top five, fancy experiencing the vibrant culture of Leeds?  The Leeds Guide is the website to check.

For over 15 years this site has covered music, theatre, food and drink across West and North Yorkshire. It’s popular among young professionals who want to experience all that Leeds has to offer.

It’s popular on social media too with around 49,400 followers.

We didn’t just create a top 20 though. We broke down our data even further, looking at the best in sport, fashion, culture, news, food, music and hyperlocal blogs. Check out the results below.

Category Title
Sport Marching on together: The top 3 Leeds United blogs
Fashion Fashion Blogging in Leeds
Culture Four best Leeds culture blogs
Hyperlocal News Leeds’ hyperlocal news blogs
Politics The top five Leeds politics blogs
Food The five best food blogs in Leeds
Music The four best music websites in Leeds

The result? A comprehensive list of the most popular blogs in Leeds, carefully curated, measured and listed. – but overall it felt like we’re now looking at a sector in decline. Some of the names from our last survey in 2015 have disappeared from the top 20, and many more since we first investigated the state of blogging in 2017.

It seems that, overall, lifestyle blogging has moved from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. We found it easier to uncover foodies and fashionistas on social media than we did in the blog-o-sphere.

In our state of blogging 2019, we could be looking at apps rather than websites.

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

1 Comment on "The state of blogging – 2017"

  1. Thanks guys – this is really awesome!

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