Bloggers are the friendliest people out there. That’s what I’ve learnt from my first 36 hours of blogging. This may not be much experience to go by, but since launching Push Standards yesterday I’ve met more people, and done more networking than with my last website all together. The mindset of a blogger is totally different from many other webmasters who seem intent on going it alone. I’m not saying that regular webmasters are adverse to networking, but that they generally adopt the mentality of ‘I must be the best’.
I’ve noticed this particularly in my move from larger communities to small ones. If you take the example of Sitepoint.com vs say… a brand new (and so far rather small) blogging community such as Blogussion you’ll notice a vast difference. I have nothing against Sitepoint, it’s a fantastic resource and many of it’s members are friendly and helpful. However, there is a definite mentality of users posting because they need something. I’m guilty of this myself, if I need information, or opinions, or traffic or whatever… Sitepoint can provide this. However, where sites such as Blogussion triumph is their personal nature. I know that I won’t get 50 tech-geeks helping me out with a PHP glitch there, but what I do get is far more valuable… Smaller communities allow for valuable networking.
So just what counts as valuable networking?
Valuable networking is long term. It is getting to know people, doing each other favors and working together for mutual benefit. If Sitepoint is a lecture hall, Blogussion is a friendship. Both website’s can teach you invaluable things, but it is the smaller website that ultimately leaves you feeling satisfied and part of a community.
What is great about blogging communities is that everyone works at the same pace as you. I previously thought that I was the only one neurotic enough to check my website stats, emails and blog comments what feels like a million times in a day, but comment on a blogger’s post and they’ll often get back to you within minutes! This is simply fantastic for networking as within a few hours you can give each other valuable feedback, exchange links and create a posting relationship.
If you browse marketing articles for non-blog websites they will tell you to put all your energy into outdoing your competitors, whether it through SEO, content or functionality. However, bloggers seem perfectly happy to help themselves whilst helping others. When I see another bloggers website there is no urge to out do them, but only to post the best content that I’m capable of. I see other blogs as opportunities for link trades, exchanged reviews and possibly even friendships. I do not see them as something to be bettered.
An example of this is Jim Lockwood, webmaster of BloggingStartUp.com - a great resource for blogging which I highly recommend. Jim found my site through a blogging forum and was soon commenting and posting an outstanding review of Push Standards. Subsequently I am linking to his website, not because he asked me to, or because I felt obligated to, but because I like it and wanted to share the resource with my readers. This is a perfect example of how blogging works, it is painless, even enjoyable, but still counts as valuable promotion and networking.
I would love to hear your experiences with blogging and thoughts about this post. Am I being far too optimistic? Let me know.