I'm having a hard time trying to figure out why someone would join a blog network. What are the benefits?
I see blogging as an individual thing (yes I know there are group blogs out there but I think of them more as magazines with RSS feeds than blogs); why would you give up that individuality to put someone else's logo on your site? Do you get better access to advertisers or something?
Here are some things, just off the top of my head. Not all of these will apply to all networks, of course, but these are some benefits in theory.
- Blog networks take care of expenses, like hosting, domain name registration and other things.
- Assistance. Blog networks can help you with... whatever. Solving errors on your site, helping you use the software, keeping you upgraded to the latest version of your software, making sure that your site is secure, backed up, etc. etc. The assistance isn't limited to technical stuff, of course. If you want to be a writer and not a webmaster, this is certainly a benefit. Anyone who does it all or most of it by themself can appreciate the difference in the amount of time you'd have to spend if you just created content and didn't worry about all of the other headaches.
- Access. Organizations pay more attention to bigger organizations. Whether it be sources, press access, freebies, review units or whatever.
- Traffic and exposure. Being part of a network brings you increased traffic and exposure through various means. It allows a new site to get started off a lot quicker and enhances the traffic of an existing site.
- Money. Blog networks have more time to dedicate to selling ads and making money from your blog than just you will and with the increased traffic, making more money will be easier.
- Being part of a group. Some people feel more comfortable working with a team of people than working alone.
There are others and there are benefits to just doing it yourself, as well. I can understand both approaches. At the end of the day, different people have different goals. While one person may look at it as giving up their individuality, another may look at it as simply cool.
There are others and there are benefits to just doing it yourself, as well. I can understand both approaches. At the end of the day, different people have different goals.
iFroggy, your whole post was really helpful, but do you have any ideas where someone could read more about the pros/cons between DIY blogging and joining a network? I've been trying to weigh the benefits also. My blog is very new, and I know some of these networks won't take you until you've been at it a while... but I don't know if joining is even worth setting down as a goal. That, and I have no idea how to effectively compare them to decide which would be most beneficial. Also I'm only aware of three networks (9rules, Federated Media, and b5media). Are there any other contenders? Can anyone offer some insight or speak from personal experience about a network they've joined?
I wouldn't really called Federated Media a blog network. They're an ad network, they just happen to sell ads for a large number of blogs.
Other large blog networks off the top of my head:
Gawker Media (not sure they have a corporate site, but they operate blogs like Gizmodo, Gawker, Wonkette, Valleywag, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Deadspin, Consumerist, etc.)
And the grand daddy: Weblogs Inc.
You could even argue that large blogs like TechCrunch are now starting to form into their own "network" ... TC operates MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, a number of localized editions, etc.
It's probably important to point out that a lot of blog networks were started from the ground up... so it's less of a case of blogs joining and network, than networks creating blogs and finding writers. 9Rules is really unique in what they do, as far as I can tell (I know there are a couple of similarly structured networks patterned after theirs).
Josh is an anomaly rails & work & twitter Organization is the
death of creativity.
The best blog network I have seen is the b5media. I read 6 of there blogs and they all are great. I think they add a brand value to your blog and if you can keep up with that image you get loyal readers
I am definitely interested because of the traffic that comes from networking and the leverage when it comes to advertising. That being said I would rather get together with 5-20 independent writers and just buddy up. I think that in the end the same thing could be accomplished without having to help grow a network that you do not own.
Anyone here want to start buddying up and see where it goes? I could see creating a small blog network that everyone profit shares from if anything comes out of the main network homepage. Otherwise we all just make money on our own blogs and use the leverage collectively that comes from working with more websites.