Sunday, November 30, 2008

Social Networks: A Partial Wrap Up for Bloggers

A common concern for all bloggers new and old is reaching a wider audience. They start with their family members and a few friends, and they write their feelings, thoughts, experiences etc, hoping to gain more subscribers in the wild wild web. Sooner or later, they direct their attention to the so-called social networks as getting traffic from search engines is difficult, at least initially. I will briefly touch upon my experiences with some of them and sincerely hope you will find this review useful.

Before we go on, however, I want you to ask yourself a simple question:

Do you enjoy using them?

Your answer to this is the KEY CONCEPT here. If you think a particular network will bring you readers just because you manage to throw in a post or two, or any number of them, you will soon discover you are wrong. The buzz word is, and has always been the user experience, and you are one of those users. If the network(s) of your choice helps you find interesting blogs, good articles and valuable resources, then it is the right network for you and your blog. Keeping that in mind, here is my incomplete list:


Del.icio.us

I rarely look at the front page of Del.icio.us as it is truly a social bookmarking site rather than a network. I search for a tag, and then a related tag, and another related one, and bingo! Swift and painless. You will not get too many visitors from it, but when you do, a good percentage of them will subscribe to your blog. Think for a minute or two before tagging your posts and choose the ones that are descriptive.

Digg

Spammed to death. I have truly no idea how a post makes it to their front page. If you are expecting some benefit from Digg, found a clan or join one, and waste half of your day by digging other clan members' articles so that they can digg yours. I log in, submit, and log off (once a week usually). First thing I will do when I have the time is removing the diggit button under the posts here.

Technorati

For historical reasons I keep it. Some say the Technorati rank/authority is important, so be it.

Entrecard

A good place to find blogs to your liking. An added advantage is you can advertise at the member sites with Entrecard currency. Some might argue there is little value in running ads this way but I disagree. Think long term. As the community collectively makes progress, so does the value of your ad.

Reddit

I like their front page policy which is a healthy mix of popular, recent and interesting articles. If you like to be informed of what is going on in blogosphere, it had better be Reddit.

Sphinn

Some will disagree to inclusion of Sphinn here as it is a niche network of Internet marketing and search engines, but those are the two topics about which every blogger has to have a passing knowledge at least. Never spammed and always on topic.


This concludes my partial wrap up but I would like to emphasize one more time: if you enjoy a social network as a user, it is the right network for your blog.

3 comments:

L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

Hey give some metrics. You should support your comments with scientific experiments!

Still a good list about the benefits of each network.

Archiver said...

Yes, I could have provided some stats but it would have had an adverse effect. My emphasis was and still is that each network will be beneficial to a particular subset of blogs and bloggers:

1- Some networks might have a more tech oriented user base and a technology blog can do very well there, whereas an art blog will have little impact.
2- Even with the correct network, you have to be a little bit active, i.e. to socialize to be successful. And that requires:
* you have to like that network, the people and their articles so that you can allocate some of your time.

One way to test network efficiency (that's how I did it) submitting one of your articles at the same time (more or less) and do nothing else. Then check your server logs. You will discover interesting results. On some, you will immediately see some visitors, commentators, etc, and on some, usually nothing. This or a similar experiment you can design, shows whether a particular network has potential readers or not very quickly. Choose one or preferably two of them (not more) and hang out there. See which one you like more and allocate more of your time to it. You will see positive results.

Intelligence said...

I've never tried Technorati, Reddit, or Spinn I'll have to look them up I honestly have no clue what they are used for.

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