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Fired: MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog Widgets

For those of you that have been long-time readers, you’ll notice that I removed the MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog sidebar widgets. I struggled with removing them for quite some time. I enjoyed seeing the faces of folks that visited my blog often – it made the readers seem like real people rather than stats on Google Analytics.

I did a full analysis of each source and how they drove traffic to my site as well as how my visitors interacted on the site. Perhaps the thing I disliked the most about both widgets was:
MyBlogLog BlankMyBlogLog blank images. If you’re going to publish a widget that shows photos, then only show photos.
BlogCatalog AdsBlogCatalog images that are really advertisements for peoples’ sites. This is free advertising and it’s not what I signed up for.

Four months ago, I went through a sidebar cleansing – ridding my blog of Technorati, FuelMyBlog, and BlogRush. Technorati seems to be really working hard to focus their attention back on blogs – I hope they make a comeback. BlogRush really didn’t do anything it was hyped up to.

FuelMyBlog and BlogCatalog are still reasonably good tools for new bloggers to find new readers. MyBlogLog has drifted off into the clouds at Yahoo! and seems to have become irrelevant.

With a few thousand readers a day (by web and RSS), MyBlogLog has only brought 16 visitors to my blog:
MyBlogLog Incoming Traffic

BlogCatalog; however, brought me 58 visitors in the same period of time.
BlogCatalog Incoming Traffic

For some, that may seem like good results. The problem is that this is prime real estate on my blog. The right sidebar is where many of my regular readers interact with comments, categories, videos, etc. Not a single reader has clicked on either of the widgets on the home page… not 1.

So the questions I needed to answer were:

  • What benefit were my visitors obtaining from the widgets? Not sure there was any benefit since no one interacted with them.
  • What benefit was I getting from the widgets? And did those benefits outweigh the benefits my readers would have by using that space for links that they did interact with?

My conclusion was that the benefit I was getting wasn’t enough to throw away a big chunk of sidebar real estate on. I truly believe that all of these services benefit much more from your traffic than you ever will from theirs.

As a result… they are fired!

9 Comments

  1. 1

    Are you still tracking visits to your site from either BlogCatalog or MyBlogLog? I like MyBlogLog for it’s stats as well as seeing the people visiting, though I see what you mean about taking up real estate on the blog. I think I’ll be moving MyBlogLog down to the footer in my next redesign, but I will keep it about.

    Also, if those two are not doing their job of bringing users in, what is? Obviously you are doing well, Doug, is it all subscriptions and search traffic that are bringing you the hits or is something else working for you as well?

    • 2

      Hi Phil,

      I’m a huge believer of earning each and every visitor on my blog. I look for new blogs all the time, comment on their blogs, and reply (:)) to folks on my own. I also answer as many emails as I can when contacted.

      In addition, I think the local classes I do on blogging and the events I speak at help considerably. I have a large network of friends and colleagues!

      I also like to promote businesses and services that may not be ‘mainstream’ and get a lot of attention. I especially do it when they are regional companies. I like helping folks in my own backyard!

      Thanks!
      Doug

      PS: Keeping the blog optimized is also a red carpet for search engine traffic… but good content and personal touch retains new readers.

  2. 3

    I put the little banners on the bottom of the sidebar of Clark’s Picks for the numerous social networking sites that I joined. Predictably, I get traffic from the one’s that I actually frequent, mostly Fuelmyblog.

    Right now I am experimenting with Entrecard and Spott for the traffic. Do you have any thoughts on those sites?

  3. 4

    Doug,

    Thanks for sharing your stat analysis with the rest of us. Where do you find the time?!

    As a social marketing service, we are always debating about which widgets to use for each client and I never know what to suggest.

    My sneaking suspicion was that they were all just “bling” and didn’t drive real traffic. I always meant to ask the analyticators to check…

    Now I know…

    Keep posting, I’ll keep reading!!

    Deeter

  4. 5

    Its great that you did the work to see what was driving traffic to your site and what wasn’t.

    I should do the same with my websites!!!

  5. 6

    Hey Doug,

    Glad to see BlogCatalog is bringing you some valuable traffic. It may not be Stumble or Digg numbers but you will find that our members are much more ‘sticky’ than most other networks.

    I am sorry to see you took off the BlogCatalog widget, but it looks like you have good reasons to do so. Have you looked at any of our other widgets lately? we have quite a few that display various aspects of your blogcatalog and/or social network activity. This may be more appealing to your readers than just some random faces since it’s much more target content. Take for instance our News Feed widget, which aggragates your social activity: http://www.blogcatalog.com/account.widget.php?type=feed

    All of our widgets also track what BC members are reading your blog without having to display the photos/ads in the widget.

    Keep up the great work,

    daniel / blogcatalog.com

  6. 7
  7. 8

    Hi Douglas, it was nice to see you on Twitter, that’s how I got here. Be interested to know how Twitter is working for you. I agree ya gotta spruce up those sidebars now and then! Be interested to hear more about Technorati. I see a lot of people leave my websites via Technorati, but very few arrive that way on my sites…

  8. 9

    The only reason why i have Mybloglog, blogcatalog, fuel myblog is because i want to see who visit. that way i can also check their blogs out. maybe as a sign of giving back and for me to also know what possibly referred them to my site.

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