I set out to explore what it takes to go A-List, or specifically to be considered an A-List Blogger. The differences between an A-List Blogger and a B-List Blogger are drastic, and focus more on influence and status. The differences between a B-List Blogger and all other 'letters of the alphabet' are mainly traffic and income levels.
Of course, this is just my perception and opinion... because there is not an official definition or chart available that outlines the differences between the A-B-C lists. If there is I could not find it, and will gladly stand corrected. This is the closest I could come to finding an official definition for an A-List blogger:
Popular bloggers, usually those in the Technorati top 100. (source)
There are several criteria that define which list a blog falls under. Those criteria include the number of inbound links, number of unique visitors, amount of (consistent) monthly revenue and the number of feed subscribers. Other possible criteria might include post frequency, post-to-comment ratio, PageRank, etc. It depends on who's categorizing.
But in my opinion it boils down to only 3:
links, uniques & revenue...
All of the other factors and criteria ultimately lend to these three things.
Unless you are in it for fame and popularity, these are the only true indicators of your success as a blogger. If you suck, nobody is going to link to you. If you blog crap, nobody is going to read it. And if nobody links to your blog, or reads it, you have no revenue.
That's not to say that every blogger is in it to make money, and make money alone. Revenue is more a result of great blogging than a goal.
Technorati has a ranking system that is based on Authority Groups. The criteria of each of their groups (from Low Authority to Very High Authority) is based on the number of blogs that have linked to yours in the last 6 months. Their Top 100 Blogs list is also based on link love.
Since there is no official chart or criteria that includes all 3 primary indicators of list placement, I'll whip up a general guideline for you:
500+ inbound links in the last 6 months
250,000+ unique visitors per month
$10,000+ in monthly revenue
100-499 inbound links in the last 6 months
10,000+ unique visitors per month
$1,000+ in monthly revenue
10-99 inbound links in the last 6 months
2,000+ unique visitors per month
$300+ in monthly revenue
From those figures, there may not seem to be such a divide between the B-List and the A-List. But dont let my chart fool you - these are very conservative generalities and A-List Bloggers generally enjoy 10x the number of either 3 criteria listed.
The truth is that there is a gaping divide between the two classes, and making the jump from B-List to A-List is a major feat.
I should add that this is all truly irrelevant unless you are simply looking for a benchmark to help you set your blogging goals. And to be honest, its still irrelevant because success is relative.
It has been argued that "Being A-List" is more about reach and influence than about blog stats. But since influence cannot be measured in logical terms, this gives you a general breakdown of the results of unmeasurable factors such as popularity & influence.
There is an excellent article on David Hauslaib in NY Mag titled The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom. I should warn you upfront that it is more of a short novel, being 6 pages in length.
If you launch a witty blog in a sexy niche, if you’re good at scrounging for news nuggets, and if you’re dedicated enough to post around the clockâ€”well, there’s nothing separating you from the big successful bloggers, right? I can do that.
In theory, sure. But if you talk to many of today’s bloggers, they’ll complain that the game seems fixed...
I'm going to skip the arguments and animosity regarding The Blogging Elite (ie the A-Listers), and that 'the game is fixed'... suffice it to say there is plenty of noise in the blogosphere on that topic. The article mentioned above is a fairly good read on the basics of the Power Law and the differences between society's elite and majority.
If you want my personal opinion on the matter, I can sum it up in one statement: be inspired instead of envious. As I mentioned, success is relative. Figure out what you want whether that be a fun outlet and a certain dollar amount on the side, fame and wealth, or something in between. Know exactly what your goals are, and set out to achieve them.
But for those of you that want to break out, there is still hope...
â€œYou think the A-list is the A-list is the A-list,â€ says David Sifry, the CEO of Technorati. â€œBut I’m telling you, boy, does it shiftâ€”and does it shift fast.â€ (source)
See Part 2 of this series: How to Break Out From The Majority and Claim Your Stake on the A-List...