Blogged.com first went live in late February with more than 200,000 blogs in its database; that’s a very respectable number. It divides these blogs up into more than 100 different categories, which should help any eager blog reader find their favorite subject. To guide readers in choosing the right blog, rather than just listing everything in a particular category with relatively little information, it rates blogs on a scale of one to 10 and provides an overview of each blog.
Blog writers will be interested to hear that this quality rating is not based on the blog’s traffic. The company has 10 full-time editors which rate blogs based on frequency, design, writing style, and relevance to the particular topic. In fact, it’s the importance of relevance that sets Blogged.com apart from other blog search engines. For example, if you searched for “Clay Aiken” in Google’s blog search engine, you’d find blog entries that reference the former American Idol icon. If you performed the same search with Blogged.com, you’d find entire blogs whose main focus is on the singer (scary as that might sound).
But it’s not just Blogged.com’s employees who rank the blogs. Visitors can rank them as well. In fact, the site features some interesting social network aspects. Rather than simply searching the site, you can create a “profile dashboard” where you can share information about yourself, put up your reviews for all to see, keep track of your friends and your favorite blogs, and communicate with other members of the community through your own mailbox.
“Blogged.com allows people to discover new blogs and provide feedback on the blogs they care about,” said Kenneth Yeh, co-founder of Blogged.com. “As the number of blogs increases on the Internet, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish and identify the best blogs. We are excited to offer users a fast, easy way to discover high quality content in the ever evolving blogosphere without spending a lot of effort.” So let’s take a look at Blogged.com in action.
At first glance, Blogged.com’s home page looks a little crowded, but everything quickly falls into place. At the top in the middle, there is a search box; to the right of this is the inevitable Signup/Login link. Most of the rest of the page is taken up with blog categories, featured bloggers, links that let you browse blogs by topic, and hot blogs. Here’s a screen shot; it doesn’t quite capture everything, but it should give you some idea of what I mean:
Do you see that green rectangle near the top right? It lets you submit a blog. That’s worth keeping in mind if you have a blog of your own, and I plan to come back to that. But first, let’s start searching.
I’ll refrain from my usual craft-related searches; I bet you’re all curious to see how this blog search engine does when given a topic like, oh, search engine optimization, right? Let’s give it a try.
Okay, I know the screen shot doesn’t really do this view justice, so I’ll have to fill in the picture with words. Right at the top, you see that this listing shows you 1-20 of 323 hits. Near the top on the left, you’re told that these listings are sorted by rating (with the highest at the top, of course); you could also sort by relevance if you choose. The first one listed is the Search Engine Watch blog; no real surprise there. On the left you see a thumbnail of the site’s home page. Just below the name of the blog you get a couple of sentences that sum it up, with the keywords you searched for in bold. Right below that is the site’s URL.
But it’s the links below the URL that I think would be most useful to anyone searching for blogs on a particular topic. The first one links you to the category under which Blogged.com files the site. Follow that link and you’ll get to check out lots of other blogs on the same topic. The line under that is for the tags that have been associated with the blog.
A click on the category – “SEO & Site Optimization” in this case – gave me a different list. It’s longer, with a different site at the top. Oh by the way, I also discovered why there’s a separate entry for each blog’s actual URL. When you click on something you think might lead to the blog itself, you get an overview of the blog. I’ll tell you more about that in the next section.
Here’s a screen shot of Blogged.com’s overview of John Battelle’s Searchblog. Once again, I couldn’t quite fit everything.
In addition to what you find out about the blog from a look at its listing on the search page, you learn that Battelle’s 9.8 rating is based on editor reviews; he hasn’t received enough reviews from Blogged.com visitors yet. You can also browse related blogs, look at three recent posts from Battelle’s blog, and subscribe to an RSS feed of his blog. If you want to submit a review of Battelle’s blog, you can do it from this overview. Clicking on the review link brings up a text box in which to enter your review, and a sliding scale that you can use to give the blog a rating. Incidentally, this overview page is set up to show comments and reviews of the blog, but no one has given Battelle any review love yet.
The registration process seems to hold no surprises; Blogged.com asks for your first and last name and your email address; you also must agree to the site’s terms and conditions. Blogged.com sends an email to verify that you registered. Well, I’m in a hurry writing this, so my account wasn’t verified by the time I took a screen shot of my profile dashboard. The verification came through fairly quickly, though. Here’s the screen shot:
The dashboard features tabs for friends, favorites, shared blogs (blogs and posts your friends wish to share with you), reviews, comments, and of course the inevitable inbox for communication between members. You can add a location and even link to your own blog.
That reminds me: I promised that I’d tell you how to submit a blog to Blogged.com. It’s pretty simple. Here’s a screen shot of what you get when you click on the link to submit a blog:
As you can see, you only need to supply the blog title, URL, primary and secondary categories from drop-down menus, six tags, and a blog description. You’re limited to 255 characters in the blog description space. A contact email address is optional. Incidentally, those drop-down menus are huge, so you should have no trouble finding something that fits your blog.
There’s no advertising on Blogged.com yet. I’m sure there will be, and reasonably soon; the site is attracting about 10,000 unique visitors every day. Blogged.com co-founder Gladys Kong said that her team is still looking for the right ad network with which to partner. “Our immediate goal is providing usefulness to consumers,” she noted.
Indeed, it’s very useful to have blogs rated on more than just the size of their audience. Gavin O’Malley, writing for Media Post Publications, noted that Blogged.com’s rating system could give bloggers a boost in the eyes of advertisers who look only at traffic. A little blog with quality writing just might get noticed here.
I really like Blogged.com’s simplicity. It manages to give you all the information you need without overwhelming you or feeling too crowded. I hope they can keep things simple and integrate advertising successfully without upsetting their users, something that a number of the larger social sites have found challenging. Perhaps the fact that this site is really a hybrid, with its main focus on connecting readers with bloggers, will help with that. In any case, I wish the crew at Blogged.com great success; they seem to be off to a good start.