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5 Ways to Improve MyBlogLog

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007...9:51 am

5 Ways to Improve MyBlogLog


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Don’t get me wrong, I think MyBlogLog is great. I’ve met some cool people on there and without their service this blog wouldn’t have hit the ground running the way it has. But there are some things that frustrate the hell out of me.

  1. The visual design needs a makeover.
    MyBlogLog’s looks betray its underlying usefullness. It seems to me that it grew too big too soon and is still trying to catch up in both its looks as well as its features. A slick web 2.0 interface would really work wonders.
  2. Further integration of blog content.
    As it stands at the moment there are 2 ways people find their way to your blog. They either see that you’ve visited their blog or profile, or they notice you on someone elses, and even then half time they just have a quick look at your profile and don’t bother visiting your blog. Now, how many people actually pay attention to the blog headlines that are hidden in a cramped little corner below the message box? Not many I’d wager. Blog content should be front and centre, like at this MyBlogLog clone. Give people a legitimate reason to visit a blog so they don’t have to just rely on a catchy name and a pretty face.
  3. Sites that aren’t blogs.
    There are so many websites on MyBlogLog that can’t even remotely be called blogs. It’s called My-Blog-Log people, not My-PieceOfCrapEbook-Log. One solution I see for this is to not allow non-blog sites to be added until a legitimate blog has been added first. Make a valid RSS feed a requirement on joining. If you’re really serious about promoting your business on the web you should already have a blog for it anyway.
  4. More profile information.
    When I visit someones profile I should be able to see if they are a member of my community or if they have added me as a contact, without having to dig through some long slow loading list. Just a little icon will do and would be simple enough to implement.
  5. Actual separation of contacts, friends, family, etc.
    Most of us have a pretty long contact list, and obviously most of the people on the list aren’t legitimate contacts. What would be nice is to be able to mark someone in the main contact list so they appear separetly. That way you can have your large contact list but also maintain a smaller list with your legitimate contacts.

What are your feelings about MyBlogLog? Are there any changes you’d like to see?

53 Comments

  • One thing that drives me nuts with MyBlogLog is the loading of the avatars. They are usually 32×32 and then resized via HTML code down to their 16×16 size on some sites.

    Sometimes, depending on net traffic, it takes a while for all those little pictures to load, and here at work I’m on a dual T1 connection. That’s 3MBps up and down!

  • I think there definitely needs to be some kind of ranking system that goes on behind the scenes and takes subject matter into account.

    For example, the “top 50 communities” list on MBL is totally useless because most of those are SEO and marketing blogs. What if I only want to see the top 50 humor blogs or the top 50 art blogs? There’s no way to do it.

  • I totally agree with the point about visual design. Actually, first I had opened a MBL account and wasn’t using it for the messy green colors. But from all the advice of probloggers, I had to start using it again. I did find your blog through it, so; Yes, its very useful. I don’t care if they don’t improve the look, but please don’t deteriorate the quality.
    Also, please tell me how do I install the top commentators widget and the ratings at the end of the post.

  • I guess what MBL needs to do is to allow more interactive options within the community that you are in. Some communities have hundreds of members, and it’s hard to find or keep track of members. Sometimes, I feel like I’m part of the community, but there’s also the feeling that there is nothing much of the community spirit in it. It becomes like any other social networking sites.

  • Sven - plenty of good thought here.

    My addition to your list:
    1) Design - not fussed
    2) I agree absolutely about putting blog content to the fore. Nobody’s going to know what mine is about unless they visit it under the current system.
    3) Valid blog check - yes, must have an RSS feed, and automatically is de-registered if nothing appears on the feed for two months.
    4) Yes
    5) Yes
    Also - I would like to see what communities I am a member of. AND I would like to be able to set up a private community.

    In fact, there loads of ways to improve MBL, but at the same time, thumbs up to the guys for a great first product that’s free.

