One of the greatest things about blogging is its symbiotic nature--blogging isn't a competition, with blogs fighting for readers like sharks in a feeding frenzy, it's a community that grows and sustains each of its members the more they contribute. Any time a blog links to me if I can help that blog grow, their link becomes more potent. Helping other blogs helps your own blog, either directly or indirectly.
However, within this large blogging community momblogs, or parent blogs if you prefer, are generally overlooked among the army of technology, celebrity and business blogs and the only way to change this is to educate each other on ways to promote the parent blog community. Here are five ways to promote other blogs and by extension, the women/family/parenting corner of the blogosphere.
1. Favorite your favorites on Technorati. There are two ways Technorati ranks blogs, one is by authority, or the number of links gained over the past six months, and the other is by popularity, or the number of people that have "favorited" a certain blog. If you go to Technorati you can see a list of the 100 most popular blogs in the blogosphere and I hate to say it, but there are few parent blogs among them.
I have gone through my RSS feeds and favorited each blog I regularly read by either cutting and pasting their URL to my favorites list on Technorati or by clicking on a blog's favorite button when visiting (mine is on my upper sidebar to the right). Once you click the button it walks you through the steps to favoriting that blog. You don't have to be a blogger to favorite a blog, you only need to sign up with Technorati. More parent blogs being favorited means greater recognition for the entire niche. Whenever I see someone has favorited my blog I return the compliment.
2. Allow "do-follow" for comments. This is a little complicated, but stick with me. Most blogs don't allow comments to count as links. For example, if you leave a comment on my blog and you have your own blog though I can click on your name to get to your blog, the search engines do not count that as a real link. However, there is a movement called "do-follow" where the HTML code in your template is changed to allow everyone who comments to get a link back to their own blog. I first learned about this at Mom Gadget and Casual Keystrokes.
I won't tell you how to do it here because Randa Clay does it much better than I but learn how to turn off the "no-follow" for your comments and give those who comment a link or two--I did. It allows everyone who comments on your blog to increase their power with the search engines and reinforces our community a little bit more.
3. Sk*rt worthwhile posts. If you're familiar with Digg--the site that allows you to vote for your favorite blog posts--Sk*rt is the same thing but for women. It allows you to submit blog posts you like for other Sk*rt readers to view and support with a vote. The more votes a post gets the higher it gets to the top of the list. A simple concept but great for making the best of the best more accessible.
And the nice thing about Sk*rt is that it's all about things that are important to women. While Digg users tend to be men ages 18-34 who think they need to leave a nasty comment to show you who's boss, Sk*rt users are kinder, gentler and are part of the growing women bloggers community who have similar interests and concerns. So register at Sk*rt and start submitting posts you think are deserving and it will help us all out.
4. Enable your email. I love getting comments and emails, love hearing from visitors and will respond personally to as many as I can. I understand that many people wish to remain anonymous when they comment, and that's just fine, but if you have a blog and would like to hear from bloggers you are visiting please consider enabling your email so that you can receive direct responses. It is very difficult to visit each blogger that leaves a comment here but I will always respond to an email if there is an email address available--I'm chatty that way.
To enable your email address on Blogger, simply go to your profile page and select the "show my email address" option near the top. That way, when you leave a comment it will allow the other blogger to respond to your comment and will help us all to feel more connected and involved. That's a good thing, right?
5. Use the momblogs custom search engine. Linking to other blogs not only helps those blogs to improve their own ranking, it also promotes an exchange of ideas and a sense of connectivity on which the blogosphere thrives. However, there are so many blogs out there it can be difficult to find the information and blogs you need. That's why I put together a custom search engine for momblogs that uses the same Google search engine but narrows the places that Google searches. I've specified around 1500 different blogs that this search engine will look at when you submit a query.
The custom search engine is located near the top of my side bar on the right or you can go to this page here for a more detailed explanation of how it works but it's very useful for finding other posts on a similar subject to link to. For example, when I'm writing about some aspect of parenting I find it useful to go to the custom search engine and find what other blogs have said on the subject so that I can link to them at the bottom of my post. Readers get more information, perhaps a different opinion, and those blogs listed get a link. It's a win-win situation that promotes not only individual blogs but the community as a whole. So consider using it to find related posts from other blogs the next time you've got an applicable topic. Try it, you'll like it.
Technorati tags: blogging, tips, momblogs, organization