There seems to be a new widget thingie popping up every week and you see a bunch of sites writing on them. Now most of these sites are “news” sites like Techcrunch or Mashable and they pretty much echo what is in the press releases but most of the time they never actually USE them or report later how they worked. I thought I would share my thoughts on the latest/greatest widgets, how much traffic they bring in, what was required to get that traffic and what value of that traffic cost me. All screen shots are from the last 7 days of traffic from Google Analytics.
Pages per visit: 3.19
Average Time On Site 4 min 21 seconds
New Users To Shoemoney.com : 44.36%
Bounce Rate: 50.30%
General: BlogRush’s creator, John Reese, is one of the key people you pray wright about your new product when you launch it. He has a VERY loyal following and one of the best converting email lists of any I have ever seen. When John told me about BlogRush I knew it was going to be big. The guy does not know how to fail and will adapt and adjust to make a successful product. Now you can hardly find a blog anywhere without doing it. I talked to John recently and he was talking about how they have so many new things coming and how excited he is with the growth.
How does it work: You display the BlogRush widget on your blog and in turn earn credits to have your headlines displayed on other peoples widgets throughout the network. The more you have the more often your headlines are displayed.
Cost: No cost is involved. You just need to display the widget on your page.
Wish list: I wish blogrush would take into account CTR and not just overall traffic for people displaying blogs. This way people cant hide them in divs or bury them on the page. I wish blogrush had some sort of ranking system on what articles are getting the most clicks (like a whats hot). I love blogrush’s statistics but I wish there was a way to see your history of titles and which ones got the most traffic/clicks.
Pages per visit: 2.18
Average Time On Site 1 min 32 seconds
New Users To Shoemoney.com : 14.38%
Bounce Rate: 70.57%
General: BumpZee was the first niche digg like network for affiliate marketing. It has since expanded to many other niches.
How does it work: You can submit your site urls manually or the site can automatically include each of your posts if you become an authority for your niche.
Cost: No cost is involved.
Wish list: Scott Jangro has done a great job with BumpZee. I wish people could bump your site without having to leave your site. Also the interface seems hard to navigate for new users. When it first launched it was really simple. I just would like to see it go back to being simple.
EDIT: I removed the bumpzee widget months ago when my blog would hang while waiting for it to load. I re added it this morning and the blog still hangs really bad trying to load it… sometimes as bad as 15-20 seconds =( So I have removed it again. Unfortunatly this is the risk you run with widgets that they can hang your blog (maybe i will put it in a iframe)
Pages per visit: 2.59
Average Time On Site 4 min 34 seconds
New Users To Shoemoney.com : 37.14%
Bounce Rate: 52.91%
General: Mybloglog first started to make a impact in the blogosphere about a year ago. It picked up steam pretty fast and was purchased by Yahoo! earlier this year for 10 Million dollars.
How does it work: You display the widget on your site and it displays the avatars of people who visit your site. In return when you visit a site it shows your avatar.
Cost: No cost is involved.
Wish list: Mybloglog continues to have serious spam issues. I would like to be able to moderate the comments on my community site or have them atleast implement some spam prevention features.
Pages per visit: 1.25
Average Time On Site: 21 seconds
New Users To Shoemoney.com : 0.0%
Bounce Rate: 87.50%
General: This is Jim Krukral’s latest project. Its still in its very early stages. It was hard to find sites that actually are running the widget (even though a lot of people talked about it).
How does it work: Scratchback is similar to Blogrush except you have to pay to site owner to get your link on there widget. These are treated like a tip and the site owner can keep the money and has no obligation to put your link on there widget (ya i know confusing). I inquired more about it with Jim and he said this is more of a fun widget and not a real way for users to monetize there site(s). From the site:
ScratchBack is an online “tipping” system. It allows you, the publisher, to accept tips and “give back” links* or images* in return.
Cost: I paid $25 for 5 sites but only 1 site actually displayed my link and that site took down the widget after 7 days. So I paid 25$ for a nofollow link for 7 days which brought 8 hits.
Wish list: I think its a good looking widget that has a lot of potential. While its low risk to make something that is “fun” not many people are going to take it seriously. I saw many people write about scratchback but they did not run it themself. This is always raises a red flag for me. (maybe paid reviews? ). Anyway I would like to see it more as a paid link (screw the tipping aspect).
Pages per visit: 1.82
Average Time On Site: 1 min 41 seconds
New Users To Shoemoney.com : 46.06%
Bounce Rate: 87.50%
General: The GodFather of Search, Danny Sullivan came up with Sphinn. Sphinn is a SEO/SEM niche like digg system that has become very popular.
How does it work: You submit your url and people sphinn it or not 😉
Cost: No cost involved.
Wish list: I think Sphinn rocks. I kind of have the same wish as bumpzee. I would like for people to be able to sphinn without leaving my site.
Shoemoney Final Thoughts
So depending on your goal(s) some of these might be better then others. For this blog the goal of getting new users that stay around obviously blogrush is by far the best. But it does come at a price. Displaying the widget where I could otherwise put advertising has its costs. The free traffic from Sphinn, Mybloglog, and Bumpzee is just awesome anyway you slice it. I have re-enabled Bumpzee and Sphinn on a post level and it will be interesting to see if it increases visitors. Scratchback is in a different class. While its return on investment might seem poor its important to keep in mind that its a tipping “giving back” to to authors of the sites. I have communicated to its founder my thoughts about it… and I think out of the 25 sites that wrote about it only 2 are still running it. I think it could work but there has to be some big changes for scratchback otherwise it will end up like many other of Jims projects which are “fun” but not really practical.