December 5, 2013

Should I submit to blog directories?

We got an email this week, reading like this: I have a blog where I am putting everything that I like, mostly music, children and travel, to different places within my state. Can you advise if I should submit my blog to directories. My friend suggested four good ones and I checked them and they are fine. Are Indian directories OK?

We replied to the lady by email, and then thought we need to expand the subject and write a post on ITB.


WHY SHOULD I SUBMIT MY BLOG TO DIRECTORIES?

  • Of course you want to be discovered by others. This is more significant (i) if your blog is on a particular subject and (ii) if you want to make money out of it. For example, a blog on a research topic, photography, cooking...
  • You want traffic. All bloggers want traffic unless someone wants to keep the blog hidden for a purpose.


PLACES ON THE WEB, WHICH TAKE SUBMISSIONS

There are a number of places where you can submit your blog. For example
  • Website directories and blog directories. Some accept free submission while some others ask for payment. Some want you to put a badge, link or hidden code on your blog before they accept submission. Some are alphabetical, some have blogs / websites categoriSed. There are directories devoted to websites and blogs of a particular region or country, a language, a community or a theme.
  • Ranking websites. Such websites rank blogs according to various parameters; ranking can be manual or automatic.
  • Feed aggregators. Such websites not only list blogs, they automatically update the listing with the latest content by way of feed from blogs.
  • Community portals and forums. You register and become member of the community. You are allowed to cross-link your blog.
  • Social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.  
  • Linking based communities and link farms. Some websites register you and place your blog on their listings. You are encouraged to refer to members' sites, visit their blogs / websites, give them marks etc to get rewards in the form of better ranking etc. Often you are asked to pay to get higher rewards or higher placement in listings.
  • Pinging sites. When you 'ping' your post, the pinging site broadcasts it to many directories, search engines and feed aggregators.
  • Search engines. Many search engines accept site submissions. Some ask for money and some do it free. Big ones such as Google say, they crawl all webspaces regularly and one need not submit to them.
This is a representative, not exhaustive, list of places where you can submit your blog.


WHICH SUBMISSION SITES ARE OK?

The web world has become so efficient, and it will keep becoming so, that you hardly need to submit your blog to any of the numerous submission sites. Yet, it does help in many ways if you submit your blog to

  • highly acclaimed directories such as dmoz and technorati
  • top search engines such as Yahoo!, Bing and Google
  • top directories for your type of blog [e.g. lists or directories maintained by research institutes]
  • top directories and aggregators in your language and region / country
  • only highly reputed trade directories / community listings 
You need not submit your blog to directories that list and rank blogs based on an automatic algorithm. They are supposed to discover you themselves if you meet their criteria.

As mentioned above, Google and other big search engines do not require submission, but might discover you faster if you submit.

Many reputed but small directories such as IndianTopBlogs [this one is only for Indian blogs; pardon us for giving our own example here] do not ask for submission but it helps them to notice you if you submit.


WHAT'S WRONG IF I SUBMIT TO ALL DIRECTORIES, PING SERVICES AND LINK FARMS?

If there are good guys on the web, there are a large number of bad guys. Some are patently harmful - they are banned or despised by reputed search engines and being in their sites harms your blog's reputation. These include many link-farms. Some ask you to pay but don't give any value or traffic to your blog. Some ask you to put a code on the blog, and the code is malicious or it steals your private information. Some pinging services may be taken as too much pushy and spammy by search engines. Some link-exchange sites are not harmful but indiscreet in accepting membership, so if you link with an unethical member, your blog loses to that extent.

We have found that at least one very popular Hindi blog aggregator has malicious content that it distributes to all blogs that carry its badge. 

We have also noticed that many blogs have numerous badges of blogging directories, ranking sites, communities, competition sites etc. Even if all such badges in a blog are harmless, these clutter the blog and slow it down.  

It is therefore necessary that you submit your blog only to very reliable directories etc and not to too many of them.