Welcome to the Tots100 Primer
Every single month, the Tots100 ranks close to 10,000 active UK parent blogs. If you wonder how exactly we do that, here’s where we explain it all.
But before we do that, here’s the one thing we’ve learned about blogging since we set up Tots100 back in 2009:
It’s your blog.
Do what you love.
And love what you do.
Blogging to try and increase scores is boring. And measuring your enjoyment of your own blog by numbers is almost certainly not why anyone started blogging. We strongly advise all of our members to remember that Tots100 is simply a number that provides an insight into some aspects of your blog. We can’t hope to capture the very best thing about your blog – the fact that it’s your story, and you love it.
To perform well in the Tots100, we don’t advise doing anything in particular – just blog about what you love, and enjoy your blog. Your scores might go up some months, and down others, but so long as you’re having fun, you’re doing it absolutely right.
A Note About Eligibility
The Tots100 index is an index of UK parent blogs. This doesn’t mean our members just write about parenting – our members cover fashion, interiors, politics, books, culture, food and much more! But all the blogs in Tots100 are written by parents and are in whole or in part about family life. All the blogs included are written by bloggers in the UK, or by UK bloggers living overseas. Blogs that are not updated for three months or longer may be removed from the index. We suggest not submitting a blog until it is six months old. The less well established your blog is, the more volatile your ranking will be.
We do not list blogs published by brands (and written by third parties). We do not include blogs behind password protection, or paywalls.
We reserve the right to discount any scoring metric or blog in our listings that we consider is acting unfairly to boost scores, including buying followers on social media, using technical means to automatically boost page views, and similar. We reserve the right not to list sites that offer cash giveaways in exchange for follows on a social media account or additional page views.
Inclusion of any blog in the Tots100 is strictly at the discretion of our editors, and we reserve the right to remove blogs from our lists that are not suitable, current or do not consider meet these criteria, or which might bring the Tots100 and its clients into disrepute. Should you have any questions about the eligibility of a blog at any time, please contact us.
WHAT IS MY TOTS100 SCORE BASED ON?
Every month, the Tots100 takes all of the blogs in the index, and collects nine separate pieces of information about these sites from various sources that we consider are good measures of popularity, engagement and influence.
These data sources are:
Your Tots100 badge: We track the number of page impressions and unique users who load your site badge. So ensure it shows on every page of your blog, including mobile page views.
SEM Rush: We use this site to identify links pointing to your site from other websites. We collect three pieces of data – the total number of links pointing to your site; the total number of NEW links created each month; and the site’s SEO Score, a score from 0-100 that ranks the quality and influence of sites that link to you. An easily equivalent to your SEM Score is MozRank, which you can find at the Open Site Explorer.
Instagram: We look at how many people follow your Instagram account. We can only include this in your score if the account is not private.
Twitter: We look at how many people follow your Twitter account. We can only include this in your score if the account is not private.
Klout Score: We look at your Klout score out of 100. This is a measure of how well your social media accounts perform.
YouTube Views: If your account has a YouTube account associated with it, we will look at how many views your channel has received, per video, over the past month.
HOW IS THE TOTS100 SCORE CALCULATED?
Once we have collected all nine pieces of data for every blog, the site starts calculating your score.
For each metric, we will rank all the blogs in the community, and allocate points. So for example, the blog with the lowest number of Twitter followers will score 1 point, the next lowest will score 2 points, and so on. If two or more blogs tie, they will receive the same number of points.
We do the same thing for every metric – page impressions, unique users, Twitter followers, Instagram followers, YouTube views, inlinks, new links, SEM score and Klout score. At the end of this process, everyone has 9 different scores.
At this point, every blog has 9 different scores – one for each metric. We add all the scores together, and then rank the blogs, from low to high. The blog with the most points will be ranked #1 in the community that month.
WHY DOES MY BLOG MOVE UP/DOWN?
One of the most common questions we hear from bloggers is, “Why did my stats go up, but my blog went down?” or “Why didn’t my rank change when my traffic was higher/lower?”
To help address these questions, it’s important to remember a few basic facts:
- The Tots100 is a RANKING system. So your rank each month depends on how your scores compared to everyone else’s. Some months, Internet traffic is generally higher, and your stats will go up – but so will everyone else’s – so your rank won’t necessarily change. It might even go down if your stats didn’t go up as much as other people’s. The reverse is true – sometimes your stats will go down, but your Tots100 rank could still go up.
- As the index grows, and new blogs join Tots100, some of them will come into the index above you. So your ranking might not have changed much, but other blogs are being ranked for the first time – so your rank might be lower as a result.
- Lots of blogs (especially newer blogs) have VERY similar scores. What this means is that outside the top 100, the blogs are very close together in terms of the number of links, Klout scores etc. A very small change in your rank from month to month might therefore mean a surprisingly big move up or down the charts. This will reduce over time, as your blog gets more established. But for new blogs, don’t be surprised at a rise or fall of 50, 100 or even more ranks in a single month.
- We know there are lots of brilliant blogs that won’t rank highly in Tots100. We understand Tots100 is just a statistical analysis tool and it can’t reflect the quality of your content, or the passion you have for your blog. We value every single member of our community and we are committed to sharing opportunities and promoting content from all of our members – not just those with the biggest scores.
HOW CAN I BOOST MY SCORE?
The good news (we think) is that the very best way to rank highly in Tots100 is the most fun. Just write the content you love to write, engage with other blogs, make your content easy to find, and you should find your rank gradually increases over time. That said, we do know there are a few common areas where bloggers can ensure we are accurately reflecting their success.
- Decide on a web address. Most blog addresses are set up to default to either a ‘www’ or non-www address. Ensure the address in your account is the one that is most used, and most linked to.
- Check your Twitter ID. Ensure it is up to date and doesn’t include an errant @ symbol – we don’t need it.
- Look for easy, fun ways to spread the word about your blog. Writing guest posts, commenting on blog posts and newspaper articles, sharing posts on social networks – these are all great ways to build links to your site and attract new readers.
- Connect your blog to Twitter and Facebook. Consider adding social buttons to posts so readers can share them easily.
- Ensure your profile is complete and up-to-date. People often forget to update their profile when they re-brand, or create a new YouTube channel.
- Consider adding your Instagram and Facebook accounts to Klout, if they’re active and well-used it will boost your score.
- Give it time and don’t get disheartened. With a new blog, it’s not easy to be noticed. That’s why we recommend blogging for fun first and foremost – that way you won’t worry if it takes a little while for the rest of the world to recognise your brilliance!
- Ask us. We are here to help. If you’re concerned about your score, or need some advice, please just email us using the contact form, and someone will get in touch as soon as possible!
Because our ranks rely on data from other websites, sometimes mistakes can (and do) happen. Websites time out, connections drop momentarily, and scores can be incorrect. If you suspect your score isn’t right, you can always email us and we will be happy to check your scores. We are also happy to answer your questions on the blog, by email or over on Twitter – just ask!
The key to the Tots100 is that it’s there to promote your blog, and find other blogs. We will help connect you to brands, and if you’d like to, as a Tots100 blogger you can attend workshops, social and blogging social events, like our Christmas party. So even if you’re not in the top 100 or even the top 1,000, we think you will enjoy being a part of our community.