How To Use MyBlogLog As A Branding Tool

Steven Bradley's vangogh avatar

A couple of days ago I asked if MyBlogLog was still relevant to the SEO community. The response to the question was pretty much as expected with people not really using MBL as much as they might have a few months ago. I still use the site and thought I’d explain why I still log and and out of MyBlogLog most days and how I see it as beneficial for my blog.

You can tell from the title of this post how I use MyBlogLog, but before getting to the how and why let me point you to David’s comment from my previous post.

I too have fallen away off the MyBlogLog bandwagon even though I was an advocate before. I have too many communities (no way to sort and group as far as I can tell). Also has gotten very spammy with people’s comments; come see my blog, yet the don’t even look at mine.

I agree completely with David’s assessment. There isn’t any good way to sort through your communities or the communities of others. The same can be said for your friends and the friends of others. The only way I can see to look through either is to display them all and check them out one by one. I also agree about the spammy comments. I don’t need to see people pushing their site at me without at least taking the time to visit here. It’s spam pure and simple.

In another comment from the previous post Kristine brought up the traffic MBL may send

As to whether or not it brings me traffic, that’s hard to say. I’d say it probably hasn’t done a whole lot, but I’m not really sure what would be better.

MyBlogLog doesn’t send a lot of traffic here either Kristine. Here are the numbers for the year.

MyBlogLog Traffic Stats

Assuming I haven’t forgotten the basic math I learned in elementary school that’s a 118 visits in almost 9 months or about 13 visits a month. Hardly worth writing about. Admittedly I’ve never promoted myself much through the MyBlogLog. I’ve seen others mention they receive a lot more traffic through MBL than I have and I suspect if I was so inclined I could increase the numbers above. I’ve never been all that inclined, though.

My guess is most people see MyBlogLog the same way David and Kristine do. MBL doesn’t really foster community and for me at least it’s not driving meaningful traffic.

Branding Your Blog With A Cookie

There is one way I think MyBlogLog provides benefit. It can be used as an aid to branding your blog. There are two main components of branding.

  1. The associations people make with your name
  2. The reach of those associations

MyBlog Log isn’t going to help much with the former, but it’s easy enough to use to help with the latter. Every day before my usual travels through the blogosphere I log in to MBL and back out. I log in to get the cookie from the site that tracks my travels. I log in only because I delete the cookie later in the day when I no longer feel like being tracked and need to grab it anew.

While I’m there I do look at who visited recently and check the stats quick, but the main reason for logging in is to get a cookie. All told the time spent is less than a minute and I could reduce that time to nothing, by holding on to the cookie at the end of the day.

You still see a large number of blogs using the recent visitors widget. Not as many as you saw six months ago, but the widget is still commonly present. I think about half the blogs I visit daily are using it. As long as you visit a blog with the MBL cookie your avatar will appear in the widget. Every time it does is another opportunity for someone to notice you.

I don’t know how you would track your avatar recognition, but I can tell you I notice them. When I see the same avatar a few times I get curious and while I won’t often click back to MyBlogLog the avatar does make an impression. I’ve noticed that same avatar in forum posts and in the bio on blog posts. I do end up paying more attention to the forum and blog posts once the avatar has made an impression on me. There are even a few blogs calling me a subscriber that first came to my attention through a MyBlogLog avatar. I suspect there are others with the same experience.

Some blogs will also display your avatar next to your comment should you leave one on a post. It’s another way to connect the avatar to your thoughts and to you.

As a blogger I tend to notice the avatars of the people visiting here. When MyBlogLog had more buzz a few months ago Michael Jensen of Solo SEO created The Missing MyBlogLog Tools to get more out of the site. Periodically I use the Show All Visitors tool to see who’s visited my blog recently.

Not everyone who visits your blog regularly will comment. Being able to see who’s visiting through the avatars can give you some added information about your readers. I do pay attention to who visits and have been thinking of some way to thank those people to let them know I appreciate the time they spend here. Without MyBlogLog I would have no way of knowing some of the people who are visiting.

Besides regular readers you can use the recent visitor widget to see if someone visits when you link to them. Most bloggers will usually follow a link back to your site, but the avatar helps show who does and even how quickly. If part of the reason you linked to someone was to try to get their attention here’s one more way you can measure your success.

Many of us know each other only through our avatars. How many people do you come into contact each day that you’ve never met in person? When you think of them what image comes to mind? Is it their avatar? MyBlogLog gives you a chance to get that avatar in front of more people. And when you consider the minimal amount of effort you have to spend to make that happen it makes sense to me to log into MyBlogLog regularly.

Suggestions For Improving MyBlogLog

I’ll be the first to say I find little on the MyBlogLog site itself to keep me logged in for any length of time. From the first the site came across as most people there were far more interested in promoting themselves than they were in connecting with other blogs or bloggers. The site doesn’t really make it all that easy to find blogs you might be interested in or connect with others in any meaningful way.

