I know that it’s Halloween, so I’m glad to see your ghoulish faces today!
Holy cow, I can’t believe how much has changed since I originally wrote this post over a year ago.
Today we’re going to discuss two areas of blog promotion…Sites where you list your blog and social networking sites. I’m looking at these two areas differently, as I’m going to call those places where you go and sign up your blog, and basically your blog is added to a list, Blog Promotion Sites. Those sites where you can interact with others and add contacts, I’ll refer to as Social Networking Sites.
I’ll begin with Blog Promotion Sites.
When I first began blogging, I signed up with every blog promotion site I could find, HUNDREDS of them. It took me hours to find the sites, add my name, confirm my request…and most of that work was for NOTHING. With a few exceptions, I never saw any traffic generated from the majority of those sites. Also, some of the sites claimed to be very exclusive and rejected my blog for various reasons including “lack of quality content.” What. Ever.
When I wrote this last year, I listed a few sites that I felt like were worth the time and effort it takes to sign up. Now? I don’t believe that any of them are worth your time. Don’t bother. A few examples include TopBlogArea, BlogTopSites, Alltop (I’m sorry Guy Kawasaki! I think you’re fab, but I just don’t see traffic from Alltop!), The Good Blogs, and Blog Flux.
The bottom line: Sites where you simply list your blog don’t actually generate traffic or relevant/quality followers. Seriously. Don’t waste your time.
Sheesh, to think of all those sites I signed up for and so few were even worth the effort! I could’ve written a novel or painted the Sistine Chapel in the time I spent signing my blog up on those sites. I am curious, though, if anyone has had luck with any blog promotion sites? Please share with us those sites that you feel have helped your blog.
Moving right along to social networking sites…
With any social networking site, I think that you get out of it what you put into it. There are only so many hours in a day, so I recommend choosing just a few to devote your time.
I mean, duh, right? There are SO many things I enjoy about Twitter, like the ability to talk about myself in 140 characters or less! (Self-absorbed much?) Also, I enjoy reading others’ SUPER hilarious tweets. It’s fun to be a part of many different conversations, sort of like being able to flit from person to person at an uber cool party!
Twitter alone can be very overwhelming. I recommend using some sort of application to manage all of those you follow. There are so many. TweetDeck, HootSuite, Seesmic, Twhirl…. It makes following conversations INFINITELY easier than hitting refresh over and over. I don’t know about every Twitter application, but I know that with TweetDeck, you can set up groups, making it far easier to follow the people you have a connection with. Also, I know that some applications not only work with Twitter, but with Facebook (etc.) as well. Please feel free to share your favorites with the class in the comments section.
So how does can Twitter help promote your blog, you ask? Well for one, you can promote your new posts via Twitter. For example, you can say something like, “Blog tip sharing post at my place! You bring the beer! http://playgroupsarenoplaceforchildren.com…” Also, if you’re a WordPress user, you can install a plugin that does this for you. I know that I use Twitter more than my Google Reader these days to read new blog posts.
Also, Twitter is a great way to become friends and communicate with lots of other bloggers. Being a part of the blogging community is, I think, VITAL to blog promotion. Twitter is one way to get yourself out there. With that said, Twitter IS NOT the place to solely promote yourself. Only tweeting your own blog posts is, well, annoying and sort of asshatty. For a complete list of Twitter Don’ts, check out Scary Mommy’s Twitter Etiquette post. (Please note that I do think that people have every right to use Twitter in any way they want to, but am sending you to the Twitter Etiquette post to highlight some things that do annoy lots of users and can inhibit the effective use of Twitter.)
With the prevalence of Twitter, I really feel like I’m basically preaching to the choir. For those of you who want to know more about interacting on Twitter, check out The Smart Girl’s Guide to Twitter. Everything you could ever want to know about Twitter is in there.
This one is sort of tricky. First of all, you may use Facebook for your non-blogging identity and want it completely separated from your blog persona. Or maybe you’re like me and have both blogging and non-blogging Facebook friends and don’t want to overdo it on Facebook with the constant “LOOK AT MY BLOG!!” chatter.
Facebook does allow you to place filters on certain groups of friends that you don’t want nosing around your blog. That way you are able to have your feed sent to Facebook without worrying. (Though I did have an entire filter completely disappear the other day, so…you still have to be very cautious if your blog is mainly a rant about your four-times married sister-in-law with seven kids and a Marlboro habit.)
All of my blog posts can be read via Facebook, I also have my blog listed with Networked Blogs. I use the Selective Twitter application so that when I want something I’ve said on Twitter to also post on Facebook, I can add #fb to the end of a tweet and it will post both places. I occasionally will promote specific blog posts via both Twitter and Facebook, but I try not to be annoying to long lost elementary school acquaintances. I’ve considered completely removing my blog from Facebook, but I do see fairly significant traffic and I don’t think I can separate my blogging and non-blogging life.
Again, I feel like I’m saying things you already know. If you have any other Facebook questions or thoughts, please discuss in the comments section.
3. NING groups and Blogger Communities
I feel very unqualified to speak about most of these groups. I very rarely participate in these groups, though I have a suspicion that those who are actively involved have found a place they enjoy hanging out that also brings in quality and returning traffic to their websites.
NING groups are forums devoted to a certain topic or area of interest. A few examples include, Mom Bloggers Club, Thirty-Something Bloggers, I Heart Faces, and many others. I’m certain that if you were interested in finding a group of people with your similar interest in collecting pink flamingos or circus clowns, you could find a NING group for you.
Forums and message boards in general can be HUGE traffic generators. My problem with forums and message boards is that I don’t have time to devote to really being a part of the community. (I devote most of my time to my own blog, Twitter, and reading other’s blogs.) I think it’s pretty uncool to join a forum or message board and start a topic of discussion with the sole intent of simply promoting yourself, without actually participating in any other discussions.
There are many blogger communities that I hear a lot about. I often hear about Momdot and the Momdot forums, the SITS girls, or The Secret is in the Sauce, and Twittermoms. Of course there is BlogHer, which has lots of great content. (But, shhh? Don’t tell, BlogHer’s site completely confuses me.)
I’d love it if those of you who are active with any of these groups could please talk about your experiences in the comments section! Please share with the class!
Technically, StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking tool, not a social networking site. However, I’m putting it in this category because it’s a place to interact with others and add contacts.
There is SO MUCH I have to say about StumbleUpon, that it’s going to have to be a post unto itself…next week. Here’s a little teaser, though. As a result of some of my posts being stumbled, I’ve received as many as 25,000 views of one post. 25,000 views. On one post. Now I realize some of you reading are yawning and thinking, “25,000 views? So what? I get that many in an hour.” Others of you are messing yourselves from the excitement of the possibility of 25,000 views of a single post.
I’ll talk about this next week, but if you are new to my Blog Tips series, I recommend that you download StumbleUpon’s toolbar. It will make what I’m going to talk about next week easier to understand.
Have I missed anything, you guys? Please feel free to ask questions or correct me or add to the discussion.
(Previously in this series…Writing Tips)