Getting the Best Out of Entrecard: 5 Benefits I Reaped Beyond Hits or Ads


Photography: Mshades

Entrecard is one of the most unusual ideas in site promotion around. A kind of free advertising, you gain credits to advertise by visiting sites and dropping your card on their Entrecard widget, as well as from other people’s drops on your own widget.

But after a while, for some the Entrecard experience becomes hollow. Some see visiting sites as a chore, while others see Entrecard as advertising that doesn’t pay them hard cash.

I used to feel that way, until I realized that there was another way to look at Entrecard. For me, that made all the difference in the world.

So here’s my Entrecard journey and five benefits I continue to reap from it—and which you can, too.

My Way of Entrecard

All of these are based off of one maxim:

Entrecard is a social networking system.

For me, this was the key to understanding everything else: how Entrecard works on a philosophical level, why it works, and what it does for its participants.

Benefit #1: A sampling of sites in my niche.

Sd’s broad category is “Writing and Literature”. I am a writer, after all, even if it’s currently of technical specs and non-fiction blog articles; I also think deep thoughts about fiction, one of my lofty goals in life.

Did you know there are over 100 sites in this category alone on Entrecard, and 40 million writing sites that Google turns up? It’s a huge niche, and easy to get lost in.

So how do I make Sd unique? I asked myself.

In order to answer that question, I had to see for myself what those other sites were. What are they like? What do they talk about?

Entrecard provides a mere sampling of writing sites out of the 40 million others out there, but it’s a sampling nonetheless—and more importantly, a sampling of active blogs.

Benefit #2: Viewing sites in my niche regularly.

To get credits to advertise, I had to visit other sites on Entrecard. At first I only visited sites in my own category. And like any other beginning Entrecarder, I engaged in “stop, drop and go”—being efficient, rather than thorough.

After a while, I got bored of doing this, like many Entrecarders do.

When I get bored, I start to read.

And so I began to read the first entry of the sites I visited. Sometimes I found entries I ended up reading in more depth, thinking about them and even commenting. These were anything from personal entries of glee or despair to musings on writing and/or fiction.

And so my learning about my niche went deeper. Strange results sometimes came of my new reading; for instance, I learned about Clarkesworld Magazine, one of the last reserves of truly weird and distinguished short fiction. And my opinion on one person changed nearly completely, which I had never expected.

Benefit #3: Exploring sites outside my niche.

When I started getting ad requests from other Entrecarders, sometimes they came from bizarre categories, or so I thought at the time: marketing, art, personal diaries, gaming. Who are these people? I wondered.

At long last, I began to find out, stretching my definition of “interesting” as I read their sites.

As a writer, it behooves one to familiarize oneself with as many different subjects as possible. I suppose this applies to any art, but I think to writing especially; we rely on words and atmosphere so much, even in fiction, even in non-fiction. Learning about people is most important of all.

On my explorations outside my niche, I reaped even odder rewards. Sometimes I discovered music I really liked that I never heard of before. I became interested in reading about mothers struggling with raising kids (something I know very little about, from either the mother or the kid side). I read travelogues, both from people visiting other places, and from people visiting the US.

I also found a site that photoshopped cats onto movie posters. How weird is that?

Benefit #4: Familiarizing myself with other sites.

After a couple months of Entrecard, and especially once I started to become more active, I began to recognize sites by their card alone.

When you’re just browsing the web, you usually become attached to only a few sites. Most of the time, it’s like visiting strangers; maybe you do it a couple times, at most. But with Entrecard, it was more like seeing people you meet on the street regularly.

I got to know these sites: their ways, their looks, about the bloggers behind them. My regular visits, encouraged by Entrecard credits, meant that I didn’t have to add them to my ever-growing monster list of RSS feeds—I simply visited everyday, sometimes commenting, sometimes content to just see how they were doing.

For someone who is as shy in real life as myself, this is a blessing.

I only began to engage in other networking sites, like StumbleUpon or Twitter, after I had experienced Entrecard. In other words, Entrecard taught me about networking and encouraged me to do it more often.

In return, people became familiar with me, stopping by regularly—and, as I learned from comments on particularly good articles, actually reading.

After all, networking is composed of reciprocal actions.

