Was going through a list of bookmarked sites and happened across this Top 200 Catholic Blogs list.
Of the top ten, I only read numbers 4 & 5 with any regularity.
There's a pretty steep drop-off almost immediately - from over six thousand to below two thousand in just eight steps. Then after the top 20 we're into the hundreds.
To have hundreds of google subscribers is impressive but it still seems to be a "niche within a niche" as far as the Catholic community. Let's SWAG that there's 15,000 potential Catholic blog subscribers. That would put Fr. Z at over a third of the total, while someone with 400 subscribers at less than 3%.
There was no Disputations, which I find interesting. He's as smart as they come and is a skillful writer, so what gives? I think it's because he sort of a natural "pox on both your houses" type. He gives no quarter to the Catholic left or the Catholic right. I wonder if we can attribute his lack of popularity to the fact that he makes no one "feel good". Is it in any way attributable to the sense that we don't want to be challenged? On the other hand, Mark Shea seems to loathe both the Catholic left and Catholic right and he's sitting up around number 3.
I'm fascinated by the intangibles (or tangibles) that create blogging success because of what it says about us as a Catholic community and/or what works from an evangelistic viewpoint. Certainly with Curt Jester you have humor joined to an orthodox viewpoint and that's understandably a winning combination.
You could also peg non-news or personal blogs as either "mercy" blogs or "justice" blogs. The quintessential mercy blog was that of the departed Gerard Seraphin. I've thought of Disputations as the quintessential justice blog. Perhaps the best blogs are able to combine the two, to lead us not into presumption or despair.