    Don

  • One more to the 5 list.. Scalability… I mentioned the same in Yodel network before. Chad Dickerson responded that of things will improve on the same. But lot of bloggers still complain about that. Few of them have removed the MBL code from their site too. Ajay reports the here, http://ajaydsouza.com/archives/2007/03/10/new-feed-no-more-mbl-recent-visitors/

    MyBlogLog should really think on this aspect too..

  • Great topic choice here…MyBlogLog truly has become somewhat My-PieceOfCrap-Log…really annoying when you visit someone’s profile only to find they’re promoting some ED drug, porn, or something else not even blog related.

    Any thoughts on how to communicate this to MyBlogLog? Are they even interested in updating their site?

  • I agree with what you said about it needing to be all about “blogs”. I don’t mind sites that try to show you how to do something but please leave out those “buy-my-stuff” sites. Those just get really annoying!

  • Some good points Sevn*

    I think now that MyBlogLog has been bought by Yahoo! U will see a lot more Web2.0 Social Networking features ala Flickr being incorporated*

    One thing that bugs me is if i add someone as a Contact - it then takes me back to my Home page - I wanna be able to go Check their Blog out & find out what they’re all about*

    So the Navigation could be better & as U rightfully pointed out being able to Categorize Contacts & even Delete some would be Handy!!

    ;))

    The other thing they really need is a Central Forum or Groups where stuff can be discussed - or a Message even Promotional - can be showcased to ALL of MyBlogLog’s members*

    again - very Flickr like*

    ;))

    One area I do give Full Props to MyBlogLog is my # of Readers has gone from 100/day to almost 250/day - so i think thass great exposure*

    Also putting a Face to the People who pop by yer Blog is great cuz Comments can be a rarity*

    & yes i DO love ilkeryoldas Nathalie Icon!!!!!

    Cheers Everybody!! Billy ;))

    Peace*

  • I suspect Yahoo will fix a few things but I think the important thing to note is the success MyBlogLog had with the minimalist design and less than aesthetically pleasing presentation.

    Goes to show that great utility works over just “looks” all the time.

  • So far the only updates they’ve done have been to fix security holes. It reminds me alot of del.icio.us. It’s still got a very basic look and it’s features haven’t really been expanded either.

  • Great post. “It’s called My-Blog-Log people, not My-PieceOfCrapEbook-Log.” That’s funny. I think to improve it, just have the profile and blogs belonging to the author on one page instead of multiple pages. Also when you add a comment on mybloglog it would be nice if it just takes you back to where you started so you don’t have to click back all the time.

  • [...] 5 ways to improve MyBloglog by thewrongadvices [...]

  • [...] did he call himself ‘The dot com orphan’ ? But if you want to find out his opinion on 5 ways to improve MBL, please check his site. He was looking for your wrong advices too to make [...]

  • Nice points, particularly number 2. It never occurred to me how useless it was to have recent posts highlighted in the least read part of a web page!

    The other points all make sense too, have you got in touch with MBL? They seem to respond reasonably well to ideas and suggestions, it’s probably worth a go.

  • Phil thats actually a really good idea. I might send them off an email later.

  • As a new member there one of the first things that put me off a little about MyBlogLog were all the sites that definitely aren’t blogs. There needs to be a way for them to be filtered out. Perhaps something as simple as giving users a “Not a blog” link to click on. After so many clicks a site could be reviewed by an administrator who could then decide a site’s fate with MyBlogLog.

  • Yeah MyBlogLog is good and I use it regularly to meet some new people online…But the widget takes a little time to load in the site…

  • Two things I can think of that would help improve MBL.

    One would be to have some interactivity with those in your community (if it’s there, I sure can’t see it).

    The other would be the MyBlogLog team having someone involved in running the site who is (even remotely) interested in dealing with abuse from one MBL member to another. My personal experience of this has been what could only be described as lacking; at worst, it seems they simply don’t care.