Benefit #5: Learning to blog with confidence.

Once I became a regular Entrecarder, I got many return drops. I knew from my own experience that some would be simply stop-drop-and-go folks. I hold no grudge against that; sometimes that’s just the way things are.

But now I had an audience I knew and could target, even if it was one that might not have that much time on their hands every visit. So often when you’re blogging, you know—there are so many site metrics scripts these days to let you know—you know that there’s no one there. You just see a trickle of random IPs and the occasional Google hit.

With Entrecard, you can have people everyday—and you aren’t forcing them to come.

Now I knew better how to be relevant and unique, or at least different, and with this extra encouragement, my own writing on Sd started to loosen up, yet at the same time become more well-formed.

I now had a vision for what I wanted this site to become, and started working towards it.

And then…

I got Stumbled several times last week. And it was awesome; something like 700 extra hits flowed through. I’m grateful to each and every Stumbler, and especially grateful for those who discovered my pages.

I don’t know if such great Stumbling will ever happen again, but I can but hope—and in the meantime, I’ll just blog the best I can.

You may have noticed…

That I’ve so far said nothing about getting my own ads out there. In fact, I haven’t submitted one advertisement for months, and not due to a lack of credits nor a lack of value. I simply pledged to not buy an ad until I figured out Sd’s vision. Now that I have, I’ll probably start buying them again.

Notice also that when I mentioned more hits to my site, I didn’t just think about the numbers, but also about who was coming over.

One last item: I’m not a power-dropper. These days I visit sites manually and intentionally. When I see an Entrecard ad, I’m more likely to click through it to see who’s on the other end, and find more sites to drop cards on. If anything, I’m a networking-dropper.

In the end

Entrecard has done a lot for me. And yes, this did mean that I had to do certain things that take a bite out of my time, and time is precious, blah blah. But these were things I needed to do, things that made me a better blogger.

Of course, this is just my way. Other people have their own ways, and have been as satisfied—in some ways, more successful. And success is, as always, in the eye of the beholder.

Yet I am content.

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61 thoughts on “Getting the Best Out of Entrecard: 5 Benefits I Reaped Beyond Hits or Ads

  1. Wow. After reading this & knowing that you stopped by and commented on my blog ON PURPOSE, I am flattered. :-)

    My next post will probably me something stupid, so I’m glad you came when you did. :-)

  2. Hey, Angelika!

    Yep. It’s far more rewarding than just dropping off a card. I actually do read a lot of blog entries daily, although this would change if everyone updated every single day. ;)

  3. I’m on Entrecard about 3 weeks and I’m learning lots. Especially from visiting blogs (like yours) and reading stuff I’d never, EVER have found without entrecard. Good post, I would most certainly agree with Benefits 2 and 3 :)

  4. I clicked through here a few times. But I started reading your blog just recently, after I added my second blog, Word Grrls. I’ve read three of your posts fully and I think I’ve commented before now. I like what you have to say and you have a unique outlook. You’re not posting the same tired old topics about writing over and over, which is a great change. Glad to have found your blog through Entrecard.

  5. Hi Deb and Laura, thanks very much for stopping by and commenting. :) I’m glad you like my articles!

    Where writing is concerned, I have rarely been one for following crowds. I like to strike out on my own, but at the same time, writing something that people like. It’s a fine line at times. Took me a lot of practice and observation to get my head a little clearer on what was around already.

  6. I have been reading your blog for awhile. I do read this one and several others in our category. And some sadly, I just return the drop. by the way I read your flash fiction n fantasy and it really helped me out with the writing project I am doing. fantasy is hard for me since I read very little and I think all fantasy has talking animals, wizards, dragons and unicorns. Now I know differently.

  7. I just wanted to say excellent writing. I absolutely agree with all that you say about entrecard. I actually stumbled upon your blog and again via entrecard.

  8. Yay for Entrecard and discoveries!
    I’m actually jealous of how clear a vision you seem to have for this blog as my own is very much a mixed bag even if it is all reading- and writing-related. Seeing how you and other bloggers produce very particular posts about things is encouraging me to start doing the same thing.

  9. Good write up! :D

    Dropping EntreCards alone and not networking with others sincerely is not enough.

