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Friday, 11 January 2008

Building a blog community with MyBlogLog

Building a MyBlogLog communityPhoto by jacreative


You may have come across MyBlogLog widgets when reading other blogs. (n fact, the "recent readers" widget you see in my sidebar is provided by MyBlogLog!) But if you're unfamiliar with MyBlogLog, you may well be wondering what on earth it's all about, or what benefits it could offer to you as a blogger. So in this post, I'll attempt to answer these questions and explain why MyBlogLog could help you build a successful community around your blog.

The Basics


MyBlogLog is a community service which is centered around blogs. It's part of the Yahoo! network, so if you're already a member of Yahoo you can sign in using your usual login details. If you don't already use any of Yahoo's services, you can quickly join by creating a free Yahoo! account.

It's free to use MyBlogLog, although you can opt to pay for the premium service of this suits you (this offers some additional options for checking your statistics in real time). Once you've completed your registration, you can begin adding to your profile, upload an avatar, take a look at some of MyBlogLog's communities, and even start your own...

Why would I want to use MyBlogLog?


If you write a blog, then MyBlogLog is a great way to begin building a community around your blog, attracting new readers and inviting other members to see what you write.

Even if you don't write a blog but are interested in reading other people's blogs, you can find new and interesting communities to join, discover great blogs to add to your feed reader and get a taste of what blogging can offer to the internet community as a whole.

When using MyBlogLog, you can display a widget featuring the images of your most recent readers; track visitor statistics; know who has been reading your blog and which other blogs they read; find and join other communities based on your interests, and much more besides!

Why would I want to build a MyBlogLog community?


MyBlogLog CommunityBlogs, by nature, can easily attract a community following. By allowing comments, responding to these comments, and communicating to your readers through your posts (and possibly by email too), you are building a sense of interaction between you (as the author of your blog) and your readers (the members of your community).

Your blog community is easily extended: links to your blog, links to other blogs from your own, the comments you leave on other sites, and other references can all generate more community members to your blog and help you reach a wider audience.

MyBlogLog can help you take this to the next level.

By building a community for your own site on MyBlogLog, you can reach a wider audience, and make your blog much more visible to the people who would benefit from the posts you write.

On the profile page for each MyBlogLog member, you can see the communities they subscribe to. In one sense hand, this makes it easy for you to discover new blogs from through the communities of like-minded people. In another sense, this also helps readers of your niche subject to discover your blog too!

When you create a community for your blog, you can invite new readers to subscribe, send messages to all members of your community, and find new contacts in your chosen blogging niche. Most MyBlogLog members report a marked increase in their visitor statistics after creating their blog community. So why wouldn't you want to create a MyBlogLog community for your blog?

Getting started


Once you're logged in to MyBlogLog, you will see a link on your home page which says "Add site/blog I author". You will be taken to a page on which you can add the details of your blog or website. Simply fill out the details and your blog will be added to the MyBlogLog database. You don't need to add a screenshot manually, as MyBlogLog will pick up a snapshot of your blog and add this to your blog's profile page.

Your blog's community will have its own URL, which looks something like this:
http://mybloglog.com/buzz/community/your_blog

Choose a name for the URL which reflects the theme of your blog's niche. It could even be the name of your blog if that is available. You can only use the letters A-Z, numbers and underscores for this URL, special characters are not permitted.

Once you have created your blog community, you can begin inviting members to join, generate widget code to add to your site (such as the popular "recent readers" widget), and also begin to collect statistics about your blog readership.

Inviting your blog readers to join your MyBlogLog community


One of the easiest methods to attract your readers to your MyBlogLog community is to add a Recent Readers widget to your blog. This widget displays the MyBlogLog avatars of your most recent visitors, and (usually) includes a link for readers to join your MyBlogLog community.

To create your own Recent Readers widget, log in to your MyBlogLog dashboard, click on your blog's community link and then on the "Get Widgets" link. On this page you can choose from several different widgets to add to your blog, including the recent readers widget.

You can customize the appearance of this widget, including the avatar style, whether or not names are displayed, and also the color scheme. Then simply follow the instructions for your particular blog platform to insert the correct code into your template or sidebar.

You can further customize the Recent Readers widget using CSS as I have done in my sidebar. I will be posting a tutorial about this in the next few days, or you can refer to the widget page in MyBlogLog for details of the CSS markup you will need.

Another way of publicizing your MyBlogLog community is to write a post to invite your readers to join in, and include a link to your community page.

Generate more readers and community members through MyBlogLog


MyBlogLog itself is a community based system. You can read the profiles and join the communities of like-minded people, and find other blogs which write in your niche subject.

You could leverage this to your advantage by leaving messages for other users, joining communities which interest you and making friends through the community system. This all serves to create a larger presence for your blog community, helps other members to find your own blog's community, and generates the sense that your blog is open to community interaction.

By being an active member of the MyBlogLog community, you can generate more traffic and subscribers to your blog, and ensure that your community grows.

Useful tools for MyBlogLog communities


While researching for this post, I came across some useful MyBlogLog tools which can help you to enjoy a better community experience:

If you know of any other useful MyBlogLog tools, please let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email.

Amanda Kennedy / Author & Editor

Amanda Kennedy is a writer and content creator whose websites chronicle many interest areas. She is a lifelong learner who lives in the UK with her family.

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