News & Politics

Top 50 Conservative Websites for 2018

The media has been in a near constant state of flux over the last decade and 2018 was no exception. The decline of print media along with constant changes in algorithms at Facebook, Google, and other platforms means that the playing field is constantly shifting and changing as publications and websites seek to reach the largest possible audience while eking out enough revenue to stay afloat. Some fared well in 2018’s volatile media market while others, like The Weekly Standard and the Independent Journal Review (IJR), struggled to survive.

For the second year in a row, The Drudge Report topped PJM’s list of the top 50 conservative websites, followed by Breitbart News, The Daily Caller, and ZeroHedge. While there was no change in the top four, there were some sites that moved up significantly in the rankings while others fell precipitously. (Scroll down to skip the analysis and go straight to the list.)

But before we get to that, an explanation of how these rankings were compiled is in order. In last year’s list of the top conservative sites, we calculated the average of rankings from Quantcast, SimliarWeb, and Alexa. This year, we decided not to use Quantcast because a significant number of websites in our category are not quantified there.

Alexa’s rankings are based on “a combined measure of Unique Visitors and Pageviews” over a three month period.

Not included in our rankings are TV/video networks (Fox News, CRTV, TheBlazeTV, etc.). We also excluded websites related to print newspapers (New York Post, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, etc.) because we wanted to focus solely on the new media landscape.

With any list that attempts to rank “conservative” entities or individuals, there is always significant debate about what it means to be conservative. This list, I expect, will be no exception. There are legitimate questions about whether a site like Infowars, known to traffic in conspiracy theories, ought to be included. Because the site has an influence on the conservative/right-leaning debate, we have decided to include them here along with other sites that made an impact in 2018. Some might also ask why satire site The Babylon Bee, a new entrant to the list this year, was included. The site has become an influential part of the national political dialogue — not to mention the religious landscape — so it made the list. Other sites, like Ace of Spades HQ, were not included because they are not ranked at SimilarWeb and Alexa.

The Drudge Report, for the second year in a row, ran away with the competition, claiming the top spot and trouncing all other right-leaning sites by a significant margin. In addition to the massive traffic the site garners in its own right, Drudge has an outsized influence as a top referral source, with some sites on our list getting 10 to 20 percent of their traffic from Drudge. In fact, for many of the sites on our list, Drudge drives more traffic than Google and Facebook — in some cases driving more than Google and Facebook combined.

The Western Journal was a stand-out, moving up 18 places over last year’s list, possibly due to the fact that it seems to have merged with Conservative Tribune. The Heritage Foundation moved up an impressive 21 places this year, while The Federalist Papers and IJR were down 13 and 11 points respectively, likely due to the sites’ heavy reliance on Facebook, which announced early last year that it would begin deprioritizing news publishers on its platform. The College Fix also dropped 11 points in the rankings.

Honorable mentions go to Ace of Spades HQ, Conservative Review, American Enterprise Institute, The College Fix, Commentary, Citizen Free Press, Cato Institute, and The Resurgent (which is between domains right now), all of which had a significant impact on the conservative scene in 2018.

Now on to the rankings:

  1. Drudge Report
  2. Breitbart News
  3. The Daily Caller
  4. ZeroHedge
  5. The Western Journal
  6. The Daily Wire
  7. The Gateway Pundit
  8. Infowars
  9. Washington Examiner
  10. The Blaze
  11. Townhall
  12. WND
  13. National Review
  14. Newsmax
  15. PJ Media/Instapundit
  16. Twitchy
  17. American Thinker
  18. Hot Air
  19. Free Republic
  20. The Federalist
  21. Reason
  22. The Conservative Tree House
  23. BizPac Review
  24. Rush Limbaugh
  25. RedState
  26. Judicial Watch
  27. The Babylon Bee
  28. NewsBusters
  29. Power Line
  30. The Washington Free Beacon
  31. The Heritage Foundation
  32. Lucianne
  33. The Daily Signal
  34. The Weekly Standard
  37. Weasel Zippers
  38. The American Conservative
  39. Louder with Crowder
  40. The Right Scoop
  41. The Federalist Papers
  42. Independent Journal Review (IJR)
  43. LifeZette
  44. FrontPage Mag
  45. Legal Insurrection
  46. American Greatness
  47. Spectator (USA)
  48. The Liberty Daily
  49. Campus Reform
  50. Bearing Arms

Follow me on Twitter @pbolyard

An earlier version of this list inadvertently left off The American Conservative and Infowars. As a result, Citizen Free Press and Cato dropped off the list but were added to the Honorable Mention category.