    It seems that many fail to realize this and just carry on dropping EntreCards without even wanting to network with others sincerely.

    EntreCard is best used as a networking + advertising tool.

  10. Jenn, no worries about just the drop. I always figure, “one of those visits I’ll get ’em”. :)

    I’m glad my fiction helps you out on the writing of fantasy and stuff. My suggestion is to visit the AbsoluteWrite forums, where you can learn much more. My other suggestion is also read a lot more. Writers get better, the more they read, and plus it’s fun. :)

    Charles, thank you! Heh, from both SU and Entrecard? Awesome!

    Catherine, the vision, she is not so clear sometimes. It took me a while to get to this point. If you want some amusement, look deep back into my archives. Here’s a looking-back post on the first 3 months of this blog. And then it took some months after that to get more of a clue. :)

    (This blog is not yet 6 months old, but will be April 10th.)

    So no worries! Take time and blog and think. Eventually it will come. Plus, there are non-focused blogs out there that get a lot more hits.

    I have hit upon a vision, but I don’t think it’s quite so strong yet. But better than it was in January.

    Deimos, thank you! Yes, it’s the combination with advertising that causes some people to treat it like traditional advertising—which, due to Entrecard’s credit system, doesn’t work so well.

  11. I was surprised that I found so many good blogs through Entrecard and people actually commented on my blog, too. I always try to drop back on whoever dropped on me and I am getting a pretty regular set of blogs that I read and visit. When people don’t write new content I just drop and leave, but when there is a new post I always have time to read it quickly. I think I really like Entrecard!

  12. I have reaped the same benefits as you have since joining Entrecard. I probably spend way too much time both visiting (and commenting) on other blogs and reading the EC forum.

    This post of yours belongs on the EC blog and I’m going to recommend to Graham that he ask you to write a version for the EC blog. That’s where newcomers to EC go to see how it works. What you’ve written here is what I perceive to be Graham and Phirate’s vision of EC and it’s goals.

    Congratulations on discovering this invaluable tool and unearthing it’s true golden reward!

    ê¿ê

  13. Am indeed humbled by your post. Come to think of it, like you, I am introduced to an entire world through EntreCard. Blogs, forums, rating systems and made some friends along the way.

    Will I carry on to drop cards? You bet. But will definitely slow down and get read through the posts.

    Thanks to Margaret for pointing me to this post. Cheers!

  14. This is a beautifully written article and Hey you are famous I found the link to it on the Entrcard forums. Entrecard is excellent and best of all it’s free!

  15. this is probably the best post I have read about EC so far! You are pointing out some good things about ec and in the sea of posts on receiving crappy traffic from it, it is really nice to see somebody who is actually stopping to think on how to use the system in order to improve, Great!

  16. Very well said! I’m just an entrecard newbie but I’ve found it to be very interesting and not just a way to increase traffic!

  17. Hi A.J,

    I recently signed up for Entrecard. It was hard for me to understand the concept at first also. But I jumped in there like a pro.

    I too want to become a writer.

    Eric

  18. “it was more like seeing people you meet on the street regularly.”

    I like this one :)

    Honestly I find some really interesting blogs through Entrecard, dropping is addictive yeah but once you see an interesting post like this, you’re not going to stop to see more good blogs to read :)

  19. Damn that was some real good reading I couldn’t agree more.Thanks for articulating what I was thinking,so well.I’m new to entrecard and so far as a new blogger It’s been good to me.Take it easy all :)

  20. Awesome article. I am the webmistress supporting a writer on a new blog. I am going to recommend he read this. He’s confused about all the blog linking and not sure how or why he should do it. You speak his language. Thank you!

  21. I have several blogs on the Entrecard system but I have always tried your view. I like to bookmark sites that interest me and those are the sites I’m likely to drop on daily esp. if they post often.

    btw, thanks for the drop on my shireen2007.blogging4life.com blog

  22. Awesome dude!! You just seem to have gone thru the phase I’m going thru now!! and that s y i read ur blog … lolz!! nice writing

  23. I appreciate what you wrote. It enlightened me. Yes, the entrecard indeed a society composed of real people. I will remember your pointers as I go along as I am new to all these -blogging and entrecard. Happy blogging.

