The Tots 100 Scores – Are they really the be-all and end-all?

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When i first came across the tots 100 a couple of months ago the competitive side of me thought ‘weeeeeeee yay charts’ and i was really motivated to see my position climb. Now? I see things a bit differently.

When the scores are released mid month i watch, slightly bemused, as my twitter feed becomes infiltrated with people tweeting in sheer joy or desperation because their scores are up or down a few places.

When i logged in today to check out my position and saw i was no. 507 i briefly considered having a mini social media meltdown about how i was only 7 places off getting a top 500 badge but i decided not to because, um, well….is it really that important?

I’ve looked at the way the scores are calculated and as with all systems it is entirely possible to play it. This is not a criticism, in fact, they use similar methods to Google but even Google can be played  – what do you think all the thousands of people working in SEO do everyday?

There are award winning blogs that don’t appear in the charts probably because the don’t have the inclination to run linky’s, tout for PR opps, or spend 24/7 on twitter.

Now i’m not berating anybody who runs linky’s, in fact i’m a firm follower of a couple myself, i don’t mind well written and relevant reviews and i wish i did have more time to spend on twitter (although actually i would probably spend it sleeping). All i’m saying is that your Tots 100 position is certainly not the only indicator of how good your blog is. While some of my favourite bloggers are in the charts, others are not even on the scale, it doesn’t mean i enjoy them any less.

I respect and follow blogs because i enjoy their writing, photography, humour, knowledge or personality. Because they strike a chord with me, have me nodding my head in agreement, laughing away at the stories they tell or smiling at yet another stunning picture.

The Tots 100 is one of the first sites i visited when i started my blog and it is a truly fantastic resource, but it confuses me as to why so many people seem to think it is the virtual holy grail of blogging. Whats up with that?

I’m proud of what i have achieved since i started blogging nearly four months ago; I don’t need a number on a badge to validate that for me and neither should you.

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MummyBarrow

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77 thoughts on “The Tots 100 Scores – Are they really the be-all and end-all?

  1. (Mostly) Yummy Mummy

    This! A thousand times this! I signed up for all this malarkey when I first started out because it felt like you *had to* to get seen somehow. But in actual fact, it didn’t bring me any more readers or any more opportunities. I quickly realised like you that the people up there in the dizzy heights of the actual top 100 were probably there because they wanted to be. As in they had the time and inclination to meet all the required metrics. Me? That’s really not why I blog and my readers don’t seem to mind one jot that I don’t have a badge to tell them how good I am *snort*

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      That’s exactly what i think. It just seems some people’s sole aim in blogging is to get into the charts?! Just a bit strange really – blog because you love blogging innit :)

      Reply
  2. Life With Munchers

    It’s a ‘nice to have’ and a bit of fun. There will always be the ones who take it deadly serious and may even let it rule how they blog, tweet etc. Everyone has different goals. I take part, but I’m not going to let it rule me. I don’t have the time!

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      Agreed – I’m still keeping my badge and i am interested in my scores it’s just the way some people get so carried away and affected by it i don’t understand!

      Reply
  3. Sam

    You must be doing something right that I’m not – I started mine back in June and my current ranking is 1876! But yeah – agree with everything you say – it’s all a numbers/social networking juggle that I just don’t have the time or energy for right now. I work part time which is great but it does feel a bit like my time and brain power is constantly being harnessed by either my employer or my kids with maybe three hours down time in the evening if I’m lucky. Maybe once they’re both at school I’ll have some time to make my blog brilliant and beautiful (with or without ratings!) but until then it will have to remain my rough around the edges ramblings!

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      And i think that’s fine, you are doing it fr all the right reasons! It is bloody time consuming and i’m sure i don’t put in half the hours other people do. I need to go and follow your blog. I adore owls :)

      Reply
      1. muffinmummy

        Thanks mylitledreamworld1! Just popped over to have a look at your blog too – very crafty! and Katie – hmm, my blog isn’t really that owly… I’ll have to work on that!!

  4. 3yearsandhome

    I have tots and ebuzzing ranking badges on my blog. When I go up, I think ‘yay’ and have a cup of tea. When I go down, I think ‘ah’ and have a cup of tea. In short, I’m not overly fussed. Flicking through the top 100, I think I read about 6 or 7 of them and that’s because I like them and not because of the positioned they’re ranked in. Like you, I’m pretty sure I could devote myself to playing the game and moving up, but I don’t want to. Running a linky is my idea of hell – hats off to those that do because it’s such hard work.

