Lies, damned lies, and statistics – or so the saying goes. We decided to check in with Alexa rankings – Amazon’s dubious but reasonably useful website ranking tool – to see what the reality was about website rankings for whisky blogs and magazines. And to actually put their numerical rankings alongside, for transparency.
It’s quite interesting, yet totally meaningless, as often bad implementation for the Alexa code can artificially inflate scores. A look under the bonnet of some of these sites also suggests Very Odd Things going on. People can game it. And of course, it’s not a reliable score that includes other online indicators – bounce rate, dwell time and all that jazz which tells you what people are doing with the articles – including actual visitor numbers. (Statistics are really about creating a narrative, perhaps.)
(Not to mention having implemented tracking codes incorrectly so less than half the content was being surfaced (cough, us, cough) and then forgetting to turn on the tracking code so that the real analytics were being used instead of Alexa’s way too dogy estimates…)
Then the politics. Should we include community sites like Whiskybase, which though not technically a blog is one of the top two whisky websites on the planet? What about very fine retailer blogs, which are often more authoritative? Should news sites sit alongside comment sites? What about those sites who seem to exist for links and affiliate sales? Dormant sites sitting on a precious URL with “whisky” in the title? Newspaper whisky sections?
But why is impact hard to measure? For example, one pleasing score from Serge at Whiskyfun – longest-running with a huge community across social – and the auction markets flutter accordingly. Some of the most respected wordsmiths in the community, which get good traffic (as their posts go viral) don’t seem to register with Alexa at all. One can never please everyone, but it’s an interesting if futile exercise.
These are hardly the thing our legacies are built upon – instead of proper meaningful things like entertainment value, insight, discussion, humour, nuance, emotion. The sense that you’ve come away from the website with far more than clicking on an affiliate link. We need meaning.
But anyway, with actual numerical Alexa rankings as of early November, these are the biggest whisky websites in the world, excluding retailers, including some seemingly dormant sites that are there for posterity. And yes, we could have probably summarised this from our analytics anyway, but some bunch of charlatans are firmly at the number one spot. Coincidence. Never trust statistics.
Top 100 Whisky Websites
#1 – 5
Website URL and then Alexa Ranking circa November 4th alongside.
1. http://malt-review.com – #85,782
2. http://thewhiskeywash.com – #111,985
3. http://www.bozzy.org/ – #113,333
4. http://whiskymonster.com/ – #114,705
5. http://www.breakingbourbon.com/ – #171,342
6. http://www.whiskynotes.be/ – #184,615
7. http://whiskyadvocate.com/blog/ – #193,239
8. http://thewhiskeyjug.com/ – #268,712
9. https://thewhiskyphiles.com/ – #296,059
10. http://www.whiskyfun.com/ – #308,384
#11 – 20
11. https://www.forwhiskeylovers.com/ – #308,730
12. http://www.meleklerinpayi.com/ – #322,516
13. https://scotchwhisky.com/ – #367,439
14. http://whiskeyreviewer.com/ – #426,061
15. http://www.distillerytrail.com/ #482,946
16. http://www.whisky.com/blog/ – #485,956
17. http://www.viskigurme.com/ – #510,550
18. http://www.bourbonbanter.com/bourbonblog/ – #681,542
19. http://pancakesandwhiskey.com/category/whiskey/ – #721,338
20. http://bourbonr.com/blog/ – #750,736
21. http://keyifadami.net/ – #795,661
22. http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/ – #800,026
23. http://www.whisky.buzz/ – #838,491
24. http://whiskycast.com/ – #878,037
