Image by wwarby
Social networks take a lot of effort, they really do. In order to make them work for you, you really have to put a lot energy into maintaining your profile, adding friends, commenting, etc… but if you got into blogging because you like to– blog, social networks can be a love/hate relationship. You love them because they do help your blog, you hate them because they take so much work, as a blogger you're probably a member of several and can actually be quite tedious.
So how do you cope? One of the ways I cope is by choosing my networks. I will set up a profile on most networks, but then I decide whether to maintain it by the the rewards I get from it. Whether it be fun, easy to use, or the big reason traffic.
Here are the top 5 traffic yielding networks for my blog (aside from IFB) The Coveted. I was actually quite shocked by the results…as I get traffic from all kinds of random places, looking at the social networks that gave me the most back really helps in deciding where to put the most effort in promoting my blog.
I use StumbleUpon quite regularly, in fact I ‘stumble every post' I post, and have a StumbleUpon in my toolbar so I can stumble other sites. Granted, I should stumble more, but generally I have been only stumbling random sites. (note to change habit) in fact, when I Google something and it's a stumbled page, I tend to give it more credibility. In just about every type of search. I know, I know there is a debate on whether or not to stumble your own site and posts, but it's pretty much been consistently the number one traffic yielding site for well over a year.
The Pros… if you have ‘Stumble This' plug-in on your posts or FireFox toolbar, stumbling is super easy to do. It's also one of the few link networks that really do well with fashion/fashion and shopping/vintage etc. As opposed to Digg or Mixx which are actually hard to use in comparison to StumbleUpon.
The Cons… I still haven't figured that out yet. (UPDATE: I have heard that you're not supposed to stumble every post from your blog, or you risk getting shut down. It hasn't happened to me… yet, but I don't want it happening to you)
2. Blog Lovin'
I am shocked by BlogLovin‘… Just shocked. Just last month, I noted that I didn't feel ‘loved' on Blog Lovin' I only had about one TENTH of the subscribers on BlogLovin' than I did by Feedburner. Granted, BlogLovin' is prettier than Google Reader, and it gives you the feel of a website, and more so, when you are reading posts, it encourages more serendipity and exploring as you can see a blog's sidebars, and other linking options you just don't get in Google reader… you can also see YouTube videos, which for some reason has been getting bumpted off my reader lately, therefore missing a lot of your video blogs.
The Pros… Prettier than Google Reader, nice to use, yields more traffic, and low, low, low maintenance.
The Cons… if you subscribe to a lot of blogs (like I do) then it's going to be a real bitch to move them over to BlogLovin'.
Just a few weeks ago we talked about how Twitter was making it's way to the essential blogger toolbox. Heck, even the meteorologists on CNN have twitter accounts… it's huge, and it's getting bigger. Facebook is even copying Twitter. It's spooky, and kinda cool. As I've been away this past week, I know I've been posting, but feeling guilty for not ‘tweeting as much'. That's sad. But apparently Twitter has payed off, as it's one of the top traffic yielding networks, and growing since I started.
The Pros… It's fun, I like it because it's quick and easy, and kind of like taking a break at the water cooler.
The Cons… I don't know about you, but Twitter takes a lot of work to be successful. I can't just post links to my blogs and that's that, it needs more engagement than that.
Actually, I'm just as shocked that Facebook is #4 as BlogLovin' is #2. With all the talk about Facebook in the media, and all the stories that I hear about people spending all day on it (that's what I use Twitter for)… I don't think I'm really leveraging Facebook as much as I could. There is a lot of ways to promote your blog of Facebook, either from posting links on your profile, connecting Twitter and Facebook (I am a big proponent of that), setting up a Facebook Fan Page or Facebook Group. I know a lot of you promote posts on Facebook through the Facebook mail (though, I've become wary of joining groups for this reason…sorry, but it's true.. most of my Facebook mail is overwhelmingly group junk mail). Then there is the whole Facebook Ads, which I'm considering doing as they are relatively cheap.
The Pros…. Everyone and thier mother is on Facebook these days.
The Cons… It can take a lot of work, and perhaps a PhD in String Theory to figure out how to set up a Facebook Fan page. I had to actually Google it because there was no way to find out directly on the site. Also, the serendipity rate is much lower than it was on Myspace, as you can”t view someone's profile unless you are a friend. Making it difficult for research and marketing.
You either love it or hate it. I personally feel like I'm too old to be on there, as I'm literally old enough to be the mother of more than half of the kids on their (I'm not kidding… not even teenage mum either) and I've always been a big fan of Wardrobe Remix but lately, Lookbook.nu has been yielding more traffic through the ‘looks' and also from the forums of all places. I've heard from other bloggers that Lookbook.nu is great in returning traffic to your blog, so I continue to use it, even as an old hag.
The Pros… for a what are you wearing site, the user-interface is quite easy, posting a look only takes a few minutes, and ‘hyping' looks is super easy too. Everyone on there seems to be beautiful and full of inspiration. Which is handy when I'm in a rut.
The Cons… it's very ageist (I've decided to hide my age as a result of some comments I've gotten on Lookbook.nu), and while everyone is beautiful it can be at times very homogeneous, which means if you don't have a look that will go well with the culture there, it probably won't get much attention. Luckily, it's relatively predictable, so I only really post ‘looks' I think will do well there.
So those are the 5 networks for my blog, for each blog you'll find different networks that will work for you based on your particular niche. One of the networks that has historically worked for me but didn't make it in the top 5 is Flickr, which works well for those who take a lot of photos. But I quite liked this list because it hit a number of types of networks, link network, RSS reader/blog network, microblogging site, mainstream social media network, and a fashion social network.
So which sites do you use to market your blog? Does the amount of traffic you get from networks factor into how much you use them? What other factors come to play when deciding on whether or not you use them?