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Why Should you Join a Blog Network?

After posting yesterday a basic Introduction to Blog networks I now want to turn my attention to some of the positives about joining a blog network as a blogger (the negatives will come in the next post in the series). Please note that I’m not writing about the benefits of starting or owning a blog network but looking at the positives of joining an existing one as a blogger. Of course the following factors will apply more to some networks than others (each network has it’s own configuration).

1. Relationships – today I did an informal survey of 10 bloggers from a number of blog networks (not just my own) on the topic of what they like like about being in their network and the most common response was that they enjoyed being a part of something larger than themselves and that it was the relationships both with network owners and managers as well as other bloggers that made the network experience most worthwhile. Many blog networks have some sort of internal communication systems (forums, wikis, email lists or even blogs, chat and VOIP sessions) – all of which can take blogging out of a space that can be a little lonely into one that is much more relational.

2. Traffic – when I started my first blog 3 years ago I did so as a complete newcomer to the blogosphere and had absolutely no connections to other bloggers or sources of traffic. The result was that finding a readership was a long slow process that took a year before I even had more than a few hundred readers a day (except for an occasional fluke day when I had links from bigger blogs). In contrast to this many new network blogs gather a readership much quicker. Of course this varies a lot from network to network (ie Gawker’s blogs can debut in their first day with tens of thousands of visitors where as smaller networks might start with hundreds of visitors). This traffic comes as a result of incoming links from announcement posts, just from the prestige of being in the network and from other blogs in the network. Many networks also have ways of cross promoting blogs via highlighting top posts of the week or clustering related blogs together into channels that cross link within posts.

3. Expertise – very few bloggers have all the skills needed to run a successful blog and networks can offer a large range of skills and expertise to help grow a blog. Most blog networks will handle all of the behind the scenes aspects of getting a blog up and running including design, SEO optimization, paying for and setting up URLs and hosting, finding advertisers, choosing a blog platform (and administering upgrades and plugins), optimizing ads, promotion etc. This leaves the blogger to simply write. Similarly when you’re in a network with many other bloggers and you come across a problem with your blog it’s amazing how quickly it can be solved either by those managing the network or others in it.

4. Administration – similarly to having a lot of the technical aspects of setting up and running a blog handled – a blog network often handles a lot of the administrative tasks associated with blogging such as the management of advertisers (it can get out of control when you have to collect income from numerous sources), book keeping and even (I’ve heard in one case) the moderation of comment spam.

5. Revenue – this is perhaps one of the more obvious reasons that some bloggers choose to join networks (although fewer than you’d think have it as a primary reason as I found today). As I’ll mention in the next post in this series a downside is that in most networks you split the revenue your blog owns with the network (there are many methods of determining this) but on the upside due to the increased traffic, SEO prominence and expertise that a network brings the overall earnings can end up being higher than if you blogged independently (a generalization but true in most cases).

6. SEO – one of the big upsides of being in most blog networks is that on the day your blog launches you are guaranteed to be linked to from each other blog in the network. Networks do this in their own individual ways but it usually happens in a sidebar or footer. The benefits of this are twofold – firstly there is an element of cross promotion going on and some traffic will follow the links but secondly (and mainly) the benefits are that being linked to by other blogs on other domains is one of the best ways to climb the rankings in search engines – which of course leads to traffic.

7. Prestige – of course this one will vary considerably from network to network but if you can get a gig writing for one of the top networks you could use if to your advantage in the building of your own profile.

8. Learning – another answer that I got in my questioning of bloggers today was that some of them said that they joined the network to learn how to blog on a more professional level so that they could use the skills they learnt in their own ventures. One of the best ways of learning is to watch someone else do something and then to imitate – being in a network can expose you to all kinds of learning opportunities.

Of course this post is only one side of the equation – joining a blog network is not for everyone and in the next post in the series I’ll tackle some of the reasons NOT to join a blog network. In the mean time – please feel free to add your reasons for joining a blog network in comments below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Jan says:

    Darren,

    It might be interesting to add another question: Why not start your own blog network?

    It is something I am working on myself right now and it is harder than expected, but it definitely learns you things quickly and the hard way.
    For me learning in practice and constant improvement is the best school…

    WebKaizen is a sweet approach… =)

  2. The best reason to join a blog network, I think, is the last point you make, Darren: to gain experience of the craft. Once you’ve mastered most of it, there’s an irresistible urge to escape the obligations of the network and strike out on your own. I know, I’ve been there. :-)

    Bloggers tend to be innovative, creative and pioneering sort of people. They like to create their own space. Ultimately, most will want to their own thing.

  3. Peter Davis says:

    So which are the best networks to join?

  4. Clark says:

    And how do you join them?

