The leading conservative personalities in the United States have been creating mini-publishing empires over the past several years, leaving their Democratic opponents in the digital dust.\u00a0 Whether you lean politically conservative or liberal, there\u2019s no denying that these are great ways for politicians, political pundits, and right-wing big shots to get their messages sent directly to the audiences on the right.\u00a0 It also allows them to build their own media brands with millions of visits a month.\r\n\r\nI know this because I spend the first hour of every morning studying right-wing media for my website TheRighting, where I curate about a dozen colorful headlines of the day which express the passions and concerns of conservatives.\u00a0 Then I aggregate them in the daily free newsletter so that mainstream and liberal audiences are informed about the journalism on the right. (Or \u2013 in some cases \u2013 what passes for journalism.)\r\n\r\nThe websites I\u2019m surveying fall into three categories which I\u2019ve defined here:\r\nThe micro-publishers\r\nAlmost a dozen conservative personalities have launched websites with their names actually embedded into the URLs.\u00a0 They\u2019re probably not getting rich with their efforts but these conservative leaders are promoting their thought-leadership, honing their messages, and taking control of their digital destinies.\u00a0 For instance, why worry where or when a publisher may post your op-ed when you can call the shots on your own website?\u00a0 It\u2019s also a way to sell books, tout upcoming appearances, and upsell visitors to premium services.\r\n\r\nIn this category, talk-radio right-wing superstar Rush Limbaugh stands out for attracting the most monthly audience visits to his site. In June, www.rushlimbaugh.com generated 4.62 million audience visits (all numbers in this story come from SimilarWeb).\u00a0 He\u2019s a radio-broadcasting celebrity whose fame and brand value accrued from decades of riffing from the radio airwaves. That has brought in the traffic.\u00a0 But he\u2019s also a savvy publisher.\r\n\r\nHis site features transcripts of the previous day\u2019s radio program. It\u2019s organized in an easy-to-use format broken down by subjects and topics. Even if you\u2019re not a fan of his hard-hitting, thumb-in-the-eye political opinions, his verbal dexterity and cleverness come through loud and clear.\u00a0 His popularity is no accident.\r\n\r\nOn the other end of the spectrum, Sarah Palin\u2019s website \u2013 www.sarahpalin.com \u2013 gets so few audience visits that it hasn\u2019t even registered with SimilarWeb.\u00a0 It\u2019s something of a surprise since she\u2019s still something of a rock star of the right.\u00a0 However, her site isn\u2019t updated regularly (I\u2019m looking at it on July 30, 2018, and the last update was from July 10) and that\u2019s a surefire way to lose audience and relevance.\r\n\r\nOther big-name right-wing pundits burning their names into their URLs include Fox News prime time anchors Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, former Fox News prime time anchor Bill O\u2019Reilly, Fox News radio host Todd Starnes, former President Nixon\u2019s speechwriter Pat Buchanan, and conservative author\/blogger Michelle Malkin.\r\nThe moguls \r\nRight-wing personalities in this category oversee teams of reporters and editors who run full-fledged news operations. Right-leaning Fox News anchor and pundit Tucker Carlson (with Neil Patel, former policy advisor to Dick Cheney) launched The Daily Caller in 2010.\u00a0 Since then, it has mushroomed into an impressive 24\/7 news operation with roughly three dozen employees and distribution deals with Yahoo and MSN.\u00a0 In June, The Daily Caller drew more than 35 million audience visits making it the third largest conservative website.\r\n\r\nConservative commentator and entrepreneur Glenn Beck launched TheBlaze as a right-wing cable and digital media company in 2011, the same year he left his highly visible position as a Fox News anchor. It drew eyeballs \u2013 and controversy.\u00a0 The free site, which has plenty of stories every day and commentary by Beck, has premium sections as well for the content of more substance. It also gets plenty of traffic: more than 13 million audience visits in June, making it a top 10 right-wing media website.\u00a0 However, a July 2018 article in The Daily Beast claimed that TheBlaze, at its peak, took in $90 million annually. Those days may be in its rear-view mirror.\u00a0 The same article said that some staffers have been laid off and there was a failed bid to sell the media property to Ben Shapiro\u2019s Daily Wire.\r\n\r\nShapiro is a fast-rising force in right-wing media circles. He\u2019s a former editor for Breitbart, author of several books, podcaster, journalist, and prolific columnist. But the Daily Wire is the thirtysomething\u2019s most ambitious effort to date. Since its inception three short years ago, it has become a top five conservative media website (see June rankings here). Its audience visits even top well-known conservative news operations like The National Review, The Weekly Standard, and The Washington Times.\u00a0 Shapiro\u2019s far-sighted skill in mastering the nuances of digital publishing platforms have only amplified his far-reaching influence.\r\nThe free agents\r\nNot all well-known conservative writers and pundits take the plunge to become publishers.\u00a0 Many seem content to enjoy the legacy model: write the occasional op-ed or think piece, get paid an honorarium, churn out a book every three years, and enjoy the Georgetown cocktail circuit. But there are a tiny handful of conservative pundits who could attract eyeballs and backing if they ever decide to start their own websites. Their strength comes from the instantaneous name recognition they have with consumers.\u00a0 Here are two: Former Republican Speaker of the House, professional talking head, and serial book author\u00a0 (at least two dozen) Newt Gingrich has not taken the digital publishing plunge yet.\u00a0 He writes for a number of right-wing outlets including Fox News and Spero News.\u00a0 But www.newt.com never happened. And former ABC News correspondent John Stossel \u2013 a journalist who\u2019d get recognized walking into a Burger King in Cleveland, Ohio \u2013 writes occasional op-ed pieces for right-wing outlets like Fox News and Townhall.\u00a0 But as far as his own branded website or media venture pushing his libertarian and contrarian views is considered\u2013 nothing doing.\u00a0 The closest he\u2019s come is his own YouTube channel called Stossel TV which has more than 72,000 subscribers.\r\n\r\nFrom studying the content and traffic of these sites, I have two conclusions.\u00a0 First, even though audiences supposedly suffered from news fatigue from the constant flow of dramatic Trump-related news, the vast majority of right-wing websites in the first half of 2018 continued to draw millions of audience visits. The overall health of the sector looks healthy. And for the news consumers looking for opinions and insights from the right, there was no shortage of options from digitally savvy conservative pundits.\u00a0 The conservative voices on the right will continue to roar and there is a large audience that is listening.