Top Church of Christ Blogs

Back in January, Matt Dabbs posted a list of the top 25 Church of Christ blogs. I’ve been home fighting a virus, got bored but was too tired for real writing, so I thought I’d see where the rankings were 6 months later. I discovered that Matt was ranked 6, and so I figured I should send him the list and compliment him on his high ranking.

He cleaned it up, added several sites that I hadn’t thought of, and at my suggestion, posted it on his site.

I thought I’d make a few observations.

Here the results:

Alexa Rank Rank (Jan 09) Rank (July 09)
Edward Fudge 58,527 2 1
Al Maxey 106,941 1 2
Jay Guin 477,301 7 3
Grace Conversation 920,379 unranked 4
Matt Dabbs 1,153,031 unranked 5
Cecil Hook 1,165,200 3 6
Mike Cope 1,368,893 4 7
John Mark Hicks 1,726,067 unranked 8
Jim Martin 1,908,733 13 9
Larry James 1,978,166 8 10
Trey Morgan 2,121,816 5 11
Phil Ware 2.7 mil unranked 12
Toddblog.net 2.7 mil 14 13
Patrick Mead 3 mil 17 14
Bobby Valentine 3.1 mil 24 15
Milton Stanley 3.2 mil 9 16
Alan Rouse 3.4 mil unranked 17
Dallas Burdette 3.5 mil unranked 18
Phil Sanders 3.57 mil unranked 19
Tim Archer 4.7 mil unranked 20
Wade Hodges 5 mil 6 21
Matt Clifton 5.3 mil unranked 22
Nick Gill 5.4 mil unranked 23
Ocular Fusion 5.7 mil 15 24
Brandon S Thomas 5.72 mil 10 25
Keith Brenton 5.73 mil unranked 26
Bill Williams 6 mil 20 27
Jim McGuiggan 6.4 mil 18 28
Todd Deaver 7 mil unranked 29
Political Cartel 8.2 mil 12 30
Gil Yoder 8.6 mil unranked 31
Royce Ogle 8.775 mil unranked 32
Kinney Mabry 8.785 mil 19 33
James Nored 8.8 mil unranked 34
Zane Petty 9 mil 16 35
Terry Rush 9 mil 25 36
Terry Laudette 9.8 mil unranked 38
Chris Guin 10.6 mil unranked 39
Seth Simmons 11.7 mil unranked 40
Tim Spivey 11.7 mil unranked 41
Wes Woodell 13 mil unranked 42
Jonathan Storment 14 mil unranked 43
Rex Butts 17.8 mil 23 44
John Dobbs 19 mil 21 45
Matthew Morine 20 mil unranked 46
Mitchell Skelton 20 mil unranked 47

* Mark Elrod hosts a very popular blog, but it’s no longer publicly available and so not rankable.

* It’s remarkable that Edward Fudge’s and Al Maxey’s rank at the top given how much of their readership comes via email, which is likely not measured by Alexa. Several other sites likely lose ranking for that reason.

* It’s truly remarkable that Cecil Hook’s Freedom’s Ring remains a top 10 site well after his death. (May his work continue to bless the Lord’s church.)

* Alexa in one of several blog ranking services out there. I tried Technorati, Altavista, All the Web, and even the Google Page Rank, but none were close enough to reality to be worth messing with. For example, the Christian Chronicle’s web site would rank between OneInJesus and GraceConversation on Alexa, but Technorati ranks it number 48, which just can’t be right. (However, it does closely parallel the rankings of the blogs ranked 1 through 25 or so.)

* I’m looking for some more conservative blogs. Phil Sanders (19), Matt Clifton (22), and Gil Yoder (31) are all ranked, but I figure surely there are several more conservative sites that ought to be mentioned.

* I wonder why the listings are so dominated by progressive writers? Is this evidence of the progressive movement’s openness to new methods? Or does it show that the computer-literate world is heavily progressive? Or have we just overlooked a whole bunch of conservative blogs?