25. http://modernthirst.com/ – #963,779
26. https://www.whiskymag.com – #954,593
27. http://www.veviski.com/ – #989,286
28. https://whiskeybon.com/ – #1,081,157
29. http://scotchnoob.com/ – #1,120,663
30. https://www.scotchmaltwhisky.co.uk – #1,147,875
31. http://www.chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/ – #1,223,817
32. http://www.greatdrams.com/ – #1,279,453
33. http://www.fredminnick.com/ – #1,304,794
34. http://bourbonveach.com/ – #1,398,484
35. http://myannoyingopinions.com/ – #1,473,419
36. http://www.biteandbooze.com/ – #1,589,245
37. http://bourbonsippers.com/ – #1,620,898
38. http://www.edinburghwhiskyblog.com/ – #1,784,708
39. https://merrimackvalleyhavurah.wordpress.com/whiskey-blog/ – #1,790,702
40. http://www.whiskystats.net/ – #1,940,192
41. https://dadsdrinkingbourbon.com/ – #1,943,697
42. http://wordsofwhisky.com/ – #2,030,650
43. http://scotchaddict.com/ – #2,076,420
44. http://sourmashmanifesto.com/ – #2,150,231
45. http://www.bourbonguy.com/ – #2,172,933
46. http://www.bourbonblog.com/ – #2,220,002
47. http://www.realmendrinkwhiskey.com/ – #2,241,345
48. http://whiskyoftheweek.co.uk/ – #2,249,599
49. http://barrelsandmash.com/ – #2,334,579
50. http://whiskyexperts.net/ – #2,334,906
51. http://canadianwhisky.org/ – #2,462,383
52. http://recenteats.blogspot.com/ – #2,475,353
53. http://todowhisky.es/ – #2,573,755
54. http://www.pursuitofpappy.com/ – #2,602,650
55. http://www.cooperedtot.com/ – #2,634,485
56. http://thewhiskylady.net/ – #2,645,485
57. http://www.lawhiskeysociety.com/ – #2,657,853
58. https://www.thedramble.com/ – #2,675,822
59. http://www.whiskycritic.com/ – #2,689,169
60. https://westmeathwhiskeyworld.wordpress.com/ – #2,705,054
61. http://whiskeyapostle.com/ – #2,706,707
62. http://www.vinspireuk.com/ – #2,794,109
63. http://www.tastethedram.com/ – #2,821,751
64. http://whiskysponge.com/ – #2,864,183
65. http://www.thewhiskywire.com/ – #2,931,249
66. http://adventuresinwhiskey.com/ – #3,063,174
67. http://potstilled.com/ -#3,101,141
68. https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/ -#3,379,162
69. https://americanwhiskeymag.com – #3,415,455
70. https://www.planetwhiskies.com – #3,440,873
71. http://misswhisky.com/ – #3,453,947
72. http://amateurdrammer.com/ – #3,459,883
73. http://rebmordechaireviews.blogspot.com/ – #3,463,155
74. http://sipologyblog.com/ – #3,617,989
75. http://whiskyisrael.co.il/ – #3,628,651
76. http://www.whiskysaga.com/ – #3,736,981
77. http://www.whiskyandwisdom.com/ – #3,853,766
78. http://www.japanese-whisky.com/ – #3,913,035
79. http://whiskyforeveryone.blogspot.com/ – #4,023,942
80. http://awardrobeofwhisky.com/ – #4,054,054
81. http://www.bexsonn.com/blog/ – #4,282,653
82. http://maltactivist.com/ – #4,588,518
83. http://www.bourbongents.com/ – #4,644,359
84. http://lougirl502.com/ – #4,645,908
85. https://ocdwhisky.com/ – #4,729,584
86. http://www.maltmaniacs.net/ – #4,790,934
87. http://www.timeforwhisky.com/ – #4,879,909
88. http://www.scotchcinema.com/ – #5,077,318
89. http://www.whiskymusings.com/ – #5,166,275
90. http://whisky-news.com/ – #5,293,274
91. http://www.divingforpearlsblog.com/ – #5,344,713
92. http://whiskey-reviews.com/ – #5,534,747
93. http://flightclubict.com/ – #5,572,179
94. http://jason-scotchreviews.blogspot.com/ – #5,617,432
95. http://thewhiskeyroom.blogspot.com/ – #5,621,529
96. http://cocktailchem.blogspot.com/ – #5,745,427
97. http://thecasks.com/ – #5,784,399
98. http://drinkinsider.com/ – #5,794,040
99. http://www.scotchology.com/ – #5,801,858
100. https://whiskylovingpianist.wordpress.com/ – #5,836,258
In the name of transparency, even though this data is readily available and can be exported, we should give a nod to Barry at Whiskyphiles for his initial forays into these clearly disputable rankings.
