Sunday, June 27, 2010

Entrecard "To EC or not to EC"

This post is for satisfied Entrecard members, as well as those considering quitting or actually leaving the program, and folks just curious about it. Some call it "the virtual business card"... but be warned it is time-consuming, unless you're already online doing other things, "the care and feeding of EC becomes a job in itself"...

1 - You have nothing to lose by trying Entrecard. I first encountered EC at a time when my blog traffic suddenly inexplicably fell off a cliff. To this day I have no answer why visitors dropped. I checked everything: loading time, posts appearing in search engines like Google and yahoo, availability of posts listed on digg... nothing was out of order. If anything, my posts were being catalogued and appeared on Google within MINUTES after I published them! I did find a discrepancy most alarming: comparing a daysworth of traffic across three different site metering services, I found a gap of nearly 100 visitors between two of them! Most recently, I notice that certain older posts, dating back to 2006, have remarkable "staying power" on Google, while other posts from 2009 and early 2010 have disappeared from Google, but DO appear on the first search page in Bing. WTF?

2 - What about the quality of entrecard traffic? Well, this is something that has been debated for years. Here's an excellent post dating back to late 2007 on a now-abandoned blog which details one blogger's experience with EC: BE SURE TO READ THE COMMENTS on The Quality of Entrecard traffic. (Stay on the site: Most of the links don't work anymore!)
DID YOU KNOW THAT ENTRECARD once PAID BLOGGERS to review the service?
3 - What's the best way to spend Entrecard credits?

+ Once a week (usually Wednesday) I go through the list of blogs that have dropped ECs on my blog and view their stats. Anyone who has dropped on me for 8 days or more and has a fair cost to advertise (below 500EC) gets a visit from me and I place an ad.

+ Advertise on blogs that advertises on many sites.
A. Go to the Campaign page and click browser.
B. Select “Biggest Advertiser” but don’t set the maximum price. Click Search.
C. Now advertise on any site with a cost out of proportion to those around it. For example, say the top 6 biggest advertisers all cost 1024ec to advertise on, but #7 costs only 64ec. Advertise on the 64ec because they are spending a lot of credits to get their card out there.

For those into calculations, here's another method:

D. Go to the Campaign page and click browser.
E. Select “Most Popular” and set the maximum price to 16ec. Click Search.
F. Now advertise on any site with a number in the top right of the card of 80 or more. (5×16=80) This means you are paying one ec or less for each display of your ad. Obviously choose the highest ones first. EXAMPLE: I purchase a 16ec ad that dispalys a score of 484. That means I am paying 1ec to have my ad viewed 6 times. (484/5) / 16 = 6.0625

4 - To Drop Cards Or Not, Does Entrecard Work? I have found some cool sites that I will continue to visit long after Entrecard is gone (if it goes, that is!). I suppose if you’re actively dropping cards you’ll eventually pick up on some sites worth their weight; you may get better traffic results from leaving good comments on good blogs!

REMEMBER you don't HAVE TO drop 300 EC's a day... just do whatever amount you can once you get started. You can experiment with blogs from different categories to see which ones help drive the most traffic to your blog and which blogs you can form an alliance with.

I've noticed many bloggers see their Alexa rating rise as a result of Entrecard, which may be a good reason to keep it on your blog. But don't rely on EC as your sole source of new traffic: once the card is up you have to get out and hustle: leave comments on other blogs and in forums, and make sure your posts get recognized by Digg, StumbleUpon, Wikio and other blog networking services!

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1 comment:

Jen said...

I agree that it is time consuming, but then again I can skip the drops if my schedule becomes too crowded (which happens sometimes). I have found a LOT of great blogs through Entrecard that I may otherwise never have found. Of course as a non-profit, I am also attracted by the ability to advertise for "free" (always a handy thing for the broke folks :o)

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