* Alexa’s traffic methodology is described at http://alexa.com/help/traffic_learn_more. The higher the ranking, the less certain the figures are. Therefore, the lower down the chart a site appears, the less certain it is to be in the right place. However, I should say that I’ve compared the Technorati rankings and they roughly parallel through the first 25 positions or so. After that, I think rankings are significantly less reliable. And, for that matter, the numbers compress, meaning a slight increase in Alexa ranking could dramatically change your position on the chart, whereas in the top 10, it would take a massive shift to change positions. I’m really not sure that the rankings below 25 should be given much consideration, just because the data is so scattered. You should be just as proud of a 45 as a 30, because a 45 might really be a 30.

* Several blogs have fallen in the rankings more because of additional blogs showing up rather than declining readership. There are a number of relatively new blogs near the top, such as GraceConversation and John Mark Hicks. And Matt Dabbs didn’t rank his own blog in January, although it was a top 10 blog back then, too.

* One way to help your Alexa rank is to add the Alexa toolbar to your browser. This way your own viewing habits will be logged — which should include a lot of views of your own blog! http://www.alexa.com/toolbar There is no toolbar for Chrome.

* Alexa, like Google, tracks links between sites. And so, by posting this chart, I’ve just added a whole bunch of links to my site! And this encourages my readers to click on the links and visit the other sites, which helps them out. And maybe they’ll be so grateful, they’ll link to mine!

re the results:

Alexa Rank Rank (Jan 09) Rank (July 09)
Edward Fudge 58,527 2 1
Al Maxey 106,941 1 2
Jay Guin 477,301 7 3
Grace Conversation 920,379 unranked 4
Matt Dabbs 1,153,031 unranked 5
Cecil Hook 1,165,200 3 6
Mike Cope 1,368,893 4 7
John Mark Hicks 1,726,067 unranked 8
Jim Martin 1,908,733 13 9
Larry James 1,978,166 8 10
Trey Morgan 2,121,816 5 11
Phil Ware 2.7 mil unranked 12
Toddblog.net 2.7 mil 14 13
Patrick Mead 3 mil 17 14
Bobby Valentine 3.1 mil 24 15
Milton Stanley 3.2 mil 9 16
Alan Rouse 3.4 mil unranked 17
Dallas Burdette 3.5 mil unranked 18
Phil Sanders 3.57 mil unranked 19
Tim Archer 4.7 mil unranked 20
Wade Hodges 5 mil 6 21
Matt Clifton 5.3 mil unranked 22
Nick Gill 5.4 mil unranked 23
Ocular Fusion 5.7 mil 15 24
Brandon S Thomas 5.72 mil 10 25
Keith Brenton 5.73 mil unranked 26
Bill Williams 6 mil 20 27
Jim McGuiggan 6.4 mil 18 28
Todd Deaver 7 mil unranked 29
Political Cartel 8.2 mil 12 30
Gil Yoder 8.6 mil unranked 31
Royce Ogle 8.775 mil unranked 32
Kinney Mabry 8.785 mil 19 33
James Nored 8.8 mil unranked 34
Zane Petty 9 mil 16 35
Terry Rush 9 mil 25 36
Terry Laudette 9.8 mil unranked 38
Chris Guin 10.6 mil unranked 39
Seth Simmons 11.7 mil unranked 40
Tim Spivey 11.7 mil unranked 41
Wes Woodell 13 mil unranked 42
Jonathan Storment 14 mil unranked 43
Rex Butts 17.8 mil 23 44
John Dobbs 19 mil 21 45
Matthew Morine 20 mil unranked 46
Mitchell Skelton 20 mil unranked 47
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22 Responses to Top Church of Christ Blogs

  1. twd says:

    One thing striking to me in this list is the dearth of female bloggers.

  2. Royce Ogle says:

    Jay,

    I really doubt that GraceDigest gets more hits than John Dobbs site. So, your conclusions are likely correct about those on the list #25 and below.

