How Many Dallas Cowboys Blogs and Sites Are There in 2011?
Five years ago today was a Sunday, and the Cowboys were preparing to play the New Orleans Saints at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport the next day. Several of us on the old forums at DallasCowboys.com had become engaged in a trivia contest, which prompted an idea—how about a Dallas Cowboys blog that focuses entirely on trivia questions?
Figuring this *great* idea would last about two weeks or so, I moved forward with it.
Understanding that nobody cares, that was the origin of Know Your Dallas Cowboys, which launched on WordPress.com five years ago on August 20. Two days later, I registered the domain name, and this site has been up since then.
So how has it gone? The good part includes 881,000 page views over five years, meaning an average of about 14,700 page views per month. That pales in comparison to many of the largest sites, but it’s more than I would have figured five year ago.
I’ve had 3,274 comments on the site, but that’s actually the bad part. That means for every 269 page views, I get one comment. Not exactly stats of a successful site, but whatever. I didn’t say it was a successful site. I just haven’t ever killed it.
When I launched the blog, the two big private blogs were Blogging the Boys and The Boys Blog. Rafael Vela of The Boys Blog moved to Blogging the Boys for a time before setting up a new site at Cowboys Nation. The latter site quickly asserted itself as a major go-to source for Cowboys analysis.
Social media was not as big in 2006 as it is now. Few used MySpace to draw traffic, and micro-blogging had not yet taken off. A big source of traffic for smaller blogs was through the various forums. A common practice was, and is, to slip a link to an article in the signature area or to include the link in a post itself. It was a good way to draw the ire of forum moderators, and I assume it still is (I’ve since reformed).
Most newspaper articles and columns were available online, but since 2006 several have added blogs in addition to what is available in the newspaper. This has been true of the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and the San Antonio Express News. ESPN also now has a site devoted exclusively to Dallas, and that site includes a blog about the Cowboys.
In 2007, I posted an article asking how many Dallas Cowboys blogs there were. I included 18 private blogs along with blogs from the Dallas Morning News Cowboys blog and the blogs from the official Dallas Cowboys site.
I have updated my list of links to include new blogs and to remove defunct blogs. It is difficult to say, however, how many blogs there are now because some appear exclusively on Facebook or on similar platforms. It is also not as easy to distinguish between a blog and a forum because in several instances, sites function as both.
Anyway, here is my effort to summarize the state of the Dallas Cowboys blogosphere (using a 2006 term) as of 2011.
The Big Boys
Blogging the Boys was big in 2006 and it has continually grown since then. Even minor posts on the site will attract dozens of comments, while more popular posts attract hundreds. Moreover, individual fans are able to write their own blog posts, and those blog posts also attract many visitors. If a little blog wanted to compete with BTB…
Well, a little blog can’t compete with BTB. In fact, I am not sure how well mainstream media blogs (ESPN, DMN) compete with BTB. According to Compete, BTB has averaged 290,660 visitors per month during the past year.
Moreover, BTB to an extent has become mainstream media. Contributors on the site write the preview magazine for the team from Maple Street Press, and it might be one of the best preseason sources available.
I’m avoiding too many comparisons here, but while Blogging the Boys sets the standard for blogging as a site, Vela sets the standard for individual bloggers anywhere. Quite frankly, none of the big names in the media come close to providing the insight that Vela provides.
Case in point: In 2009, the Cowboys started using an unusual defensive alignment. My little brain saw that the linebackers were stacked in an unusual manner, but I didn’t know what the team was trying to do. Vela then wrote a post explaining that the team was using a form of the old 46 defense that Wade Phillips had learned from Buddy Ryan in Philadelphia. None of the media guys caught this, nor did any of the commentators on the official team site.
His stuff is always must-read.
The team revamped its forums in 2008 to develop the True Blue Fan Club. Most posts will attract dozens or hundreds of comments, and the conversations in the comments section are usually the most interesting. The forums are heavily moderated, but few sites have as many comments.
Professional Newspaper Blogs
Just when you thought ESPN could not steal another former Dallas Morning News reporter, Jean-Jacques Taylor jumps ship to join Calvin Watkins, Todd Archer, and Tim McMahon.
The defection of the aforementioned reporters from DMN has really hurt the quality of the DMN Cowboys blog. Posts by Rick Gosselin and Tim Cowlishaw (and perhaps David Moore) are worth reading, but I could do without several of the others.
The Startle-Gram blog isn’t bad, but it also doesn’t invite commentary in the same way that the newspaper’s columns do. Clarence Hill is a good writer, though, so the blog is worth reading.
Tom Osborn’s blog is much like the one from the Star-Telegram.
Private Network Blogs
Another way to boost site traffic is to join a network of blogs. I tried it with Most Valuable Network, but that experiment failed miserably. Others seem to have had more success.
The Landry Hat at one time had a single author. It has since grown to several authors, and it appears to be the biggest site on the FanSided network. It has grown tremendously in the past couple of years and now attracts about 16,000 visitors per month, according to Compete. That is bigger than all of the private sites other than Blogging the Boys.
This site was launched in 2007 and is part of the Sports Gab Network. The authors typically update it once a day.
Blogs by Individuals and Small Groups
As I noted, individual blogs come and go, but several of us have stuck it out for several years. I am not going to comment much about the blogs below, but I have verified that they are all still posting actively. I am listing them in alphabetical order.
Fairly new site with periodic updates.
This blog has been around for some time, and it is part of a network that includes blogs from every team. The site does not list an author, though, so it is not clear who creates the content.
This site has been around on different platforms since 2003, and the authors have resumed posting recently.
Fred Goodwin has what must be one of the largest collection of Cowboys books anywhere, and he has had blogs on several platforms. His site on Facebook has more than 2,000 “likes.”
This is a blog based in Brazil. Wish I could read the entries without relying on an online translator.
This site has been around for few years, and the author updated recently after a long break.
Poke’s site has been up since 2005, and he recently posted an update.
No site offers more media than DCFanatic. He also has regular shows on Blog Talk Radio.
Very good blog that launched in 2009.
This site first made its mark with its graphics designed primarily for MySpace. The site has a number of features, including Legends of the Star.
My favorite post from this site: JoneSpeak.
This site includes regular updates (often in the form of AP stories) and also has a forum section.
Some of the fan forums have shut down recently, which is unfortunate. Here is a list of those remaining:
Here are a few channels that focus on the Cowboys:
The Dallas Cowboys Show (John Shango)