    I think they’re far more interested in the Yahoo! deal than they are in their users. Hopefully they’ll prove me wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • I totally share Mike’s opinion. If there is no way to flag all the spammers, MyBlogLog will get spammer’s paradise soon. There are far too many ways to exploit this system to get a few clicks. Make yourself a sexy, animated avatar, click on every newbie and make a comment - a spammer’s wet dream!

  • [...] 5 Ways To Improve MyBlogLog [...]

  • Very, very valid post. Let’s hope someone pays attention.

  • Yes I find a number of good blogs from the avatars but I hate it when it takes you to a crap site. Blog posts SB front and center and clean up of non-blogs are issues they need right away.

  • This article is interesting. I have just become a mybloglog member and what you say rings true for me.

    I particularly agree that blog content should be front and centre. “I do hope that bloggers find a legitimate reason to visit a blog so they don’t have to just rely on a catchy name and a pretty face.”

    The way women have been and continue to be stereotyped based on their looks has been problematic for me. When I was a n00bie at Blogger I foolishly posted a picture of my entire face, as opposed to just the eyes. I revealed where I lived (in a very small community) and I did not use a pseudonym. I unwittingly attracted a stalker. Luckily my neighbours found his questions and manner to be very suspicious and he did not end up on my doorstep. They called the police. Thereafter, I deleted my Blogger blog and began anew blogging under a pseudonym at wordpress.com.

    I have been clicking and clicking over and over to locate blogs and read them while muttering arggghhh! Surely navigation could be addressed in a better way. I agree with your one small icon in regard to accessing more profile information.

    Another reason I have been muttering argggh! for the last two days is the number of the phony baloney blogs I have encountered. Assuming most of us do have real lives and limited time to spend on “sorting”, then some kind of system ought to be implemented to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    I’m inclined to believe a subject index containing the category tags for all blogs would be a useful tool. However, aside from that I haven’t been around long enough to make any other suggestions for improvement.

    The dial on my bullshit meter reaching it’s highest possible level when a 19 year old marketer wanted to teach me how to “monetize” my blog. To be clear I do not look kindly upon sites that have been established for the purpose of selling me stuff. And I detest blogs that are covered with advertising.

    Yes, I do agree that a valid RSS feed ought to be a requirement on joining. You’re either a blogger or you aren’t and real blogs are equipped with feeds.

    I also like Donald Taylor’s idea for automatic de-registration if nothing appears on the feed for two months. But I would narrow that suggested time frame down to 45 days.

    I do not have a long contact list and I’m not likely to develop one. In fact I have entered only a couple of bloggers on spec and I will review that designation as I go along. I’m looking to create and become a part of blogging communities where people actually read and comment. Your blog fits the bill so thanks for reaching out to me.

  • timethief that is a scary story you’ve got there. In light of recent events with Kathy Sierra even more so. People are sometimes very quick to put themselves out in the open on the net and they don’t always realize the consequences. There are some real wackos out there. I’m glad to hear you avoided what could have been a nasty situation.

    You bring up a good point which I completely forgot about. They really need to include categories. As you pointed out navigation is a nightmare at the best of times so finding blogs that relate to your interests is a bit of a lottery. Along the same lines an index sorted by country would also be a great thing to have. I’d really like to connect with more Australian bloggers but at the moment it’s not really possible on MyBlogLog.

  • Thanks for your reply.

    There’s no doubt about it misogyny is prevalent in the blogosphere and what happened to Kathy should be a wake up call but will we hear the phone ringing? I witnessed many presumably young male bloggers claiming the “free speech” banner should fly or this despicable sexual/death threat photo-shopping and wanted to scream.

    I blog at wordpress.com and one of the reasons I really like it is because we can categorize our posts and find bloggers posting on the same subjects quickly and easily. We can also spot the “I made a million” BS marketers, spammers and sploggers and turn them with one click.

    Here’s the url for an Australian blogger whose community I belong to. He writes on IT subjects and is quite humorous IMO. But most of all his post have “meat”. http://angryaussie.wordpress.com/

    I’m swamped at the moment but when I come up for air I can do searches of the wordpress.com tag pages to locate other Australian bloggers. Please email me a brief list of the topical categories you are most interested in and I’ll tackle that when I have the time.