  24. I am a newbie who has found you and your experience. I think I have a simple question, but can’t find where to ask it…so here you are!

    [I’m clipping out probably sensitive information here. — AJ]

  25. Thanks for your post when I see something about Entrecard I usually stop to read it because I’m trying to get the right perspective and I really like all the traffic that is generated and people have been very nice about leaving comments. I have even started leaving more myself since using this unique social system. Take care

  26. Great post! I enjoyed the list. True, it takes a little while to get into a groove with it, but I also like reading what other people have to say. And I typically come back out of interest to see what they are saying.

  27. Excellent, excellent, excellent!!!

    Couldn’t agree more with your observations or discoveries and how they come about. No doubt equally as shy as you, I find this patform incredibly inviting. The ease of getting to know others from their posts and bio’s. I sit and share with my wife and I’m sure one day she too will jump on board and share her muses. I just hope she keeps me out of them.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Art

  28. This was a fantastic post! You were right on with everything. I have only been with entrecard for less than a month and I have already been experiencing so many of the things you talked about. Entrecard has definitely been a great experience so far. In my opinion it is one of the best social network out there. It is easy, it has tripled my traffic and everyday I find more and more wonderful site to frequent.

    I am so glad you drop your card I will be be back often.

  29. Thank you all very kindly! I see that this article is now part of EntreCard’s library of links, which is excellent.

    I just got part of my life back (and thus the blogging can start up again), so I only just now have been seeing some of the changes to the EntreCard ranking and pricing systems. As I think these changes support some of the tenets I present here, I like them very much.

    EntreCard is a great system. I’m glad i joined in. And I will be going back to dropping cards every morning.

    Now… back to multiple WordPress upgrades.

  30. I could not agree more. The most important thing about the Entrecard for me is, just like you’ve said – that’s a live community of active blogs, and that’s making a huge difference. I had seen a few months ago a lot of disbelief about it, but I am glad that it had proved wrong, EC is growing and I am glad to be part of it.

  31. Hello Jasko,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I remember that times as well—I did some looking around at the time and saw all the downers on Entrecard, and decided to write an upper—and the funny thing was that about a few weeks into Entrecard I would have agreed with them. But eventually I figured it all out—or at least, figured a way that it worked for me.

    I too am happy that EC is working through its growing pains. You never know quite how people will react sometimes. Hopefully expectations have been better set now.

  32. This was a really helpful article, it’s nice to see that Entrecard can be used for a good reason, and as I’ve just really only started using it myself, I will be more thoughtful with my dropping.

    I do know when I read the category I signed my blog up to I tend to hit on people who’s ad I find interesting, so it sounds like a good rule to follow.

  33. Hello Meg, and welcome to EntreCard!

    It’s nice to build up a list of EntreCard blogs that you can visit regularly and enjoy doing so. I find that I am best at an irregular schedule of drops—e.g., I visit something like 100 different sites throughout the week, but not all in one day.

    Leaves me time for blogging. ;)

  34. Yeah, mate, keep up the good work. I’m also enjoying this refreshing experience on the web. Content generation makes sense again. Hopefully this brings more quality and meaning instead of targeting high paying words, rankings, and other marketing metrics.
    Cheers

  35. Thanks, Alen. I like some of the directions EC has gone in (paying credits for blogging entries, for instance, keeps the stale blogs down; and they crack down on folks trying to “game” the system).

    EC is a nice way to start when you’re just beginning a blog.

  36. It’s not there. Still busy re-inventing the blog and figuring out where it will slot into the EntreCard world, because it sure isn’t a blog about blogging anymore. (Or writing, for that matter.)

    For people who do know where they belong and have the time for EntreCard, it’s a wonderful opportunity for brand new blogs.

  37. I don’t have the widget anymore — maybe one day I’ll figure out what this site is really about. :)

    EntreCard was pretty invaluable when I started out, and I know power users still get a lot of traffic and social networking out of it; it’s just not how I work at the moment.

    (How do I work at the moment? Still trying to figure that one out, too.)

    Good luck on the long blogging road!

  38. My sentiments exactly, I have not only increased my traffic but had fun doing it. I do think you can be a power user without losing your focus and keeping it fun and productive.

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