Friday, August 1, 2008

Entrecard sucks!

Well, not really.

I did, however, read something on a blog earlier today in which the author said he only stops to read posts when a headline gets his attention. That particular author is one of my fellow Entrecard members and that statement right there reveals quite a bit about the service.

Besides, this particular scribble is all about convincing people of the wisdom of slowing down and lingering on blogs for awhile, so the headline seems appropriate in that regard.

Before I get into all of that, I'll go ahead and explain what Entrecard is and why everyone wanting to drive traffic to a blog should participate in it.

What Entrecard is and what's good about it

Take a look at the gray bar on the right hand side of my blog and you'll notice the Entrecard widget. You'll also notice a small icon that is, in effect, an advertisement for another blog. When an Entrecard member sees that widget, that individual can hit the "drop" bar and receive a credit. That Entrecard member posts a similar widget and receives a credit for every "drop" on his or her widget. Dropping a card on a widget is like leaving a business card and the recipient of the card will typically respond in kind.

The point of all of this, of course, is to save up enough credits to purchase ads and place them on blogs all over tarnation. Of course, anyone who visits a blog with an Entrecard widget -- whether they are members of the service or not -- can visit the site advertised.

Entrecard is absolutely great at driving traffic to a blog. When I signed up for the service, I was having a lot of trouble getting traffic. As soon as I joined Entrecard, I was averaging 100 or more visitors per day and things have only gotten better since. That's a very good thing.

If you have a blog and you're not a member of Entrecard, you really need to check it out and consider joining. I'll make it easy for you -- click right here and you're off to the site!

So, what's the problem, Hawg?

A bunch of traffic is one thing, but whether people are actually stopping to pay attention to the blogs they visit is quite another. I was thrilled with my increase in traffic until I looked at my Feedburner stats and saw that people were spending an average of about 1 minute on my page. One blasted minute! Drat!

It was pretty clear, then, that people were dropping cards on my widget and then rushing off somewhere else. It could, of course, mean that my blog just sucks, but I prefer to think that people are just in a hurry. Really. It makes me feel better.

I do like people to stick around and read my prattle. People who linger on a blog for awhile do things like Digg posts, click an add or two so The Hawg can have a little beer money or leave comments telling me how great I am, how horrible I am, how stupid/great the post is and generally extend the dialog I started. I suspect that most bloggers want the same thing.

So, it is a little depressing to realize you're getting a lot of traffic but few people are actually looking at your blog. I have read a heck of a lot of posts about Entrecard in which bloggers are promising to reveal magical methods that will help Entrecard members realize their maximum drops per day in just a few minutes. Such practices, of course, don't exactly promote the notion that visiting blogs and interacting with them is enjoyable -- visiting blogs and paying attention to what people have to say is where the true fun in all this social marketing is, isn't it?

And, it's tempting to be a drive-by card dropper, indeed. I noticed I found myself doing the same thing earlier today -- going for the maximum number of credits rather than slowing down and paying attention to some of the excellent blogs I was visiting.

So, I slowed down and made a pledge.

The Hawg's Pledge to Entrecard Members in Three E-Z Steps

Call it the Hawgifesto or something equally dandy, but here it is:

1. The maximum number of drops I can make per day is 300 and I don't give a damn. I don't care about that and say "phooey" to anyone who claims hitting that maximum matters. If I hit 50 to 150 blogs per day, that's fine so long as I'm stopping and paying attention to sites that I visit.

2. If I like what I see when I visit a blog, I'll submit a Digg, enter a comment or maybe even click an ad or two and see what the blog is promoting. I do believe that's why all of us bother to start blogs, right? So, I'll do my part and read what took you so long to post. That only seems fair.

3. If an Entrecard member drops a card on my blog, I'll return the favor. What's more, I'll actually linger around and pay attention to what you've posted and maybe even leave a smart ass comment or two. What a deal!

Conclusion

So, that's the Hawgifesto. Heh. I think I'll call it that maybe post it somewhere where everyone can see it. Yeah!

I've probably cost myself a lot of traffic by backing out of the "drive-by dropper" game, but that's fine with me. I'll probably have a lot more fun sitting back, taking my time and appreciating some of the fine blogs out there.

So, comment and discuss!

55 comments:

Pam Robertson said...

That was a great post and certainly stopped me in my tracks as I was entrecard dropping this evening.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Heh, heh. That was the point! Glad you stopped by...

Is said...

Hawg,
I'd classify those droppers as killing two birds with one stone. The max I can drop per day is around 100. If I go more than that, it will recite causes leading to eyestrain. I love reading your articles and it helps me to improve my english.

The Natural State Hawg said...

ls:

You are too kind! Now, if only you can avoid my hick, Arkie accent.

