Putting together a decent, well informed look at what’s currently trending can be a cumbersome and irritating task. For many online marketers or webmasters who want to jump on the “what’s popular” bandwagon, it means a lot of time consumed investigating. You have to do a lot of surfing to discover what sites are visited most, which ones have a higher Alexa ranking, and how many comments and re-shares have been earned.
In some ways, the sites themselves have made this easier. Certain sites will show a Facebook and Twitter box next to the post, where you can see how many people have reposted. In addition, there are also the now-prevalent ‘like’ buttons. These are the most obvious ways that people generally find out how popular a specific link might be. This is in addition to how many comments it may have received. However, that only gives you a look at what’s currently being talked about and can be as relevant to a particular comment as to the story itself.
A good example of this is shown with viral content, such as those on YouTube. You might think that because something has thousands of comments, it’s popular in and of itself. But you might also note that the popularity of the video is due to more dislikes than likes. Anyone who has been forced to read pointless political hate speeches on a Gummy Bears video will know what I mean.
What if there was a way that you could quickly scroll through any site and find the most popular links without going through each one to calculate the overall sharing percentage? This is actually possible, and is now easier than it ever was before.
Counting Tweets – this one happens to be my favorite. It’s a fantastic little website that provides a handy overlay to any URL you put into its search box.
For example, if you were to put in http://www.theonion.com, it would take you to the popular comedy news site. However, the entire page would have little colored boxes over every link to every story. These boxes display the number of times each link has been tweeted, i.e., where an outgoing link was established. Three different colors allow you to quickly identify a link’s ranking in popularity. Green represents a small number of links, orange signifies a large number and bright red indicates hot topics that receive more than 500 twitters.
The only problem with this site is that it can easily exceed the Topsy API allotment, which means it might not always work (the Topsy API has a limit of 10,000 URL lookups in an hour). You’ll know it’s past the search availability if you are transferred to the page but there are no boxes showing the amount of links.
A few things to note:
- By default, the tool only looks up URLs that have a date or numeric ID in them.
- It rewrites the URLs to point to their page on Topsy, so clicking on a link will take you to the Topsy page that shows all the tweets about that URL.
- Topsy also doesn’t deal well with URLs that have the id of the story or post in the querystring. That’s because it ignores everything after the querystring when searching. So your mileage may vary on sites with urls like post.php?id=12345.
Do you have any other sites that work as well? Let us know!