    I think I spend around 5/6 hours a week on social media/blogging stuff and my tots rank seems to flit between 150 and 250. It feels about right to me but I plan to cut down once we’re back in the UK. I currently post 3/4 posts per week but am thinking of going down to 2. We’ll see.

    Reply
  5. mylittledreamworld1

    I love this post – best post of the week I think :) I like tots100 as its a good way to find new blogs, and look at the competitions :) but I’m not fussed about my ranking…I can see how it could become an obsession though. Xxx

    Reply
  6. cariemay

    It’s just like anything else, it’s malleable. Some blogs will be top because they are awesome, some because they market themselves really well, and full credit to them for putting in that much effort. I doubt my tots score is ever going to be my primary motivation in blogging – and if it ever is, please remove me from the Internet forthwith!!

    Reply
  7. Dean B

    Oh I didn’t even know you could get a badge for the “right” number! I think I’ve only checked mine once … I agree with you… Don’t really bother much about numbers… I’m curious now… will check. But I honestly doubt if it’s any good! :)

    Reply
  8. @ADadCalledSpen

    Great post. For me, I just don’t get the listing/ranking side of it. ‘Oh it’s just a bit of fun’ say they but I’ve seen some people tweet about how they’re thinking of giving up blogging when their ranking goes down, or similar.
    As you say, it matters not. If you enjoy what you’re doing, writing for you, getting good comments and having fun then that makes you Number 1 in my eyes.

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      That’s exactly it Spencer – it’s fine if it is a bit of fun but when i see people properly upset by it i think they have lost sight of why they started blogging in the first place. It’s a shame some take it so seriously as some of my favourite blogs aren’t so called ‘popular’ ones.

      Reply
  9. tombriggs79

    Totally with you on this. Although I’ve been a lot slower at getting it into my head, having blogged for three years and fretted about my ranking for two of them!

    Reply
  10. Mummy Hearts You

    God I love this post! I think you have hit the nail on the head head! People really do take it far too seriously and 9/10 only know if the TOTS are in due to my twitter feed going crazy about it!

    Reply
  11. suzanne3childrenandit

    And so you should be lady! You’ve quickly become a firm favourite of mine :) I felt the same way as you, but slowly but surely that competitive streak/yearning to be recognised crept up on me. This month Ive crept into the Tots 100….Im not on twitter very often, run a monthly (fairly unsuccessful linky) and Im not sure how I got there other than page views and comments. It is a huge motivator when going well but equally a demotivator when not. By the way, to be in the 500s your first month is pretty amazing! Try to stay untainted for as long as possible!

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      Ahh thanks Suzanne! :) It’s funny because I’m actually really competitive too so it’s a bit of a struggle for me to not get sucked in. I just think it’s a shame when people start to question their blogs as some of my favorite blogs are probably no where near the top. I love your blog through, you always have great posts and it’s very real if that makes sense.

      Reply
  12. Amy

    Completely agree with you. I was excited to start with but I’m not fussed any more. I’m not trying to be another blog that is at the top but seems to have the same content. I like my blog being a little part of my life. That’s not to say I turn down every PR company lol.

    Reply
  13. Lisa J

    YES! I don’t run linkies, don’t sit on Twitter all day and only very rarely run a competition on my blog. While some of the top rated blogs are absolutely brilliant, many of them are just there because of stats that have nothing to do with writing and interesting content. I realized some time ago that those people are definitely better bloggers than I am (because I haven’t got the inclination to do any of that stuff, and to be fair to them, it takes some serious work and effort). But I’m very happy with my content, and as I’m a freelance writer, that’s what’s most important to me. It does, however, rankle a bit that I don’t get the opportunities that the higher rated bloggers do purely because my rating isn’t up there.

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      Thanks Lisa. I guess that’s the problem with any rankings or system, it just rewards those who know how best to play it. But yeh, fair play indeed, i spent enough time blogging and don’t do half as much as i could!

