Blog Tips Newsletter by Yaro Starak

This is a story from the very early days of my blog, when I joined a “blog network”.

I think you will find this relevant if your blog is new…

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Let’s get a definition out of the way before I go on to discuss the traffic virtues of being a member of a blog network.

For me, and for the purposes of this article, I’m going to define a blog network as any group of blogs that share links under the banner of a “network”.

The blogs in the network may overtly link to other blogs, for example writing a post directly discussing a post made at another blog in the network, or more covertly by including links in a blogroll, footer or header area.

The idea is that blogs in the network trade links with other blogs specifically because of their affiliation. There may be a central blog network homepage that links all the blogs together or a banner or icon that signifies the link.

It doesn’t matter the form, it’s the function (the purpose) – to get traffic moving between blogs and improve search engine rankings because of increased backlinks – that matters.

All Blog Networks Are Not The Same

Across the web you will find all kinds of different blog network formats. Some will be loose affiliations under a banner or title. Others have revenue sharing arrangements where the blogger splits advertising profits with the blog network owners, or where the blogger doesn’t own his or her blog and is considered an employee who is paid a regular salary in return for blogging.

If you are looking for examples of blog networks there are three major players you may be aware of that demonstrate the three different formats I just mentioned.

  1. 9rules.com – no profit sharing and a loose affiliation under a banner and a “network ethos” that all member blogs must adhere to.
  2. B5media.com – A revenue sharing blog network.
  3. WeblogsInc.com – Bloggers are paid to write.

There are many more blog networks out there and if you can’t find one suitable for you then starting your own network is a possibility as well.

The main idea is to increase you exposure, expand your audience and help your blog(s) improve search engine rankings. It’s a good idea to contribute something valuable to the “community” within the blog network so you are giving something back and not just leeching traffic.

I’m not going to recommend a specific network to you because which you join, if any, depends entirely on why you blog. What I can share with you is how joining a blog networked impacted my blog.

A Traffic Explosion

In mid 2005, after I had been blogging solidly for a few months, writing quite a few pillar articles and starting to earn some exposure for my blog I was emailed by Paul Scriven (aka scrivs, the owner of 9rules) and asked whether I wanted to join 9rules.com.

I had heard of 9rules before, but only briefly looked at the site. I confirmed with Paul that by joining 9rules I didn’t lose any control over my content or my revenues and agreed to join. I got access to the member forums, looked around, introduced myself, stuck the 9rules banner and link on my blog, made an announcement about my membership to my readers and then went back to blogging.

A week or so later my “new member” announcement went live on the 9rules blog and my traffic doubled overnight.

I thought it was a traffic spike. I was wrong.

A few weeks later, although my traffic had dropped somewhat I had effectively gained a permanent increase in my blog readership, including my RSS subscribers, of about 25%. I could only attribute it to joining 9rules.

And that was only the start…

It’s All About The Network Effects

Months later I wrote a pillar article on my blog introducing the concept of Google’s PageRank and explaining how much attention we, as website owners, should pay to it. (You can read it here – http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/280/pagerank-explained/)

This one article did more to bring in traffic to my blog than any article I had written previously. It wasn’t any better than my previous articles. It wasn’t necessarily covering a “hotter” topic. There was one reason why it did so well –

One very prominent design blog linked to it.

The owner of this blog just happened to be a 9rules member. His blog was very popular and had a significant audience. When he linked to my article it caused a viral effect, with many other smaller blogs linking to my article and so on and so on. That one article brought in nearly 100 backlinks and tons of new traffic to my blog. The only reason I received the attention was because I joined a blog network exposing my blog to all the other bloggers in the network.

Blog Awareness

The power of a blog network is not just the direct traffic you get when you first become a member. It’s also about the awareness you create in the blogosphere.

Other blogs are one of the most effective traffic building resources available to you and by joining a blog network you suddenly become a member of special bloggers club that share a passion and are eager to help each other grow their blogs.

Blog traffic building is about creating communication channels. Directly you control your own blog and your voice. You then want your voice – your words – to be heard (and listened to) in as many places as possible.

A blog network opens up hundreds of new communication channels for your blogging voice to travel on. You can’t control these channels because they are the voices of all the other bloggers in the network. But hopefully every now and then you will say something interesting enough that other bloggers will pass it on. This can only happen when someone is listening to you in the first place.

Here’s to your blogging success,

Yaro Starak
Entrepreneurs-Journey.com

P.S. The great thing about any kind of network is through participation you create awareness of what you are about and also of course, increase exposure of your blog too.

Blog Mastermind has a built in networking function because all students become instant members of the private community forums, full of like minded bloggers all working towards the same goal.

If you want to be part of my network, please consider taking my course -

http://www.blogmastermind.com/coaching/

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