blogging, blogs

How to Start a Blog, Part 3: Networking and Syndicating

March 06, 2010
by Liz Colville
Blogging, like most writing, is a lonely activity, but many general and topic-specific social networks exist to help bloggers find and support each other, get more readers and even make money.

Visit Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series to learn about choosing a blog platform, setting up a blog, finding basic blog design resources, using social media to promote your blog and more.

Connecting With Other Bloggers

Social networks for bloggers are designed to help you discover new blogs, track their posts and give you a new space in which to flesh your profile and interests, your goals as a blogger and your connections within the blogosphere. These networks can put you in touch with bloggers that can work with you to cross-promote content, as well as share links, ideas and experiences with blogging. Here are a few worth joining.

Technorati is a good place to land as a new blogger. Create a profile for your blog, have recent posts appear in blurb format automatically on that profile page, gather fans and have your posts indexed in the site’s search engine. Including your blog in Technorati will considerably enhance its visibility in the blogosphere.

BlogCatalog recently got a sleek Web 2.0 redesign and also has improved navigation. It’s an index of blogs and bloggers by category that, like Technorati, helps you discover blogs you’ll like, showcase your own posts and network directly with bloggers through forums, private messages and groups based on interests or location. Get support on topics such as “Making Money” through your blog in the BlogCatalog "Discuss" section.

Bloglovin’ is a Sweden-based site ideal for creative bloggers writing about topics like fashion, music, art and other forms of entertainment, but this is likely to expand as more types of bloggers are enticed into joining the site. Bloglovin’ gives you an easy way to “follow your favorite blogs” and bookmark posts through the site’s toolbar, and it also connects you to a network of other like-minded bloggers that might “follow” you in return.

Ning isn’t strictly for bloggers—it’s an interest-based social network consisting of thousands of groups—but there are many groups on Ning just for bloggers. You can start your own if you don’t find what you’re looking for. Ning is great if you want to personally reach out to your Ning group or friends within it, exchange links or plan meetups. You can join an unlimited number of Ning groups. is a paid service (monthly subscriptions start at $9) that lets you create a blog on which to syndicate a number of blogs. If you’ve found a network of like-minded bloggers and want to create a domain to promote all your work, this might be the solution for you.

Syndicating and Earning From Your Blog

It is possible to make money from blogging without pushing a product or running invasive text ads. The key is networking: Get in touch with other bloggers, join blog networks, find out about others’ experiences, streamline the focus of your blog, syndicate it and, if you so desire, apply to ad networks that will deliver ads appropriate to the content you write. Here are a few to get you started.

Blogcritics is a daily publication featuring the work of an inclusive, talented group of bloggers numbering in the thousands. If your blog can be defined by one or two categories, you’ll find it’s quite easy to write blog entries suitable for the Blogcritics audience. Popular categories on the site include books, music and politics, but all news categories are present. Your posts can appear both on your blog and on Blogcritics, and you’ll receive an impressive amount of attention, comments and feedback through the site.

Search a news item, recipe, health problem or other topic on the Web and you’ll often find Associated Content comes up very high in your search engine’s results. Like Blogcritics, Associated Content permits syndication of your blog posts on the site, and each post can earn you around $3 to $10, as well as views by the thousands. The range of topics on Associated Content is huge.

Examiner is a new competitor to sites like Associated Content. It has a more challenging application process but impressive traffic. Apply to be an “examiner” of a particular topic, either national or regional, and syndicate directly from your blog. Each post can earn you a small sum directly tied to traffic, usually about $1 per 1,000 views.

If you write on a specific topic, you could earn extra revenue through banner or text ads by joining a niche network. Blogads is one option, as it features ads by category and enables you to join “blog hives” devoted to these topics. AdBrite is another reputable option.

It’s best to apply to networks like these once you’ve been consistently blogging for about six months and have seen solid growth. Be prepared to share your traffic stats with these networks. Talk to other bloggers about their experiences with ads and ad networks before you take the plunge into ad territory. Use the forums on sites like BlogCatalog and Technorati, or write to bloggers directly.

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