      Reply
  14. MummyNeverSleeps

    It’s always a nice boost to see your blog’s doing OK in those metrics, but it’s such a disappointment to seeing it going down again. In truth, it seems to make no difference either way to my blog – only my mood! I still get nice opportunities whether I’m up or down! I’ll continue to pretend to not care but in secret I will ;) Fab post x

    Reply
  15. Afra Willmore

    brilliant post. I forget about ranking until tots day then peek and wish I hadn’t! I’m largely climbing (v slowly) but way off getting any kind of badge. Unless they have one for top 800? But people who read my blog seem to like it and I have some loyal readers who tell me they read every post so I’m happy!

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      I feel like that often too, i think most people do. I think you just have to do what ‘you’ want and not over think things, doing stuff out of your comfort zone because you think it’s what people want to read will never work. Thanks for your comment Claire x

      Reply
  16. @jodiekins22

    I’ve been blogging well over 2 years and bounce around in the Tots rankings like a ping pong ball (nowhere near the top). I don’t have the time (or the inclination) to understand the ranking system or do any more social media than I already do because I have a life to live. Only so I can blog about it though :) Great post x

    Reply
  17. Kara

    Have to admit I did a happy dance when I got my score today and did tweet……no, it’s not the be all and end all but it was a nice surprise for me.
    I don’t know whether it has brought me more opportunities, I think it has – I certainly get offered a lot more than I used to but it may be that more people read my blog now.
    In a world where I don’t work and get that pat on the back when I’ve done a bloody good job it’s a real boost!

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      Thanks for your comment Kara. I can totally see why it’s a boost and i feel like that too – it’s more concerning when people get so caught up in it and really let it affect their mood and motivation. Ultimately i think you just have to blog for yourself, if you don’t enjoy it then it will probably never work out x

      Reply
  18. ktbtw

    I’m signed up but have never actually checked my ranking! I blog because i enjoy writing down my thoughts, it makes me so happy when someone takes the time to comment on one of my posts so thats why i blog, for the happiness it brings me, not how i rate against others. I love your blog, you’re definitely in my top 10 =D

    Reply
  19. brinabird and son

    I only joined to find blogs. I don’t follow a lot in the top 100 mind as they are not personally my cup of tea. I don’t do enough myself to get into the top of anything. I find the competitiveness, criticisms, ect of blogging especially what I will bravely describe as parents who blog a tad crazy sometimes. I’m not a huge fan of “awards season” and am grateful when that is all over. I meander along & find if I get too serious about it it spoils the fun. Then I’m not looking to do reviews or get any professional recognition. I just enjoy reading about family life and finding supportive posts.

    Reply
  20. Amethyst Skies

    To be blinded by ranking in my eyes means people have lost the essence of why they blog. I mean, sure if they just want to be ‘popular’ that’s their prerogative but for me, blogging is cheaper than therapy. I also find that high ranking blogs don’t always go hand in hand with decent content.

    I’m never likely to be nominated or an award but hey, that’s fine. I’m apparently in the top 500 on tots100 but that’s like saying i’m 6576576576576 in line to the throne, it’s kind of irrelevant. It wouldn’t make me a better blogger.

    MamaUndone

    Reply
  21. Crystal Jigsaw

    I am a fan of the Tots and I think we only need look at the amount of blogs registered there now to see that these scores really do matter to many, many bloggers. I’ve been up and down the charts over the years, and have written for them on several occasions where I introduced new blogs to other members. This was great fun and often very beneficial. I found a lot of great blogs myself from writing those posts. I don’t use Twitter as much these days, and I’m hardly ever on Google plus or any of the other social media platforms that I believe Tots use to collect scores. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of competitive blogging and I think perhaps the monthly scores do add to the competition a little, but so do all the award ceremonies and conferences people now attend.

    Since I’ve been blogging (May 2007) I’ve seen so many changes in the blogging world, it’s eye-watering. But like I say, Tots has had a massive impact on blogging since it started, and the increase in parent blogs is living proof that it does indeed work.

    CJ x

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      Thanks for your comment Crystal. I’m not criticising the system itself, I definitely think it has a place. I have a badge myself and have also learnt a lot through it and found some great blogs to follow. In fact it was one of the first pages I visited when I started.