    I am honored to be on the list.

    Last, GO Fudge! I hope his readership doubles or triples. His message needs to be heard.

    Royce

  3. Rich says:

    Perhaps not blogs (is edwardfudge.com?), but http://www.christiancourier.org (alexa ranking 337,007) and apologeticspress.org (alexa ranking 224,794) are up there and much more popular than wineskins.org (alexa ranking 3,729,050).

  4. Jay Guin says:

    John Dobbs struck me as anomalous, too. I just went over to his site and noticed two things. First, he just experienced a crash — which may have confused the Alexa rankings. (He doesn't show up in Technorati). http://johndobbs.com/

    Second, his ranking is now 13 million, rather than 19 million, a pretty dramatic increase in less than a week — and just the sort of thing you'd expect if his site crash re-set the Alexa counter.

    Alexa ranks on a 3-month rolling average. I suspect that when we re-check the numbers at year end, John will be flying high.

  5. mattdabbs says:

    John also changed his url a while back and that substantially hurt his rankings. All the old links no longer point to the current site, etc.

  6. mattdabbs says:

    Technorati ranks based on links. It gives you an authority based on how many sites link to you (not how many total links you have out there). It makes sense that blogs that are read the most are also most likely to be linked to. Technorati has its flaws and can be skewed. If you want your rank to go up all you have to do is comment on a bunch of blogs that have comments in the sidebar and there is a new link to your site or put your URL in your comment and there you go. Then go to Technorati and ping that site to get it to catch that link and your authority rank will go up. So I don't think it is quite as good as alexa but it does give an idea of not just how many people read a blog like alexa does, but how many people think a blog should be read by others. That is an important piece of information.

  7. mattdabbs says:

    As far as grace conversation is concerned it does surprise me a little that it is ranked so high. But when you consider posts are getting around 100 comments you have to remember that people are coming back to see if someone responded to their comment and then they leave a comment…over and over. That certainly helps traffic.

  8. Jay Guin says:

    RIch,

    Thanks for links. You know, I've been trying to come up with a definition for "blog" to distinguish between a pure blog and, say, Wineskins, which to me is clearly something else — an online magazine.

    If you were to limit "blog" to those running blogging software, Edward Fudge, Al Maxey, Cecil Hook, and Dallas Burdette would be excluded. On the other hand, Edward and Al are particularly very bloglike in what they do. The main difference is they have no facility for posting online comments. But they post articles frequently that are all stacked up in a list online, much like a blog.

    Apologetics Press seems pretty clearly to be an online magazine, like Wineskins.

    Is Christian Courier a blog or an online magazine? I think it's probably as much of a blog as Edward Fudge or Al Maxey.

    But I'm open to suggestions as to where to draw the line.

    I actually spent a little time trying to do a more comprehensive ranking of Church of Christ websites, but wound up with tons of issues.

    If you Google "Church of Christ" you get pages upon pages of congregational websites, some quite highly ranked and some with lots of good articles by the preacher. But who really wants to catalogue thousands of congregational websites?

    And there are the university web sites, etc. So I gave up the project. Too much trouble, and better things to do with my time.

    So, dear readers: what's a blog? I haven't got a clue.

    And there's a related question: what's a Church of Christ blog? I mean, Laura Coppinger has a very highly ranked site, but it's mainly recipes and homemaker tips. http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/blog/.

    Is a "Church of Christ blog" any blog by a member of the Churches of Christ? My thinking is the dominant topic has to be church related — theology, pastoral care, church leadership, that sort of thing.

  9. Jay Guin says:

    I was surprised at GraceConversation myself. "Astonished" would be more accurate. The traffic varies quite a lot, as the pace of posting varies quite a lot.

    However, its busiest day was 1,943 hits, which is pretty high in the Church of Christ blogging world, and that date is within the 3 month window.

    And as you say, it's gotten a lot of comment traffic lately.

