Sunday, December 13, 2009

Entrecard Project

If you look at the right corner of this blog, you'll see (under the "tip jar" / donate button) "Entrecard" - a service that has been around for awhile. One week ago, I decided it would be worth trying out to introduce new blogs to YOU as well as do a little networking with my blog...

A few years ago, I thought MyBlogLog would help out in the networking department. It did for awhile - when the service was sold to yahoo, it changed, got more "busy" and the networking angle kinda disappeared.

Networking with other bloggers (unless you happen to be a niche blogger) is easier said than done! I've seen bloggers use the comments sections and the C-boxes as networking tools, and I've worked those angles, and continue to work them whenever possible! LiveJournal helped a bit, but I don't have enough time to dedicate to being more active on LJ, and that's my bad. I always say that if ever a day comes again when I have "too much" time on my hands, I'll work the LiveJournal community harder. Twitter and facebook help bring in traffic, but don't help really give much of a boost to networking.

I've tried other tools and services: some, like Technorati and digg, have been given badges and placeholders on my blog, and I'll keep them there. I like to stay loyal to services that have proven themselves, even if they change the way they do things - because - you never know - one of those services might direct one influential person or blogger to this website - or one person who will become a 'fan' or a subscriber and check in regularly!

In my approx. 9 years of blogging, I can count on two hands the bloggers I feel I have actually networked with... you guys and gals (you know who you are) THANK-YOU for showing me the courtesies that you have shown and for the interactions we've had. Sadly, three of these bloggers aren't blogging anymore! Two lost interest, the other moved on to other literary endeavours.

And to my very loyal readers, those of you who check in almost every day - THANK-YOU! You are my "core" - the people this blog is really for!

Now, on to Entrecard:::two bloggers' tales, two different points-of-view!

The following appeared on Pat Doyle's blog in February 2008

What is Entrecard?

First of all, what is it? Entrecard is kind of an involved way to get some traffic to your blog. You put a snippet of code on your blog, which produces the Entrecard widget that you see in my sidebar. They have different sizes of the widgets. It’s in my right sidebar under “Just For Fun”. It has a gold bar on the bottom with an “E” on the left side of the bar. Above the gold bar is an ad for a website.

The blog that you see advertised in my widget has paid to be there for one day. But they have not paid money, they have paid Entrecard credits. Right now, it costs 12 credits to advertise on my blog.
How Do You Get Credits?

There are a couple of ways to get Entrecard credits:

1) Visit other blogs that have Entrecard and “drop your card” there. Your “card” is a 125×125 pixel ad that you create and upload to Entrecard. When you visit a blog, you click on the gold bar on the Entrecard widget. (When you become an Entrecard member, the gold bar will say “Drop yours”, meaning you should click the bar and drop your card there.) You can drop your card on a blog once per day. The “card” you drop shows up in that blogger’s dashboard on the Entrecard site.

2) Sell Entrecard ads. As I mentioned above, the people who “buy” the ad pay you in Entrecard credits to have their 125×125 pixel ad shown on your blog for a day.

I have earned 242 credits so far, and I did not do much work, other than dropping my card on a lot of blogs for the first couple of days. After that, I got tired of doing that, but I still got a lot of credits from people advertising on my blog.

Purchasing Ads on Blogs

How do they determine how much it costs to “purchase” an ad on a blog?

This is determined by a formula that includes averaging out the number of Entrecard members who have “dropped” their card (i.e. clicked on the widget) on your blog. So it can cost a lot to advertise on a popular blog. It also matters how active the blogger is in Entrecard, because the more active you are dropping your cards everywhere, the more people will visit your blog and drop their cards.

Right now, it costs 356 credits to advertise on ProBlogger, and 258 credits to advertise on John Chow. Earlier in the week when I was more actively dropping my card, it cost I think 30 or 31 credits to advertise on my blog. Now it is down to only 12 since I have not been that active.
Other Features

There is another twist where people can “recommend” your blog on Entrecard. That means they leave a nice comment about it. The most recommended blogs get on a special page, which helps popularize them even more.

There is also a “Shop” where you can buy merchandise and services with your Entrecard credits.
Hiow Has It Worked For Me?

According to Entrecard, I have had 118 people click through to my blog from Entrecard. This sounds about right. I checked my stats in Statcounter and found 102 visits, but a few may not have been counted for some reason. It’s possible that my logs don’t go back far enough in Statcounter.

I have not purchased an Entrecard ad on anyone’s blog yet. I tried a few, but none of those got approved – they just sat there in the blogger’s moderation queue, so I eventually cancelled them. I have a feeling that some people were really gung-ho in the beginning and then never checked back with Entrecard, so my ads never got approved. They never got disapproved either. They just sat there in limbo.

Another holdup is that a lot of the blogs I would want to advertise on are either completely booked (they only let you book up to 9 days in the future), or the blogger’s “ad queue” is full, meaning that they need to moderate the ads already in their queue before more people can apply to advertise.

I still do plan on buying an ad sometime, but I don’t really feel like spending too much time on it.

I guess it was nice to get 118 people visiting my blog from Entrecard, but how many of those people actually became regular readers, and how many just dropped their card and left?

My Conclusions

I don’t think Entrecard is worth spending a lot of time on, at least for me. It might be more worthwhile for a blog with less traffic, because if you work hard at it, you can build up a lot of credits and probably get more traffic than you are used to. If you already get a lot of traffic, you probably will not see much difference.

But I really can’t say how effective the advertising part of it is, since I have not been able to try that out yet.

It does seem like a friendly community. They have a forum, which I didn’t really have much time to check out, and I got a couple of messages from Entrecard members welcoming me, which was nice.

I would say, if you have a little extra time and want to try it out, go ahead, especially if a few more visitors would make a big difference to you.

- Pat Doyle

Have a look at the Entrecard FAQ

From the blog "Stormy Designs" earlier this year:::

I just recently started using Entrecard, early February in fact. At first I didn't drop that many cards, a few a day the first few days. I spent the first few days learning about the dashboard and everything and seeing how to use it. I really started dropping like 50 to 100 a day around mid February.
I've been looking over my Google Analytics and I'm excited to see that all that dropping has done some good.
Here's my top 10 traffic sources for the past 30 days.

For me, Entrecard is fun and it's bringing more traffic than I've ever had.
Hopefully some of my droppers are enjoying my blog.
I know I've been reading the top posts on the ones I drop on and many blogs I have read pages of.
I've found some new favorite blogs.

So, Entrecard, does it work?
I highly recommend it.
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