  5. Darren Rowse says:

    Peter – as someone who co-owns a networks I’m not going to answer that question as it’s one that I’ll be biased upon – I’m also not going to get into the business of commenting on the values of other’s networks. But if others want to share I’d be happy for them to do so here in comments.

    Clark – each network has their own ways. Some advertise for bloggers at different times and some of the smaller ones are open to being approached.

    If you find a network you want to join I’d suggest emailing them and asking.

  6. Duncan says:

    Jan
    because you’d have to be mader than me :-) Honestly, I tried this with Weblog Empire and as much is the blogs went well, the time required and the expertise needed was too much for me alone, it was one of the reasons I became involved with b5media. Having said this is probably doesn’t hurt to have a couple of blogs and branding them as a network, I think the branding aspect is something that can easily be done, it will just get to a point where you cant sustain the growth alone without help, so either you spend big to get the help or you join in with others.

    Peter, I’d naturally say b5media but shop around. You wont get into the big blognetworks but they do have positions advertised regularly. Smaller blog networks might be more your thing, there a lots of different models out there

  7. Devin Thorpe says:

    I waited for years to launch my blog until I found Know More Media and I’m glad that I did–for all the reasons you mention!

    Great post!

    ddt

  8. Syntagma Media (16 blogs and growing) occasionally takes on outside bloggers (we currently have two). But normally it’s by invitation only when we’re in expansion mode.

    Mind you, if someone with a traceable track record hits us with a whizz-bang idea, we’d certainly go for it. But it would have to be distinctive, high-end and on a mature (not adult) topic. We pay a high percentage of total revenue to our bloggers. The same applies to pre-existing blogs that merge with us.

  9. DavidM says:

    Whether it’s a good idea or not depends on what you are writing about, who you are writing for and what you want to achieve.

    Blog networks can deliver the benefits listed by Darren but not all of them for all bloggers.

    I think blog networks have an important role to play in bringing structure to the millions of blogs published, and as more people start reading blogs they will be less web-savvy and have less time to browse so will want these tools to guide them to the best content. The role of networks will grow, along with directories and blog communities.

    Running your own blog is time consuming, but running a network or blog community is another level and you have to have a real hook to get bloggers to join you.

  10. Hal Halladay says:

    Great topic and right on target Darren. We will look forward to the the flip side as well. Joining a network is not for everyone but as noted, there is a place for them.

  11. Peter Davis says:

    Puuuleeezzzeee Darren, that’s got to be a first, not wanting to say anything because your opinion might be biased? :p

  12. Bill says:

    How about the fact that it gives you a chance to make friends and learn?

    I had heard about blogging for a long time and wanted to get involved. Now that I am, I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.

    Sometimes I am so anxious to read what ‘friends’ have written and to see what they have to share.

    Meet people and learn.

  13. Darren Rowse says:

    Think you’re confusing me with someone else Peter :-)

  14. Good article. Well written I must admit, though only 2-3 points here are really valid and practical!

  15. Well, the HART-Empire Network (H.E.N.) is based on Darren’s #6 Rule above, for the most part, keeping in mind that I consider myself only a “network of blogs” instead of a “blog network”. All we’re looking for are bloggers who (1) want to be included and have the network code on their site in the sidebar and (2) also become a permanent ‘part-time co-contributor’ in my group blog (PetLvr.com) .. I need a break sometimes, and that’s my criteria.

    I don’t understand the ego behind having just a ‘logo’ in the footer or sidebar to acknowledge membership in any blog network. It is definately worthwile having all of the sites cross-linking and can bring in more traffic. Heck – some days instead of reading my Bloglines I just surf sidebar links.

    For myself, and another H.E.N. member .. we have a combined 35 sites now, of which 9 are joint partnerships. There is a benefit being able to discuss anything anytime (we use MSN messenger) and like Darren’s point #8 … a little competition and friendly watching over the other member’s sites really does help keep you focused for your own blog .. and I think, can increase your own quality when you all have the same common goals .. which for me, anyway, is to increase traffic. PS .. we’ve also been approached as a network for text advertising and some sites have accepted this … that wouldn’t have happened out as individual sites I think.

  16. Darren, your points are all accurate. One thing that you mentioned, but I think should be emphasized is that the Blog Network itself makes most, if not all, of the difference.

    I know you and your readers are familiar with Know More Media, which is where I write a business blog. One look at the pages there and you know instantly that you are dealing with a quality, professional organization. When you read the posts, they are funny, intelligent, and well-written.

    OK, end of commercial! Seriously, everyone has to start somewhere (and I do belong to other blog networks at which I write different topics), but if bloggers want to be taken seriously and treated like pros, they need to search out the best networks they can find. Those are easy to identify by the quality of the posts and the administrative support behind the network.