If Yahoo is smart they would change that and make it easy and fun for people to interact with each other on the site. There are more than enough social networking sites for Yahoo to use as an example. Bloggers are a conversational group by nature. It’s what we do and if you give us better tools to connect with each other it’s likely we will.

MyBlogLog could add better search features and better ways to organize communities. Maybe a way to search individual posts instead of only members and communities. How about something as simple as a tag cloud to view communities?

I’d like to see more ranking of blogs. Instead of displaying the communities you’ve joined randomly in your profile why not display them in the order you visit most or which you spend the most time visiting? Why not display the members of a community the same way? Whoever visits a particular blog the most has their avatar showing as the first under that community.

More prominence and more visibility should lead to more clicks and more traffic. Bloggers are friendly, but we’re also competitive. If spending more time on your blog means I have a better chance of getting people to visit my blog I’ll probably spend more time on yours. Besides a MyBlogLog algorithm gives us one more algorithm to try to figure out and talk about and teach each other about. Think of all that publicity for MyBlogLog.

Why not offer the the pro stats for free. Yahoo would profit more from all of us checking our stats than they likely do now from getting a few to pay for them. Yahoo have you noticed how Google gives everything away for free? Have you noticed how that keeps more people tied to using Google’s search engine?

How about opening up the site to developers. Does MyBlogLog have an API? If not why? Give developers a way to improve the site and they will. Look what it’s doing for Facebook. Since the majority of MyBlogLog members have blogs why not offer a way to find guest bloggers or guest blogging gigs?

I agree that MyBlogLog has lost whatever cachet they once had. I’m surprised it’s dropped so low on the radar, but I’m not surprised it’s dropped. I still think MyBlogLog has potential for bloggers to extend the reach of their brand, though that will dwindle if MyBlogLog loses more of its user base. Hopefully Yahoo will begin to make improvements to the site now that it’s been integrated with Yahoo IDs. Yahoo is not winning the search war, but they do have enough social properties to keep people on Yahoo.

Do you think MyBlogLog can attract the community back? What would you like to see them do? How would you like to see MyBlogLog integrated with other Yahoo properties?

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3 comments

  1. Steve, you make very good recommendations. The only reason I log to mlb nowadays is for the stats. We pay for the pro stats so it is nice to get quick snap shot of how much traffic our blog is getting in a particular hour.

    I would love to have a real way to get more interaction with other blogs in mlb. Besides seeing someone avatar when they visit our site, there is no other way to interact with community members. The other issue like you point out is with the amount of traffic mlb sends. When I was more active on the site, I would get between 5-10 visitors a day. That is still not a whole lot for the effort it required.

    How about changing the main page of mlb to display more blogs that meet some criteria? I keep on seeing the same two blogs on the first page of mlb.

    During August, I used MLB heavily to find other blogs that might interest me. I would visit a community I like and click on the member profiles of that community. I then visit the blogs of these members one person after the next. I think I visited close to 500 blogs from the top rank community. I subscribed to rss to some of these.

  2. I think MyBlogLog could definitely get people to increase usage, especially if they followed your suggestions. My favorite is the one about making Pro Stats free. Those stats are probably the single biggest reason I use MyBlogLog. I have two blogs listed now. One I purchased Pro Stats for and one I did not. I almost never give more than a passing glance to the one that does not have up to the minute stats. I’m sure I’d use the site more if I had Pro Stats for all my blogs.

    I also agree with you about ranking. I’d like to see my communities ranked in the order of most to least visits. I’d also like to see visitors to my blog ranked. Who visits most often? Those are probably the people who are most interested in what I write, and the people I should cultivate.

    The biggest problem that I see with MBL is that it doesn’t drive a lot of traffic to my blog. The reality of the situtation is that I’m going to spend my time on the things that bring the most traffic. IF MBL isn’t it, I’ll go somewhere else.

  3. Khalid I don’t have the pro stats, though they would be nice to see. I agree that Yahoo is missing an opportunity by letting eveyone on MBL connect more than they currently can. I like the idea of seeing different blogs on the home page that meet your interests. It could be a nice way to discover new blogs.

    I get the feeling in order to see traffic from MBL they’ll need to rank blogs and members in some way. There are just too many blogs to really decide which one is for you. I think their attempt to add tagging was an effort to help categorize blogs, but it didn’t really work. MBL also pissed off a few people in high places who took away their support of the site.

    Kristine I’d like to see the pro stats offered for free too. I can’t imagine the money Yahoo makes from them is all that much in comparison to what they could get by keeping more of us longer on a Yahoo property. I would think there are better ways they could monetize the site.

    Isn’t it a must at this point for social sites to have some kind of ranking criteria. I’d love to see my visitors ranked in order of who’s here the most. I have a good sense of who’s here a lot, but why not display the members that way. I wouldn’t think it would be all that hard.

    It would be nice for MBL to drive more traffic, but it doesn’t have to drive a lot of traffic for me to consider it a good site. I think it might have more potential to increase subscribers, which I’d take over traffic numbers any day.

    It’s a natural place or could be to discover new blogs of interest. MBL could even allow you to offer a subscription button on your profile somewhere.

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