By the way, I'm almost certain I'm not alone in my belief that people ought to stop by and linger on a blog for awhile. In fact, I'd wager that is what Entrecard was set up for to begin with.

Thanks for stopping by!

Lynn said...

To be honest, there are times that i would just really drop and drop due to lack of time. But the title of your post really push me to read. (",)

Have a nice day!

The Natural State Hawg said...

lynn:

Well, we've all been there, haven't we? It's hard to resist the temptation to just drop and split to somewhere else.

I'm going to be better about that -- stop and read things. I think I'll enjoy my time kicking around blogs a lot more.

Garnzo said...

Nice post. And as a fellow Entrecarder, I agree. I've noticed that online blogging communities either are great at generating traffic (like Entrecard), or great at creating a community of readers (like BlogCatalog) -- but never both at the same time. It seems like one is sacrificed for the other.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Garnzo:

Ah, but Entrecard could be both.

If, of course, people would slow down and interact with sites instead of merely dropping cards and heading to the next blog.

I've started to slow down a lot and I've discovered more and more really great blogs out there.

So, the potential for Entrecard to be both a traffic generator and a site through which readership is developed is certainly there.

Elle said...

Okay, you got me. I have been known to maybe do a little where's the widget drop and run, but i also linger and muss up all the nice empty comment boxes of those blogs I find more fun than just a fly-by.

I have yet to drop 300, and you know, I've got more life going on than Entrecard. If I make it past 150, it is a serious bet that someone has chloroformed the male people I live with, or they've discovered EVERY cheat code for Guitar Hero.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Elle:

I've done the same thing -- just drop, drop, drop and not pay attention.

Ah, but I'm quitting all that. Time to do some reading.

By the way, the name of your blog is just great. Got my attention, at least...

Sara said...

Well based on this post and your comment on my blog, I've decided you are a pretty cool guy and I have made my own NOLAfesto to stop by your blog to check you out daily and even post if I am am moved to do so! Thanks for stopping by!

The Natural State Hawg said...

Sara:

Well, I appreciate that. And, I've just subscribed to your feed!

Thanks for the comment ;)

Bald Eagle said...

Yes, that part of Entrecard can be frustrating. I've brought this up and it seems that Graham is trying to address this. If you have good content, many of us will actually read it. But you're always going to have the quick buck sally's out there. Keep on keeping on!

FishHawk said...

Umm, you did not specify what penalties apply unto transgressions of the Hawgifesto. Enquiring minds want to know!!!

(Yes, I am well aware of technically mispelling "inquiring"; but this was on purpose. For I aspire to be a journalist for the National Enquirer; and I am hoping that such a clever play on words just might catch their eye. Whatcha think???)

The Natural State Hawg said...

bald eagle:

Well, I'm trying to manufacture some decent content, here and there. However, I think the tendency is to fly around and drop cards regardless of what's on a blog.

The temptation is certainly there, so I'm doing my best to resist it.

The Natural State Hawg said...

fishhawk:

Well, I like enquiring...

Anyway, the penalty? Ah, I've got it -- a vicious visit from my feared rat terrier.

Yeah, that'll show 'em...

FishHawk said...

Better for him to take a chunk out of you than the lovely Ms. Marci, I suppose...

LAWRENCE said...

Boss Hawg-
I am guilty of drop and run as well. However, when I see a blog that I find interesting, then I subscribe to their feed. I have your feeds sent to my Google Reader and enjoy your humor, topic choice, and style. I found your site because of Entrecard. If you can get a dozen or so daily readers with this sucky system, then it's done a decent job! Glad to hear Razorbacks will stink this year. Vols fan here...

WebbieStuffs said...

I saw your blog link from another blogger, not an entrecard member but i love your wacky way of commenting so i clicked the link going to your profile and finally in this final destination...

The comment you did? Well, something that has the words 'wife' and 'trashcan' in it!

Happy blogging and EC-ing. I used to drop 300 for around straight 1 week. I saw the returns of traffic. My comments, i got back from people whom i commented or i acknowledge them by giving entrecard credits.

I love it when people share ideas to what i say... just that...and i comment back...

This a very lengthy and worth-reading post. Mooie!

Theresa Komor said...

Your headline sure did catch me off guard! I'm like you in that I would rather spend the time reading and commenting than worrying about how many cards I've dropped. I have two blogs and usually only make it up to 50 drops per blog per day. And I return the drops, so I don't advertise much - what would I do if more stopped by? I'd spend all my time dropping and no time writing!

Ethan, you sure are a wealth of good ideas all the time!

crazy working mom said...

I always try to return daily drops (although I've been severely slacking lately) from my inbox but anything above that is usually hit or miss. I mostly comment because most of them are sites that are in my reader anyhow and I'll probably comment. So, it's a win-win I suppose. :)

lot 2 learn said...

