We are going through some of the social networking sites that are out there and talking about how we can become active in them to help promote our businesses.

Yesterday we talked about StumbleUpon. In the comments of that post Tony Clark pointed out an article on DoshDosh that gives a very comprehensive introduction to StumbleUpon that is worth reading though. Head over to yesterday’s post and check out the link. Thanks Tony!

MyBlogLog History

Today let’s take a look at MyBlogLog.

MyBlogLog started out as a statics program specifically for blogs. I opened an account with them at the beginning of last summer because they were one of the few (free) programs that tracked where people clicked leaving your blog.

There are lots of metrics packages that tell you how people come into your blog. But at the time I was curious about the other side of the equation and MyBlogLog fit the bill nicely. They still do that well.

They have widgets that you can put in your sidebar highlighting the top links on your blog. And they also have a feature you’ll see here at SuccessCREEations. When you hover over some of the links here a little box will pop up and let you know the popularity of an outbound link before you click on it.

Then in October I noticed they added a new widget called Recent Readers. You’ll see my current version in the left side bar. That widget will display a list of which MyBlogLog members have visited your blog. You can customize the format a lot of different ways. Here I’ve set it up to show the graphic that folks have entered for their avitar.

This widget is the thing that really got MyBlogLog to take off. Suddenly folks could see who was visiting their blogs even if they didn’t leave a comment. It helped generate a sense of community.

At about the same time the folks at MyBlogLog added blog community features to their own site where member can associate with the different blogs they frequent. As an example here is the SuccessCREEations MyBlogLog community. (You are welcome to join if you feel you see value in what you find here. 😉 )

When I first installed the Recent Readers widget I was having trouble with my blog and thought the widget might be the cause. In my frustration I posted about taking it down.

Wouldn’t you know that co-founder Eric Marcoullier left a comment right away helping me overcome my issue. Because of Eric’s responsiveness to a little old blogger like me, he kept a customer who’s been very satisfied ever since.

Then after the first of this year MyBlogLog was acquired by Yahoo. Talk about a social networking success story!

Advantages

How do you tap into this community from a business perspective?

Well the first thing you’d have to do is go to the MyBlogLog site and open an account. Be sure to upload a photo or graphic in your profile because that is how most of the MBL widgets around the web display their recent readers.

Then start joining communities in your niche. You can also send messages to the different authors, either via their blog community, or via their profile community. You have the option of making different authors contacts as well as joining their individual blog communities. (Many authors have multiple blogs.)

Start networking and adding value. As you visit different sites in your niche, your graphic will show up on the widgets. The authors will notice.

I know I keep an eye on that widget here at SuccessCREEations. I check out new faces as I see them there. (And I’m just egotistical enough to get a thrill when a big name blogger stops by!)

One example of a business that I think did a great job using MyBlogLog to promote themselves is CrossLoop. I first hear about them because Mrinal first reached out to me there. Since then I’ve mentioned their blog here at least two or three times, which is exactly how it should work, if we are promoting our businesses correctly.

Disadvantages

One big danger of just going in and friending everyone you see at MyBlogLog is that you might very well find yourself accused of being a spammer. You want to be cautious about how you go about it, especially when it comes to sending messages.

Use common sense and be polite.

Some might say CrossLoop danced with that line. Personally I don’t think so. But it is a fine line between being appropriately self promoting and being obnoxious. I think Mrinal did a good job there.

My own tendency is to err on the side of caution and I probably under-promote. That’s a function of my personality.

Another disadvantage to the MyBlogLog social networking aspect is that is hard to go back and see conversations. The only message that is displayed in a community or user profile is the inbound message. There is no real good way to follow a conversation there, even one of your own.

They could help this one out a lot by adding some sort of “in reply to” link that would take you right to the message being replied to. I really think they could improve the community aspect of MBL a lot by finding some way to string these conversations together.

One More Tidbit

If you would like an opportunity to meet the man who founded
MyBlogLog and carried it through a $10 million sale to Yahoo, come on out to Chicago in three weeks to SOBCon. Eric will be there and will be answering questions as part of a tools panel (moderated by yours truly) along with Diego from Evoca and Vernon from TheGoodBLogs.

But you better hurry. The hotel rooms are going fast. Go and register today before you miss out!

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