Unless you've decided to blog in a vacuum and don't care if anyone reads what you have to say, at some point you've probably looked for ways to encourage new readers to find your blog.
When I started blogging in 2004, it wasn't uncommon for a blog to be part of several blogrings. A blogring is essentially a community of bloggers all linking to a central list of other bloggers in the same niche (the niches in some cases were extremely broad). The downside to these blogrings was that they tended to be so all-encompassing that they were useless. You couldn't find a specific blog type unless you already knew what you were looking for. You could certainly find new blogs to read, but you could do that just by reading someone's blog roll. And, because the blogrings usually listed blogs alphabetically, if your blog's name started with anything after the letter D, you probably weren't receiving any attention at all. Blogrings slowly died out, but they were the precursor to today's blog networks.
In addition to blogrings, many bloggers listed their blog with Technorati, long considered The Site to determine your blog's influence. Claiming your blog with Technorati lists your blog in the Technorati directory and allows you to start building authority. Recently, though, even Technorati's influence is waning and bloggers are finding new ways to determine how to promote their blog and find their audience.
In Are Blogs Losing Their Authority To The Statusphere? Brian Solis writes:
So why do I believe that blog authority is losing its authority?
It goes back to the definition of authority. Links from blogs are no longer the only measurable game in town. Potentially valuable linkbacks are increasingly shared in micro communities and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed and they are detouring attention and time away from formal blog responses.
Micha Baldwin, in his article HOW TO: Measure Online Influence writes:
(S)ince Technorati’s Authority Rank stopped consistently updating (read: lost the trust of bloggers), there hasn’t been a single tool for measuring the potential online influence of an individual blogger. Until that happens, the best measure is getting recommendations from friends.
That's exactly what I'm hearing from my blogging friends as well. In a conversation with other bloggers I was interested to find that few of my colleagues actually bother to register their blogs anywhere at all. Instead, they turn to social media to promote their blogs, using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, My Blog Log, etc. At the same time, I heard from the ladies that few of these sites (except Twitter) actually resulted in significant, long-lasting traffic.
Megan Smith and Amanda Padgett have both found some success with Blog Catalog. I had dismissed Blog Catalog as a flash in the pan when it first opened its doors and hadn't considered it since. I was interested to find out other bloggers were using it to some success. My question is whether the traffic generated is long-term or drive-by? Is there any status associated with being part of it (as there is/was with being ranked by Technorati)? That, of course, leads to the question does status derived from being listed on a particular site really convey the value of a blog?
The trend seems to be that listing your blog with the traditional sites like Technorati aren't cutting it any more (can you really be "traditional" in something so evolving as new media?) and bloggers are finding new ways to promote themselves. I'd be interested to know what, if anything, you do to promote your blog. How has the blogosphere changed since you've been a part of it in regards to promoting your blog?
Melanie Nelson writes tips and instructions for beginning and intermediate bloggers at Blogging Basics 101.