I found your site while I was card dropping one night, and I am always back for more. So it cant be all bad. Heck, I only drop about 50 a day anyway. I like to read the posts

Kathy said...

Excellent article. You bring up two great points: 1) Write enticing headlines, and 2) Stop and actually read the blog entries on sites you drop upon.

In my case, when writing a post I'm satisfied with, I have to always stop myself from posting too quickly. I have to remember to write a killer headline because I know we have only a second or two to grab one's attention. Writing a great post is nothing if you don't get people hooked in.

As for dropping, I religiously drop 300 per day. I don't always read the posts. However, as I'm often dropping on certain cards day-to-day, if I don't read something one day, I might catch it the next.

Regarding commenting, this is where I have the most success in gaining readership. Leaving meaningful comments behind works for me. I notice people on whose blogs I comment (via EC and elsewhere)are the ones who tend to come over and read my blog. Win-win. I enjoy theirs and they come to see me.

Again, great article!

Ravon said...

Haha... your "Stop" sign worked on me. What your article mentioned is true, many people just drop their ec on a blog and never really read those articles. I admit that it takes a good title or picture to catch my attention.

Fennster said...

Hawg,

Couldn't agree with you more!

Matt said...

I have to admit that I, too, only stop if a site or headline catches my attention, because there is only so much time in a day to drop cards, read posts and try to post on my own site. I do notice those who are regulars on my site and I know you have stopped by and posted a couple of times on my site and I should do more to show appreciation to those who take the time to comment, or even just to read my posts. Thank you for being a regular visitor. By the way, the title of this post made me read the article. Good job and good post! Take care. Matt

The Natural State Hawg said...

Fishhawk:

Well, that reminds me -- it's about time for me to blog out a tribute to my rat terrier. It's the only true American breed, you know.

It's a fitting breed for the country, too -- restless, friendly, fearless and quick to leap.

Mine keeps the snakes out of my yard, too...

The Natural State Hawg said...

lawrence:

You flatterer! Thanks for the kind words.

Now, you Vols fans have it made. You folks get upset if your team doesn't finish in the top 10, whereas we've just been happy to make it to a bowl in the past.

Hopefully, our expectations are about to change for the better.

Now, I'm an odd Razorbacks fan in that I don't hate Tennessee and everyone else in the conference.

Well, I hate Ole Miss now for obvious reasons...

The Natural State Hawg said...

webbiestuffs:

Thanks, and that was a true story I left you, too. What I learned was this -- if one is getting divorced, do *not* tell your ex to take whatever property she feels like she's entitled to or you'll wind up with an empty apartment.

Not even a trashcan.

Fortunately, my current wife and I get along just fine...

The Natural State Hawg said...

Theresa:

Ah, another flatterer! I do believe we'll find a lot of Entrecard members who do like to stop and read blogs.

I've decided, of course, to fight the temptation to "drop and run" and join those who are inclined to peruse...

The Natural State Hawg said...

crazy working mom:

I'm working toward the same policy. I'll drop to my inbox, I figure, and maybe catch a site or two above that.

By the way, I'm married to a "crazy working mom." You folks have a lot to say...

The Natural State Hawg said...

lot 2 learn:

And, that's kind of the point, isn't it? I've found a lot of great blogs through Entrecard and I would have blown right by them had I adopted the "drop and run" technique that seems common.

That would have been my loss.

All of the folks blogging that they've discovered methods to reach the max number of drops in a few minutes are missing the point completely...

The Natural State Hawg said...

kathy:

Thanks! And I think I've learned the importance of catchy headlines, too.

Hence the headline of this particular post.

By the way, I've noticed your card in my inbox quite a bit. I do appreciate that!

The Natural State Hawg said...

ravon:

I think I'm learning, more and more, that the headline is, perhaps, the most important thing.

An eye-catching graphic doesn't hurt, either!

The Natural State Hawg said...

fennster:

Yes, the "slow and read" crowd will be taking over. Yeah!

The Natural State Hawg said...

matt:

Well, there's another part of it -- I do try to make it over to the sites of people who comment.

I figure that's what we all want, isn't it? We're all a bit like Bender the robot from Futurama -- "Hey, everybody! Look at me! I want attention!"

gsmiith said...

I think the number of comments on this post show that you are right... But, I admit to dropping a lot, and I also stop a lot, especially when there is an engaging post, like yours. Thanks.

lala said...

wow, look at all the comments you got out of this post.

Yeah, early on I found myself doing that also, stop, drop and roll is what I call it. And I too found the same thing, Entrecarders weren't sticking around.

I have since slowed down and paid more attention. I kind of think that was the biggest reason Entrecard teamed up with SezWho, to encourage people to stop and comment.

