A little while ago, I ran into this blog about the 5 stages of a blogger's life. I must admit, at the time, I wondered if I'd ever make it out of level 1, in fact, I'm still wondering about that, Shortly afterwards, a follow-up post appeared with a theory about why people stop blogging. To put it simply, it becomes necessary to become a part of a community, to flourish, to realize that the words are not simply being sounded out in an echo chamber. There's plenty of services out there that are chasing you down, offering to help publicize, to link you, to connect you with the rest of the blogging world; however, it might be worth pausing there for a moment. Recently I have tried a couple of services whose initial impressions on me were not good; these are quite well-known services, and among those that spring immediately to mind when you consider blog promotion. Perhaps it was only to be expected that my experience would be unsatisfactory. It occurred to me that the problem with these services was that they were gaining more from me being a member than I was from them; they were getting advertising views for teeth whitening and online gambling venues, while I was getting little or nothing in return except for a great deal of frustration.
- I first heard about Blogger Talk when Rose DesRochers tweeted a link to an article I had written for syndication, reposted on the Blogger Talk site. This was my first experience with article republishing and introduced me to what I discovered was a very strong and healthy blogger community of discussion forums, support, downloads and assistance. The atmosphere is close and friendly; I'll always have Rose to thank for a boost in getting targeted readers to that article and shown me what a difference exposure to the right audience can make.
- Expose Your Blog is in fact a service I discovered while on Blogger Talk. Don Bell was introducing himself in the forums, and Don impressed me immediately with his combination of sincerity and general goodwill to the entire blogging community. Don's site came about after several former members of Blog Explosion were dissatisfied after that site apparently… erm… imploded. Expose Your Blog is reminiscent of the older traffic exchanges where sites are viewed in rotation in exchange for page views on your own site. I must admit I was somewhat dubious about the effectiveness of this, but I have found myself reading and commenting on several of the sites and having that favor likewise returned, so the concept definitely works. if that is not enough, EYB boasts a gorgeous forum and, believe it or not, an online radio station…
- Blogger Luv is a blogger community site in every sense of the word, offering friends and followers like the many social networking sites out there, all with a blogging angle. Bloggers are encouraged to share their sites and experiences from day one, the atmosphere is friendly and good-naturedly competitive, mainly because of the infectious enthusiasm of John Sullivan. If John doesn't poke you in the ribs within the first day of your membership, I'd be surprised. The site's own blog offers interesting stories and articles, but the most fascinating area for me has been the community pages, where links can be offered and voted up much in the way of StumbleUpon or Reddit. This way the community decides for themselves which articles are worthy of sharing, and the articles I have found there have been most useful.