      It’s just the reactions people have to the scores, it seems to really impact people’s moods and motivations which I don’t think is right. It’s just a system and there are many more factors, above your rank number, which determine whether you have a good blog. If you enjoy it and you have a few followers who enjoy it then that’s the most important thing x

      Reply
      1. Crystal Jigsaw

        Oh, don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with you. I wish parent bloggers who ARE Tots members would stop getting their knickers in a twist every time their scores go down – never seems the case when their scores go UP…

        I know members use Tots for different reasons. I hold my hands up and admit that I enjoyed being in the Top 10, then was No. 1 for a couple of months (some time ago) which did add to my blogging ego, considerably! However, I’ve never bothered with stats or links or competitions of any sort, and leave all the award ceremonies to those who take blogging (a little too) seriously. I don’t work with PRs or SEOs and have never accepted an opportunity from a Tots related company to review an item, nor will I. But I think groups like Tots have been a positive and encouraging step forward for parent blogging as a whole. As is Britmums also.

      2. hurrahforgin Post author

        Wow you have done so well! I hadn’t actually come across your blog before so i’m really glad you commented as i’m looking forward to reading, looks to be right up my street :)

  22. Clare

    I find it really interesting to watch myself move about within the charts, and it is such narcacism that I’m a little proud that so far (so far!) I’ve only climbed, however if I went down, I wouldn’t be the bothered and if it didn’t exist I’d be even less so! I will confess that the only reason I know the scores have been updated is because of Twitter. Otherwise…I’d of forgotten about it by now!!!

    Reply
  23. motherofmadcatsandbabies

    Thank you for posting this. I totally agree. There is always going to be a top, and a bottom, and a middle, and someone always is number one, it’s just the way life is, specuially in blogging. I think sadly the attitude that has pervaded life seems to be “I must win, or be better than x” and it means people are bothered by these stats. I read some fantastic blogs that aren’t in the Tots 100 ranks, I don’t bother with ranking, it can mean something, or nothing.

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      Me too! I follow some great blogs that don’t even take part or who may be no where near they top but who cares as long as you enjoy reading and they enjoy writing :)

      Reply
  24. LearnerMother

    I’m a saddo and always check my score!! But I don’t stress if I’ve gone down because the blog is a hobby and once it matters if it goes up or down, then it becomes work. And I do enough of THAT already, thank you very much! I guess if you are blogging to make money it probably matters a bit more?
    I quite like Tots100 in general though, their blogger tips and tutorials are really helpful for a newbie blogger like me. Though just realised I’m like nine months old now, go me!!!

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      Oh wow happy 9 months! I will check out your blog :) your not a saddo by the way i check my score too, i’m interested in it just not overly affected by it. I guess if you do make a living through blogging though it might explain why you would be more concerned x

      Reply
  25. WallyMummy

    I wouldn’t know how to get up the rankings… I have never even broken the top 500, and I consider pretty well known as a blogger these days! lol.. perhaps it’s because I say fuck and vagina too much… and once stamped on a fairy… ;)

    Reply
  26. WENDY MCDONALD (@wendymcd83)

    Great post. I think as long as we are all happily doing whatever it is that we want to do in our little corners of cyberspace, then that is all that really matters. As the Tots 100 rankings is in part reliant on back links, the blog’s longevity comes into play, putting old timers like myself at a bit of an advantage. The semi-hysteria that accompanies the rankings being updated does always surprise me. Ranking in just one small part of this massive cyber adventure. x

    Reply
  27. helloitsgemma

    Some people spend hours and hours trying to improve their score. Life is too short, imagine converting that time to time outside. Which of the two is more preferable? My rule when I registered with the tots was that I will never ever comment in public about my score. If you sign up – you have to accept the rough with the smooth and moaning about going down is frankly just sour. I think there are some 5,000 blogs registered which give it some perspective. So to be in the top 500 is amazing. Some of the best blogs Mostly Yummy being one aren’t even in it. Do their readers care? No. Speaking, as someone who has been in the top 100 for a good while I can categorically state it make zero difference to what I am offered or to my visitors or to my day to day life. I don’t have huge stats and I’ve never run a linky. This year I went to Trevella in Cornwall via the tots. Not for my tots score for my content. A whole group of bloggers were picked, they weren’t all in the top 100. What you are offered depends on many other things – it’s a real misconception that it’s about tots score. There are great benefits to the Tots, Blog summit, hints and tips, opportunities to get posts highlighted via tots to a bigger audience. Mostly, it’s an umbrella to find other bloggers and improve blogging for blogging sake.

