I had three people ask questions on how the "Blogs To Read" list gets put together each year, so I thought it wise to share. First and foremost, it's not a popularity contest. Every year there have been a couple that received an avalanche of votes, and they usually make it on to the list. But more important that popularity is quality. Blogs make it on the looooong list by being suggested. I go through every blog I can find and look back at what they wrote this year. I get email, IMs, and comments on LISNews full of blogs from all over. I ask past winners, friends, and anyone else I can find. I start with as many as possible. The first list this year was about 180 blogs, which I quickly cut in half, and then with a bit more work in half again. I'm currently working my way through the final list of 30(ish) blogs now.
There are 5 that I have short listed (2 crowd favorites and 3 obvious choices) which leaves just 5 more. I'm going to try to reduce that short list of 30 to about 10 and get feedback from the other LISNews authors. And that should do it. The final list is going to be difficult this year, the short list looks like a great bunch of blogs. I don't have strict rules to eliminate blogs, but I did come up with this list that explains how the list is reduced. I go through the list, read and reread every blog and try to objectively decide if it will fit on the list this year.
Below are the things that I use to create the final list:
Things that get blogs excluded:
Infrequent posting: This year I also excluded any blog that hasn't updated in a month.
Short posts: Anyone can post a single link every day.
Too many posts consisting of just a big long quote: Wow, you can copy and paste!
Too many posts of life stream stuff: We're all impressed you found Twitter.
Too much personal or off topic stuff: Yes, your cats are super cute.
Too many memes: How many Facebook quizzes did you take?
Didn't stand out in its niche: Sometimes the blog is good, but just not better than others.
Things that make a blog "readable":
Frequent essay length posts.
Quality, in depth and insightful posts that add to the conversation.
In depth reviews of books, blogs, articles, conferences and life in our profession.