    Happy blogging! TT

  • timethief they can talk about free speech all they want. It stopped being a free speech issue when it crossed into criminal territory. I don’t understand how they can’t see that.

    Thanks for pointing out angry aussie. He is indeed quite funny.

    I know what it’s like being swamped. I’m trying to compress a weeks work into every day and failing miserably. I’ll make a note to email you that list soon.

    Cheers TT.

  • Almost everyone here is right. I’d like to add the possibility to subscribe to the blog’s feed and I’d like a little flag showing which language is spoken on the blog - I really like chinese typography, but I cannot read it.

    Generally speaking: MyBlogLog needs administration. It should be a place for bloggers. If you got no website, if you look for the love of your life, if you want to sell your product: Go and find the right site for you! There are plenty!

  • Oops, I forgot another thing: Dump that ShoeMoney picture from the members page!

  • [...]  Blog Catalog started off as just another boring blog directory, but has recently morphed into a fully fledged competitor to MyBlogLog. The design of Blog Catalog addresses many of the issues I have with MyBlogLog. [...]

  • Mybloglog is chasing users like mad, to the point where it is actually too easy to join. All of your suggestions (bar the much needed redesign) would slow down the registration process, which to my mind would be a good thing, and the results would make for a far more valuable service.
    I think what stops them doing this is simply that they need to be able to quote BIG user numbers.
    And Zep is right, Shoemoney needs to go. I’ve nothing against the guy, but some variation is vital for that page to get any repeat business. It should be a key page for them.

  • Steve slowing down the registration process would be a good idea as long as it does actually deter the junk bloggers. The problem is if they perceive the benefits to be substantial enough I’m guessing they’d gladly jump through those extra hoops to join.

    I just thought of something else. Getting a human to check every blog submitted would be unfeasable but how hard would it be to set up a bot to crawl newly submitted blogs and do a simple check against blacklisted keywords? This wouldn’t be a complete solution but if it could pick out say 10-20% of junk blogs it would be a start.

    Does anyone know what sort of number we are looking at for the amount of blogs registered on MyBlogLog? I’m assuming it’s a pretty ridiculous number.

  • I have thought about the number myself, just short of doing a search. I will let you know if I find anything.

  • I’ve now been waiting since 24 March (and having sent 3 emails) for someone at MBL to reset my password. The site continues to send me email when folk leave comments for me, yet the password reset request page insists that my email address isn’t listed among their accounts.

    Yet another demonstration of the MyBlogLog customer service in action.

  • To Baxter:
    Yes, they are dicey about answering email. I always get an automated response.

  • I’ve never even gotten the automated response from them. I sent them an email about two weeks ago concerning a database error that occurs whenever I try to add the co-author of my blog. No answer. Is the site just sitting there on the server with no one administering it?

  • Boy this Post keeps showing up in my Mailbox everyday*

    ;))

    I sometimes wish they would Increase the # of Contacts + Communities U can add to more than 15*

    Unlike some of yer Hoity Toity Pro Bloggers here - I don’t go thru a Corporate 5 Interview process + Evalutaion to simply do the Nice thing & add people as a Contact - sort of as a Thankyou for at least popping by to check my $B Baloney out* I also find a lot of people don’t add me as a contact until i’ve added them First*

    ;))

    That said U will soon find there is a Wealth of great Blogs on here & almost impossible to keep up with everyone*

    I hit a Milestone yesterday of 400 “Unique” Visitors + over 500 Page Views - so if nothing else MyBlogLog is definitely Helping attract some Eyeballs*

    Cheers Everybody! Billy ;))

    Peace*

  • To Dan:

    Here is the email answer I received from Robyn Tippins at MyBlogLog re:
    Number of members. Looks to be 100K+

    “To get an up-to-the-minute idea of how many members MyBlogLog has, you can always go to Eric’s page as he is added to everyone and only a handful remove him from their friends list.

    mybloglog.com/buzz/members/Eric/”

  • Very interesting post and comment thread. Robyn Tippins is one of the moderators with me on LinkedIn Bloggers and I was so pleased when she took the job of coordinating the community side of things at MBL. Very savvy, great sense of humour, and I’m absolutely sure she will be listening to the community and in there pitching for improvements.