  17. Darren, I’ve posted comments at your blog before and I always enjoy reading your posts. I’m glad that you’re discussing the cons as well as the pros of participating in a blog network.

    The question is, “Should I join a blog network?” My answer is, in nearly all cases, it simply depends on what would work best for you and your readership (actual and potential). If the opportunities for growth outweigh the potential limitations or risks, I say go for it. Otherwise, you’re probably good to go on your own. Darren’s done a good job of outlining the various associated benefits and drawbacks for you.

    In my mind, the purpose of forming a blog network is to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts, and to make each part stronger for being a member of the community.

  18. MyName Now says:

    Prosto jjote… a ya testu fluder

  19. What are the major blog networks?

  20. christian says:

    huh? What website started first problogger.net or .com????

  21. Darren Rowse says:

    .com registered the domain first but put nothing on it until a year or two after .net

  22. samudra gupta says:

    darren, I wish to join. I am a writer. Well I like to think of myself as one. How do I post something on your blog?

  23. Britney says:

    I+have+been+looking+for+

  24. binoculars says:

    Great post Darren. Before this I misunderstood the term Blog Network. Last time I thought we create multiple blogs on the same niche and link with each other, this is called Blog Network. I guess, I was wrong. Man, there is so much for me to learn.

  25. bilmeceler says:

    Here members can share all of their talents including HTML tips, template ideas, graphics help, making money strategies and general writing strategies to use on your blog

  26. bilmeceler says:

    You can do the same sort of things with others posts – not just when you disagree with them, but to expand the topic out. […]

  27. Sergiu says:

    Stupid question, but how can I join one?

  28. Oyunlar1 says:

    f you ever wonder what a blog network is, Darren Rowse has a very nice introduction to blog network. He then followed up with reasons why you should join a blog network as well as why you should NOT join a blog network.

  29. muhabbet says:

    I know you and your readers are familiar with Know More Media, which is where I write a business blog. blogs are more useful thats why. i dunno why u ask.
    thanks.

  30. Why join a Blog Network?

    There’s a good post over at ProBlogger.Com on blog networks:

    Why Should you Join a Blog Network? …

  31. radyo says:

    thanks guys this s so perfect have a nice days

  32. general new says:

    I Thınk Such Knowledge see The Interest.. thanks.!

  33. Stupid question, but how can I join one? thnx

  34. hiii
    Great post Darren. Before this I misunderstood the term Blog Network. Last time I thought we create multiple blogs on the same niche and link with each other, this is called Blog Network. I guess, I was wrong. Man, there is so much for me to learn.

  35. Darren of Problogger.net wisdom writes about why you should join a blog network. Knowing why others would want to join a blog might give you more insight while recruiting bloggers.

  36. Great post Darren. Before this I misunderstood the term Blog Network.
    thats useful for us

  37. metropol says:

    Well I got one solution for you, system followers, increase the rate for internet access, for instance 10 bucks for an hou of iNet access, that way I can get anyting that I like…

  38. chat says:

    Great post Darren. Before this I misunderstood the term Blog Network. Last time I thought we create multiple blogs on the same niche and link with each other, this is called Blog Network. I guess, I was wrong. Man, there is so much for me to learn.
    thanks

  39. izle says:

    Stupid question, but how can I join one? thnx

  40. chat says:

    Great post Darren. Before this I misunderstood the term Blog Network

  41. Blog Network. Last time I thought we create multiple blogs on the same niche and link with each other, this is called Blog Network. I guess, I was wrong. Man, there is so much for me to learn.

  42. chat says:

    In designing the Know More Media network we have tried to provide opportunities for independent bloggers to have a unique domain name, a handful of unique design elements and unfettered voice and editorial control. On the other hand we believe in the v….

  43. Geoff R says:

    I disagree with some of your advantages here. I have run my blog for a year, and although it took some time, I have learned SEO and administration, and I actually take pride in running my own blog vs writing for a network-owned blog.

  44. uzamax says:

    Blog Network. Last time I thought we create multiple blogs on the same niche and link with each other, this is called Blog Network. I guess, I was wrong. Man, there is so much for me to learn.

  45. youtube says:

    That’s great! I’m looking forward to it.

  46. muhabbet says:

    i think also very great for joining into this like be an entertainment

  47. zoqaa says:

    How can find blog network to join?

  48. Dizi says:

    really interesting comments :)

  49. Kurye says:

    Kurye hizmeti the same niche and link with each other, this is called Blog Network. I guess, I was wrong. Man, there is so much for me to learn.

  50. Kurye says:

    thanks for your subject. it is very important for internet users.i will write your site .. please write

    me back. thank you

Trackbacks

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