    Reply
  28. helloitsgemma

    Gosh that sounds a bit ranty. I’m not ranting at you. You have the right attitude, it’s a general view on the whole thing. I did notice one of the comment mention that it rankles that high ranking bloggers get more opportunities, really they don’t. It’s such a misconception. Tara, for example, who blogs at Sticky Fingers has had some amazing opportunities, I think she will also be the first to say she is also offered a lot of tat.. I can’t even see the tots badge on her site, she has however been blogging since 2002, she has a huge and loyal audience, she is an authority in her field but mostly her content is great.

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      Thanks for your comment Gemma – it makes perfect sense and is not ranty – i totally agree. I already spend quite enough time blogging without worrying about how to up my score. As someone else mentioned, credit to those that do, because they must put a lot of effort in.
      It’s good to know that opportunities don’t just come to those with the highest scores and that its based on content too, some of my favourite bloggers don’t seem to rank that highly or participate and it would seem a shame they would not be rewarded, should that be what they wanted. It’s such a new world to me that it’s not really something i have even considered!

      Anyway the point of the post really wasn’t to bash the tots, I’ve found it a really useful resource and i don’t think having an interest and checking your scores is a problem at all. What i was trying to get across in my post was that i think it’s a shame when people get really affected by their scores and question their blog etc. No ranking system can be perfect but imo the top 100 are not ‘the top blogs’. Everyone’s will be different based on what they enjoy reading about and even if your blog is very small/low rank it doesn’t mean it’s unimportant or any less good :)

      Reply
  29. Mummy Glitzer

    Absolutely agree with Gemma. I am signed up to Tots and didn’t even know about the scoring at first! Lol. I love it for finding other blogs and for the workshops they have run which I found really useful. When the scores come out each month I do comment on Twiter about whether I have gone up or down but it doesn’t upset me or make me deliriously happy, it’s just something extra.

    Reply
    1. hurrahforgin Post author

      Thanks Rachel – you sound totally ‘normal’ don’t worry ;) I check my stats too but i think as long as it doesn’t seriously affect your mood it’s fine! Anyway i juts left a long comment back to gemma below so i won’t repeat myself but i wasn’t really trying to question the tots in general, just that it’s not really that important on the scale of things iyswim x

      Reply
  30. Mummy Endeavours

    Gosh tons of replies to this, such a good post. I have to say I don’t get Tots 100 scores at all lol. I’ve climbed slowly but not near the top 500 yet. I have never logged on to klout or kred or ebuzzing (what the hell ARE they?) so I don’t expect much when I see my scores. I didn;t even look for he first few months didn’t know how to!! I find blogging time consuming. I love it but find it difficult to just whack a post out so I don’t post as often as i’d like. I feel guilty too if I’m online and my kids are around. I don’t comment on others as much as I’d like to either which isn’t cool but I’m so busy and I don;t need the stress of spending all my time on blogs (however much i’d like to) and social media etc… I honestly don’t know how people do it!!!!!

    Reply
  31. Mother.Wife.Me

    Ok, everyone else has said all the stuff that I would say… so I’m just going to say 4 MONTHS???? Really, when I landed on your blog last week I thought I’d been missing out on something that had been going for much longer. Loving what you do, your writing style and the content of your posts is exactly what I want to be reading when I go surfing around the blogosphere.

    Reply
  32. Alison @ Not Another Mummy Blog

    I am such a Tots hypocrite. I have ranted on a few occasions how much I don’t care about my score and how people can manipulate the metrics …. and then last week when I crept into the top 150 for the first time, I punched the air and said “yessss!” Ha ha.
    But you’re so right when you say that writing good posts is what matters. Everything else is just a bonus.

    Reply
  33. Mrs P

    Hi, I just find this blog post and love it I am a part of tots100 but right down in the 2051. I blog as its as I find it fun and nice to do in the eveing, And I have dyslexia so it helps with that,

    Reply
  34. Louise

    Fantastic post. I did get excited this month as entered the top 1000 for the first time and whilst my twitter feed was full of top 100 celebrations, it still was a mini milestone for me. I try not to get too hung up about my rank though – I blog mostly for love of writing and wanting to record those moments and if I ever start fretting about tots charts, I remind myself of that! :-)

    Reply

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