I've always been good about commenting on blogs and I find that if I comment, that person will usually return the favor.

Great post, lots of HawgWisdom in them there words.

Da Old Man said...

You make some good points.

One thing I like about entrecard is, ok, I'm a little weird, I like that I get a little gift from bloggers who I like but they don't update very day.

I can check in and pick up my little credit. Plus, I know I'm helping friends, because they get a credit when I drop.
I'm making the blogosphere a little bit better for everyone.

And, it's a numbers game. I may have a lot of power droppers, but if I just get lucky enough to turn just 1 or 2% into regular readers, then I feel like I'm getting something.

And lastly, I like to give away entrecard credits. It makes my readers really happy when I surprise them with a bunch of crtedits. Last week I gave 2 readers 1000 each. It was a surprise for them. Not saying I'll do that every week, but it sure made them happy, and me, too.

The Family of Red Pine Mountain Farm said...

Okay, I admit it, I found your blog through Entrecard and came by cause I was curious about what you were writing. I liked what I found so I'll be back and linger over your posts and, yes, click some of your ads so you get the beer money you deserve. Love your Hawgifesto!
Thanks for a great read.

Sandra Cobb said...

Pretty much agree with you, but... The way I see it is that Entrecard provides us with a "chance" to grab readers - we do that by creating catchy titles to posts.

That's the challenge. Of course, the post must have substance, such as yours do, but your title is what made me stop and read - and comment!

As for dropping, I haven't hit 300 a day yet, and probably won't. I like to read.

The Natural State Hawg said...

gsmiith:

And, I love those comments! Got a couple of ad clicks out of the deal, too.

Not a bad day...

The Natural State Hawg said...

lala:

You've brought up a good point with SezWho (heh, I typed in SexWho at first -- that's funny).

Anyway, I've been thinking about installing that little service. I'll need to do some more research.

How's that working out for you?

The Natural State Hawg said...

da old man:

That's kind of how I've started looking at Entrecard -- if I get a couple of readers out of the deal who like my hickish ramblings, then I feel pretty lucky.

Heh. Maybe I'll be in a position to hand out Entrecard credits one day. Yes, I'll be Baron Hawg at that point!

The Natural State Hawg said...

the family of red pine mountain farm:

Ah, that title just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? "The family of red pine mountain farm. The family of red pine mountain farm."

Oh, uh, anyway, I've found a lot of great blogs through Entrecard. Therein lies the value of the service to me.

The Natural State Hawg said...

sandra cobb:

This, then, has been an exercise. I need to make those compelling, dashing titles to set up my ramblings.

I think I might start using adjectives and verbs in my writing, too. Spice things up a bit...

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

I have to say that I love entrecard in many ways but understand the frustration of those that just drop and run. I have found some of my favorite blogs through entrecard and continue to do so. For me it provides an avenue to find other great bloggers (like YOu)!

Thomas said...

I agree with you, but don't make promises you can't keep and the U Drop/I Drop is one you potentially can't keep because of the 300/day limit.

The Natural State Hawg said...

health nut wannabe mom:

Thanks, and you'll notice I visit your site regularly. I wouldn't have found your site through Entrecard, and that's where the service is really useful, isn't it?

The Natural State Hawg said...

thomas:

That hasn't been a problem so far. Hopefully it won't become one.

I'll just have to wait and see, I suppose...

lala said...

lol...originally, Sezwho seemed to work ok and brought more commenters in...but, the new has worn off, I'm afraid.

it still comes down to take the time to post a comment and the commenters will return the favor in kind.

in other words, like everything thing in life, nothing comes easy.

;-)

myi4u said...

hi new friend,

first of all, thanks for dropping by and commented on my blog.

what you have said in this post is totally true. people just dropping by as fast as possible to drop an entrecard and close the browser immediately. to be honest, i do the same sometimes.

however, during the entrecard dropping process, i am attracted by some blogs and will often stay around browsing and giving comments if i have something to say.

anyway, great ideas about entrecard and your daughter too. i believe that you must be a great father and you daughter will learn a lot of things from you.

have a great day always.

The Natural State Hawg said...

myi4u:

You are right in that I have found a lot of great blogs through Entrecard and I probably wouldn't have run across them otherwise.

I hope my daughter learns some good things from me! I do believe that's the hope of ALL parents, isn't it?

To boost by "parenting cred," I really need to post something about my 11-year-old son, too!

washwords said...

great post. I've been struggling with that myself, trying to balance getting "hits" and traffic and (eventually... maybe.... money) with wanting to keep my blog real and pure and focused and credible. When I see too many flashing, dancing icons i... run. i presume my readers do, too. Anyway like you're blog. I'm blogging about other bloggy tips here

The Natural State Hawg said...

I'll be over to read that! Thanks for stopping in and commenting...