  10. mattdabbs says:

    What does GC average, around 850 a day? I guess I could just watch for a few days but why not ask someone who knows? We could get real numbers if we wanted. Ask people to give their previous 1 month average. WordPress gives that out very easily. That would exclude some though who don't have access to those stats (like people with blogger if it is like it used to be) and don't have something like sitemeter. What muddies the water further is what are you counting: page views, refreshes, clicks, everything including your own visits? That gets hard to pin down.

    If you want to do more searching on Church of Christ blogs, I would suggest using a blog search rather than a web search like google's blog search – http://blogsearch.google.com/

    That should cull it for you a little bit toward what you are looking for and leave out the churches and schools.

  11. Tim Archer says:

    Alexa toolbar doesn't work for Safari, either. That's 16% of the traffic on my site (I guess I have lots of Mac friends). Not that I think my site is ranked too low (it's not), but that's still unfortunate.

    The rest of the traffic is pretty well split between Firefox and IE; only a small fraction comes from any other browsers.

    As for "non-blog" sites, I'm sure Heartlight.org would rank pretty high.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  12. Terry says:

    Thanks, Jay!

  13. Terry says:

    I've been thinking about your advice to add the Alexa toolbar to my browser so that my viewing of my own blog would count. I'm a little uncomfortable with that suggestion. I don't believe it would provide an accurate and honest picture of how often my blog is read by others. (I check my blog frequently to look at my blogroll. It would look like I have far more readers than I actually have.) I may not make the list again because of my decision, but thanks for including me this time.:)

  14. Jay Guin says:

    Terry,

    Alexa uses a number of measures, but one is the viewing habits of those who have the Alexa toolbar. While having the toolbar on your browser may distort the results for your own blog (although I doubt that one person's viewing habits actually make that much difference), not having the toolbar will distort the readership of those blogs you do read.

    I suppose one solution would be to read your own blog in Chrome or Opera or Safari and read others in IE or Firefox, where Alexa is loaded. But I think the better solution is for everyone to have the toolbar — as then the playing field is not only level, it's much more accurate.

  15. Terry says:

    Thanks, Jay. I'll think about it some more.

  16. Tim Archer says:

    If the Alexa toolbar is that important, then it's an unreliable measure. While Firefox is on the way up, IE is mainly used by people who just use what came with their machine or are forced to use it in a corporate setting. I don't know that I've ever heard of anyone choosing to use IE. (And it's universally hated by web designers since it doesn't follow industry standards)

    Unfortunately, I don't have a suggestion for anything better than Alexa, so I guess it's a "lesser of evils" situation.

  17. Wow! I'm so honored to even be on the list! Shocked is probably the real word. Especially since I haven't been writing much this summer.

    But to see my name on this list among so many I admire is strange. that old "School House Rock" song keeps popping into my head – "One of these things is something different, one of these things just isn't the same. . ."

  18. Pingback: And the Top Dog Blog Award Goes To … « West Coast Witness

  19. johnpmorris says:

    Has anyone check out http://www.apostlesdoctrine.us? Hoping to get some videos up soon. Lots of downloadable literature up at present.

  20. I think my blog should be listed here!

    This site offers daily devotionals concerning issues for women in the churches of Christ striving to be better Christian mothers, daughters, wives, teens, or sisters in Christ.

  21. This site offers daily devotionals concerning issues for women striving to be better Christian mothers, daughters, wives, teens, or sisters in Christ.

    callingherblessed.blogspot.com

  22. Hello, My name is Teresa Bell Kindred and I live in Kentucky and go to Pleasant Hill Church of Christ (my husband is a deacon and I teach teenage girls) I am the author of several books (mostly Christian non-fiction) and I do a blog called NanaHood (www.nanahood.com) I would love to be added to your list of Church of Christ bloggers. I actually just wrote something today about speaking and would love to send it to you, but not sure it would fit in your comment box. My email is teresa@nanahood.com just in case you would like to contact me. I would like to invite you to follow nanahood. It’s for men and women of all ages! Teresa

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