  • Des - Robyn seems like a very nice and capable person. I really do hope she can make an impact over there and kickstart some improvements to the service.

  • BlogCatalog faces similar challenges to MBL however up front we are doing a number of things differently.

    Our vision of what BlogCatalog is differs in one main area. MBL allows anyone to join neighborhoods and part of their vision is that MBL is a community where bloggers and blog readers can connect on equal footing.

    BlogCatalog is designed to be a community of bloggers and for bloggers. If you don’t have a blog you don’t get to be a member of BlogCatalog.

    A second difference is we hand review each blog.
    BlogCatalog has a bunch of spammy blogs from its past life (before we purchased it in January) that we are cleaning out. We have set the bar fairly high for new blog approval.

    These 2 differences are designed to create a vibrant community of bloggers.

    At the moment traffic and membership is a tiny fraction of MBL so it isn’t a fair comparison to say BlogCatalog has less spam than MBL or does things better.

    Once we reach a similar size to MBL, at that point it will be interesting to see whether we can effectively control message and neighborhood spam.

  • Dan,
    Looks like this thread is getting noticed by MBL and also BlogCatalog.

    Just to confirm, I did get an email response from MBL (it took a day or two).

    I also wanted to comment that I have noticed more spam sites since you brought this up at the end of March.

  • What if MBL added some StumbleUpon features? You could stubmle through high ranked MBL users or select a topic and find new blogs that way?

    The two main areas of MBL that I would like to see improved are increased visibility of content(blog posts) and improved navigation.

  • Mike - It’s an interesting idea. If their was a well designed voting system it could work. They’d have to clear out a heap of those junk blogs first though.

  • I mentioned MyBlogLog in my “rambling” post early today. As I said in my post, MyBlogLog is my current favorite networking site now. In the first place, that was how I learned about this great blog and other interesting blogs in the various communities in MyBlogLog.

    That’s not to say I don’t have problems with MyBlogLog. My first problem is navigation. I’m not a technical guy so I cannot elaborate on this, but I guess some of the members there can relate to what I’m saying. Navigation can stand improvement and can be refined to make it more seamless.

    The point that I have repeatedly read in the earlier comments to this post merits another mention–blog content. I wish there was a way, other than an actual visit to a blog, for a member to be able to size up content on a prospective site (to save on wasted time and to make surfing more productive).

    Right now, when I surf, my initial impression on a blog’s content (rightly or wrongly) is the size of a blogging community (the number of members who joined). This is a very poor proxy indicator, as I have discovered for myself. I go for original content. I want a blogger’s own analysis or position on issues that interest me–not just a repetition of somebody else’s point of view because if that’s the case, I might just as well go to the original source. I am capable of forming my own opinion on any issue anyway.

  • I have to agree with you on the look of mybloglog, it is in need of a serious makeover. I would have probably skipped over it if I hadn’t heard of it on another site.

  • I wonder if they ever will do a new design. The graphics really are pretty bad.

  • I think they should get rid of the color scheme. That light green is nasty.

  • And it has integrated with yahoo! I don’t want to share my profiles! Yahoo is a different thing for me! These two doesn’t just mix!

    http://www.writinerary.com

  • I loved mybloglog until they made me get a Yahoo Account in order to even participate. That was the end of it for me. I know its small, but I don’t want to have eight different login’s for every community that I take part in.

  • They did change the color scheme to red one day, and it looked really weird. I think they should just keep it the same as before. It’s back to the green now.

  • The colors could use some work, and for better sidebar widgets.

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