Blogging & Social Media
The best and worst websites for writers and bloggers
As a writer or blogger, you might join a community to
network, learn, promote your work, publish your content, and even make a spot
of money on the side.
If this is your motivation, then, you’ll have figured out two things by now: Firstly,
you are not alone. There is an offensively large number of aspiring writers out
there, ranging from talented to deserve to be shot. Secondly, many websites
exist that claim to make your dreams come true.
In order to save you months of scouring the web only to be met with
disappointment and wasted effort, below is a description of some of the best
and worst online communities for writers and bloggers...
The Good: Hubpages
Instant gratification with hits the moment you publish. An active community and
obviously an enormous database. Whatever your field of interest, someone is
interested in hearing about it. Clearly the reputation of Hubpages is so
excellent that everyone is keen to read, comment, follow, encourage and share.
With Hubpages, not only will you drive traffic to your own website, but you may
even make some money with Google Ads too.
Make Hubpages your FIRST port of call. Do not leave it until last, especially
as Hubpages does not accept duplications. If you've already tossed your great
ideas all over the internet, then forget about bringing them to Hubpages.
The Good: Triond
Triond commands a network of websites, and will publish your content on the
site that best suits your topic and target audience, thereby earning you
maximum readership. Triond’s network includes websites with topics ranging from
poetry and literature, to business, sports, travel, health and wellness, and
Plus, as soon as your work is approved and published, it generates revenue from
two sources: page views and the display and contextual advertising that appears
on the pages of your work. Triond shares with you 50% of the revenue generated
by your content.
The Good: BlogCatalog
This is a great site if you can ever get the webmaster to approve your blog,
which is hit or miss, depending on whether he’s busy scratching is belly
button. In spite of the bone idle webmaster, BlogCatalog deserves a huge thumbs
up, thanks to the active, responsive and impressively well informed community.
This is a mine of useful information for writers, with everything from how to
promote your website or blog to how to make money online. Don't be shy about
asking questions, everyone is keen to share their extensive knowledge here.
The Good and Bad: Facebook
If you want to catch up with old school friends from when you were five, then
Facebook is for you. But if you plan to network, build a community and promote
your work, then good luck to you.
Facebook limits the number of friends you can make (5000 total), the speed at
which you may request those friends, the number of pages you can like, how many
groups you can join and how many blogs you can follow. There are probably more
limits not listed here, but what is clear is that Facebook does not want you doing
your own networking. And why should it, when it has an expensive advertising
package to offer you instead? Facebook is driven by greed, so if you have a
book to promote or a blog to share, then by all means post it on Facebook, but
don't expect much.
Having said that Facebook has a huge upside, a weakness in their armor, you
might say, called NetworkedBlogs. On the surface it’s just another place to
post and link to your website or blog. But there is more to NetworkedBlogs.
Visit their discussion forum, where everyone is literally begging one another
to ‘follow me and I’ll follow you.’ Yes it’s an orgy of button pressing, but it
also exposes your writing to hundreds, possibly thousands of eyes. The ‘Like’
or ‘Follow’ button is today’s measure of success, with the power to promote
your website and get you better rankings on Google. NetworkedBlogs gets you
For more on the power of the Like button, refer to these articles: (cfwebprofessionals.com/blog/the-power-of-the-like-button/)
And it gets sweeter. As everyone on NetworkedBlogs’ discussion forum is looking
for ways to propagate their work, if you happen to have a referral link to
another blog or website-promoting site, then you can earn Google Adsense revenue
just by sharing that information on the NetworkedBlogs discussion forum.
It’s a win-win situation. Well perhaps not so much for Facebook, so you might
want to keep this under your hat, lest they pull the plug on this one ‘flaw’ in
their greedy master plan for world domination.
The Good and Bad: Writer's Digest
Great community, fun people sharing a common cause (to become published
writers), but not so self absorbed as to be unable to hold a forum
conversation. You’ll enjoy great interactions, tips, advice and a general
feeling of warmth here.
The major downside to Writer’s Digest is their aggressive advertising. Writer’s
Digest is not merely a forum for aspiring writers, but a company that sells
writing related tools, such as conferences, books and webinars. The
community frequently complains in the discussion forums about the aggressive
advertising, but Writer’s Digest is deaf to the suggestions that their
hard-sell advertising is more off-putting than effective.
The Bad: Xomba
Tiny community, you'll get a couple of initial responses to your articles at
first and then it will all die down. As for driving traffic to your own website
or blog, if no one's checking it out, then no one's around to click on your
links. And forget about ever trying to make money from your articles. Xomba
isn't even listed in Wikipedia.
The Bad: Zimbio
Unless your sole interest in life is to write about celebrities, don't waste
your time. Enough said.
The bad: Squidoo
What a phenomenal waste of time! Firstly Squidoo claims to be “home to millions
of pages of the best content, advice and recommendations online.” That can only
be a lie, as only a site that screens can claim to be “the best.” On Squidoo
anyone can publish anything. One recurring complaint is that, of all the
communities, Squidoo generates the least hits. You are even supposed to be able
to make Adsense revenue here, but that won’t happen if your readership is zero.
The bad: Scribd
Scribd claims to be “the world’s largest social reading and publishing
company.” But it is unclear why. Your content appears like a JPeg image of a
word document, it’s not even attractive to look at. Here too, there is no
gatekeeper, absolutely anyone who can switch on a computer, can publish content
to this site.
The Bad: Twitter
Everyone’s heard the same song; if you have a website or blog, you must open a
Twitter account. What good this does is unclear, though, as mentioned earlier,
getting followers is crucial to your credibility as a writer.
The only way to really describe the Twitter experience is to imagine millions
of individuals taking turns to run into a room, yell out a sentence and then
run out again. No one is interested in what anyone else has to say. Sure you
can get followers, but they aren’t following you out of interest, they merely
want you to follow them, and unlike Facebook’s NetworkedBlogs, you’ll gain
nothing more from this pointless interchange.
Many online communities exist that promise overnight success and enhanced
readership, but the reality is that no one website has the power to make you
famous, not while they are making every one else famous at the same time. Even
if you do well using these sites, it takes years of hard work and persistence.
Manage your expectations. Every site has its own agenda, so just get what you
can out of it, but don’t assume that it holds the key to your dreams. It does
Meantime sign up to Google Adsense. Do this before joining any online
communities and publishing your work, then as soon as you get your Adsense ID,
you’ll be ready to not just enhance your readership, but also earn revenue on
the side. Again this does not happen overnight. Think about it; if it’s hard to
get people to read your content, imagine how much harder it will be to get them
to click on your ads. Keep your day jobs people, the whole Adsense business is
a fun cherry on the cake, but you will most likely earn in cents, not dollars
and it certainly won’t pay the rent.
Most importantly, always remember to include backlinks to your own website,
whether in your profile, in the discussion forum or within your published
content. Don’t spam though. Engage the community. However do not even bother to
sign up to any website or community that does not allow you to post links. Life
is too short!
Happy writing everyone, and don't let anyone stop you from pursuing your