So if Google is the darling of the web (& Wall Street soon?) why hasn’t the company or a rival decided to create a Google search engine/directory for bloggers? Sure, they bought blogger.com in anticipation that blogging will become one of the new, new things. But I’m talking about making it easier for bloggers and blog viewers to find blogs that they want to read; to find blog subjects that they want to read about, etc. The blog world should be organized the same way the Open Directory Project or Google Directory is: with broad subject areas to which every submitted blog is assigned. Searchers could also search for blogs by name, subject or keyword.
You might reply there already are services out there that do that. Well, not quite (at least not from what I’ve seen). Many of these services (and I’ve listed a few below) are poorly organized, hardly navigable, and sometimes just plain indeciperable (I find weblogs.com that way). What I want is a single company (that’s why I used Google as my first example) that would classify all blogs (whether through owner submission or through other methods); and do this clearly, easily and accessibly.
I’m the type of blogger who wants people to read my blog. So I devote a lot of time to figuring out ways to make it as accessible as possible to the largest number of online viewers possible. I’ve combed through the UserGroup forum to discover what blog directories TPers use to make their blogs known in the world. I’ve registered for more than I can mention, among them:
While I admire and support the concept, I don’t think that any of these formats (at least not so far) actually drive viewers to your site (well maybe a very few visitors). What does? Well, there’s the old saw–search engines. Google in particular (especially since domain mapping started) drives many to my site. But (& perhaps this will be surprising to some) I’ve found that visiting message boards, bulletin boards and discussion groups which cover topics that you write about in your blog can bring many viewers to your site. Not all discussion groups are equal though. Some are small, specialized or not very active. These won’t help much. But sites which themselves generate a lot of traffic will in turn do the same for you. Finally, another sometimes smashingly successful method is to generate cross-linking among blog sites. For example, some sites which have either trackbacked or cross linked to me are: Hellsheet, Burundanga, Vaneats and NYC Eats. The latter two in particular generate many visitors to my site.
Because I blog about Mideast peace, the outdoors, popular culture and world music, I’ve pinpointed boards which cover those topics:
While food seems to be a very popular subject on the web and in blogs, the same can’t be said for the Middle East. There are very few discussion groups and no directories that highlight this issue. Very unfortunate.
I’ve written Typepad Help tickets asking whether TP itself could do a better job of linking and organizing among its own member blogs. I suggested creating TP interest (or ‘affinity’) groups in major categories like Sports, Food, Music, TV, Films, etc. Each blog in these categories would linked to all the other category members. The TP reply is that they’re trying to set this up with weblogs.com. However, they will be using the TP default categories as their organizing tool. This doesn’t work well for bloggers like me who have more custom categories than default. Also, I get no traffic from weblogs.com now. Why would I get much more after this new innovation happens? Finally, I myself can’t figure out very well how to navigate weblogs.com. If I can’t then others can’t as well. Maybe that’s why nobody’s coming to my site from there??