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 blank images. If you're going to publish a widget that shows photos, then only show photos.
BlogCatalog 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.
BlogCatalog; however, brought me 58 visitors in the same period of time.
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!