Good to see that the old strategy of simply regurgitating press releases is enough to place in the top 5 (*cough* whiskeywash *cough*). Gives hope to all of us who are creatively challenged.
As you say, damned lies and statistics. Malt and WhiskyFun are the only blogs I check on a daily basis. How much is traffic and how much is playing the game that Google wants you to?
Does reddit/r/scotch count? In some ways it’s more of a group blog than something like whiskybase, which is more a site for tickers. It’s in a grey area. Goes to show the futility of drawing hard boundaries, I suppose.
Hi Tom. Well, we cannot comment on the quality or otherwise of many of the names on the list there – that’s for others to speculate…
The thing is, Alexa doesn’t really even correspond to real traffic. It’s educated guesswork. And I’m pretty sure many of the blogs are doing things to get higher readings (duplicate code is sometimes a thing that influences Google Analytics for example). But Alexa does also show that many of the higher ranking sites have almost zero engagement – so basically there might be high stats, but no one is reading or rather sharing and talking about it. Which makes me very suspicious of it all.
I’m with you – a handful of good blogs/writers I check in with, Thijs, Ruben, Serge, and the miserable lot around these parts.
Good call on reddit – I suppose it being a ‘forum’ (in the old style) rather than blogs/news/magazines is probably why I’ve not included it. Plus it has an Alexa rank of 18, which would mean we weren’t number one, but neither would anything else – ever!
I wouldn’t have included reddit either, FWIW. I was just musing out loud. I guess forums really are an older form than blogs. I’m so used to the idea of any type of social media being “new” I hadn’t considered how old-fashioned reddit is in a lot of ways.
How does Malt get engaged upon, I wonder? I read but I rarely comment and I never share (sorry). What happens when I click on an article and realize it’s from an author (no names) whose articles I don’t care for and immediately leave? Is that what they call a “bounce”?
Sorry, thinking out loud again. I know there are no answers but the way I regard Malt is almost more as a magazine than a blog.
Yes, good old-fashioned forums. That was the way of things when I first came into online communities.
Malt: well, it depends on the user. Regular visitors probably check in once a day, perhaps just one article; others who are new might look around a lot more. Those searching in airport travel retail might just come to look at the dodgy whisky they’re standing in front of, then leave right away – the bounce, as you point out there yes.
There are comments/shares on social media, which started to take debate externally, and which is hard to keep track of. It also depends on how popular the whisky is under the microscope and so on. So it isn’t an exact science.
We perform really well on mobile – the vast majority of our users – so that’s probably reading on social or googling a whisky whilst out and about. That’s pretty much where we like to keep things – community and helping people out whilst searching. And to perform well for searches you need long-form quality content, which hopefully we’ve got!
The problem with analytics is, it’s really about what you want people to do on your own site. As long as it fits in with your aims, it’s all good.
I’ve always been a fan of forums. The forum over at scotchmaltwhisky.co.uk for example may not be the busiest in terms of traffic, but you do get some good opinions and views from the posters there.
I wish malt-review.com had a forum *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*
Very good compilation of websites. I love finding so much information about this drink
Nice list, but maybe I should start just re-posting press releases to get a high ranking
If you *were* trying to play the SEO game, re-posting press releases would likely have a zero or negative impact on site rankings, as it would probably be seen as regurgitating duplicated – and therefore not helpful – content.
Interesting that numbers 3 and 4 in the list are no longer active. Blogger burnout!
Thank you so much for the great post about whisky sites. I appreciate your effort to provide helpful information to the readers and I’m sure this will benefit many.
Very good selection of whiskey sites.