Note: Double post today! Read my Shopping post below!
I’ve been seeing an increase in blogs on hiatus, and as a result, a decrease in the amount of quality visitors lately. In an effort to expand my blog circle, I gave blog networking a try. So, I thought I’d write a review for a few of the blogging networks I belong to, as well as some important tips to ensure blog networking success.
Entrecard vs. MyBlogLog vs. Blog Catalog
Entrecard is great for increasing hits, but not so great for increasing comments and blog buddies because of its inherent design. Entrecard users are supposed to ‘drop’ their card (their blog’s ad) on another Entrecard user’s blog. After it’s dropped, the owner of the blog will view card on their dashboard, and reciprocate, if they are interested. Dropping cards, among various other ways, will allow the user to gain Entrecard credits, to be used as currency to buy ads on other blogs. The more the user actively participates in Entrecard, the more expensive the ad space on his blog is, the more he will gain from ads. As such, not many will bother to comment. This also means that there are many low-quality blogs, who are out there just to generate hits for the sake of PayPerPost and other paid blogging programs. The search for high-quality blogs is a very arduous process. But if all you want is to increase hits, this may be one of the most efficient networks out there.
Honestly, I haven’t spent much time on MyBlogLog, mainly because I’m not a fan of its interface. However, I found it very useful for tracking visitors. I’ve been able to put names and faces on who visits my blog without looking through IP addresses on my hit counters. I’ve also been able to do the same to MyBlogLog friends, and have been able to find some real offline friends and their blogs in the process. I feel like a CIA agent when I’m on MyBlogLog. LOL! But then again, of course, the reverse also holds true. That means others are able to track my web surfing habits if they look around MyBlogLog.
Of all three, BlogCatalog is the best at doing what it’s supposed to i.e. network bloggers. I have met many of my subscribers and blog buddies from Blog Catalog. And I can vouch for the number of great blogs on the network. It’s one of the best places to check out blogs from every niche and meet people from every creed. And it is all thanks to the infrastructure of the network. On BlogCatalog, each blog page has a rating, a rank, a review section and a ‘Similar Blogs’ section. The owners’ page allows for a short biography, a ‘Shout’ section meant to be something like a Facebook Wall, amongst other network-friendly sections. There is also a discussion board and a groups section for users to hang out and mutually profit from. There’s no point system or crappy interface to misguide you. So, people who sincerely and actively participate earn their share of blog buddies and subscribers. The more you participate, the more often you blog, the higher-quality your blog is, the more your blog rank increases. Blog rank starts with 0 (worst) to 100 (best). FYI, Nanyate?! ranks a whopping 75.7! So, low-quality and spammers get weeded out in the process, and have their blogs stuffed right to the back of the directory.
The Key to Blog Networking Success
Whether you’d like to increase visits, comments or blog buddies, there is a recipe for being successful – and a very simple one at that. All you need is active participation. Search the directory. Seek out new blogs that you are genuinely interested in. Comment on them. Leave a shout. Add them as a friend. Subscribe to their entries. And I will guarantee an increase in your comments, visitors, rank and blog buddies. By becoming a member and simply listing your site, you gain absolutely nothing. Okay, maybe just a few visits.
The amount of effort you put in is directly proportional to your returns. Case in point: of all three networks, I spend the most time at BlogCatalog. That resulted in around 10 blog buddies, a handful subscribers and many links exchanged. I’ve also managed to expand my readership far beyond personal bloggers. MyBlogLog is where I spend the least amount of time at, I’ve only managed to find one long lost friend. As for Entrecard, I’m still quite new at it. So, there aren’t any notable returns as of yet.