Reevaluate Your Online Relationships
It’s times like this when I’ve been away sick that I can do my most productive thinking about blogging.
Why do I blog? What can I do to improve myself as a blogger and my blogging experience? These are just some of the questions that I’ve been mulling over recently.
If there’s one thing that I’ve come to realize over the years it’s that online relationships are not unlike the real world. Relationships come and they go. People drop into our lives and then they vanish into the ethosphere never to be heard of again.
By their very nature blogging relationships are symbiotic. Readers can be a fickle lot and they need to get something in return for clicking on your link or they will look elsewhere. It’s that simple.
I’ve also learned that not all online relationships are mutually beneficial and need to be constantly reevaluated. For example…
Social Networks = 0 Pagerank:
If you read the Bloke regularly you will know that I can be a little jaded when it comes to social network sites. But rather than repeat myself you can read all about it here.
Today I was thinking about SNs again and it reminded of something that I thought I would share with you.
Now don’t get me wrong, because the Bloke really appreciates getting all those nice emails telling me that another blogger has recently joined my BlogCatalog, MyBlogLog or my Twitter communities. That is really terrific, BUT unfortunately it isn’t doing my blog pagerank any good either.
You see, when it comes to social networks the only sites that are getting the Google juice are them - not us.
So joining my community is really great (as well as appreciated) because it’s like getting a vote of confidence from my peers. BUT please don’t forget to link directly to my blog (from your blog) because that is where all the action is. It should be your priority as well.
Guest Writing = Little or No Traffic:
Which reminds me of another matter. I’m seeing more and more bloggers contributing as guest writers to other blogs and networks. Again, it depends on your circumstance but just make sure that you are not being used.
For example… a long time ago I once contributed my work to Blogcritics.org (that must be where I got my snark from :). Well, the long and short of it is I stopped writing for them because it wasn’t bringing any traffic to my blog.
You see, the only one who was really benefiting from the relationship was Blogcritics (and they didn’t share the revenue either).
Sure, it gave me some exposure but over the long term I wasn’t the beneficiary of more traffic coming to my blog. They were going to Blogcritics to read me.
As with any relationship it has to go both ways. So don’t forget, the next time you are thinking about joining a network or submitting your work to another site — ask yourself who is really benefiting because that should be the bottom line in any relationship.
If the answer to that question is not you, then it’s time to reassess that relationship and consider moving on.
Reciprocal Linking: Keeping them Honest
If you blogroll and have a reciprocal linking arrangement with other blogs then it’s a good idea to regularly check them and make sure they are still linking back at ya.
To give you an example… way back in the horse and buggy days I created a free ebook showing bloggers how to code their own XML newsfeeds. Yes, believe it or not there was a time when blogs didn’t have RSS feeds and we had to do it the hard way.
Well, the deal was if you wanted my ebook you had to agree to a reciprocal linking arrangement. The only blogger that I am aware of who is still honoring our arrangement is Andy Wibbels. (Thanks Andy).
So check them out every once in awhile and keep them honest. Link long and prosper. ‘V’
Your Competitor/Colleague’s Shenanigans:
While not all relationships are mutually beneficial, some can even be downright destructive. Then there are those mischievous ones who have nothing better to do than to stir up the pot. I’m talking of course about my recent skirmish over at the House of Rowse et al, but instead of repeating myself I will let Craig say it for me:
“Link love is not about playing favorites but rather about giving due credit”.
That just about says it all don’t you think? (Well, almost
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