Monday, May 26, 2008

A Look at the Growth and Future of Entrecard

I just wanted to post a small update on the status of the Entrecard community. At this point, it appears as though some other members are reporting a slight slow-down in the rate at which they can sell credits, although this may be due to the overall status of the economy. From traffic estimates and other information, there hasn't been a slowdown in the growth of the site, and for the near future.

While there aren't exact figures available (easily accessible) anymore from Entrecard, a good estimate would put it easily in the range of 7,000 to 10,000+ members. With the most recent revision in pricing, the most expensive sites hover around 4,096 credits/day. As time goes on, there has been talk of adding more incremental amounts to the current pricing method. It also appears as though the most trafficked sites (for the most part) have a higher price, which is what the new system was intended to do.

As you can see from the traffic charts from both Alexa and Compete below, traffic hasn't slowed down since Entrecard's launch.

Entrecard - Traffic History from Compete

Entrecard - Traffic History from Alexa

Monday, May 19, 2008

Major Entrecard Updates

Entrecard rolled out a number of updates today [official post], so if you are a member, you should have received an email containing them (plus the information is on their blog). This post is simply meant to highlight them and provide some of my thoughts on them for the long-term.

Official Entrecard E-Book Released
The much awaited e-book has been released, and begins at the steps dealing with setting up your first advertisement to tips for dropping more and other strategies. Taking a quick look at it, I found a lot of relevant tips, and it contains tips for both intermediate and advanced users.

Add multiple blogs to a single account
Similar to what other online services are trying to do, you only need one account for all your blogs. All you have to do to access this feature is go to your Dashboard and click "Linked Blogs" or "Switch", which is found in the header.

Entrecard - Multiple Blogs

Multiple Blogs/Switching

For users that already have more than one account, you can choose whether to link your account with another existing account or to register a new blog with Entrecard and link it to your account.

Entrecard - Linked Blogs
Linked Blogs

Terms of linked blogs:
  • Linked blogs are displayed as "other blogs by this author" on the profile page
  • There are no limits on credit transfers between linked blogs
  • When dropping, the currently active card is the card that is dropped
  • Each blog may drop on up to 300 other Entrecard sites per day
Added Campaign Categories/Features
Under the "Campaign" page, you can find added quick jump tabs to easily see the Newest, Most Popular, Cheapest, Random, or Search categories. The "Search" page will transfer you to the more familiar page for browsing Entrecard sites.

RSS Feed for Top Droppers
This feature gives you a feed for the people that are listed in the Top Droppers area, with the feed subscription/previewing link beside the table.

Entrecard - Top Droppers RSS

Top Droppers RSS Area

To get the word out about the "add new blog feature" and the new E-Book, all you have to do is write a post on your blog about the new features and posts a link to the E-Book will be eligible to win 2,000 credits.

If you add an extra blog to your account, you are automatically entered to win 15,000 credits.
For example, if you have 2-5 blogs, 5-10 blogs, 10-15 blogs, 15-20, and 20-25 blogs in your account, each category will be eligible for this prize - on winner in each category of 15,000 with 75,000 total credits!

Winners will be chosen for both contests on June 25th. This is a great way for them to get more users to add blogs to the system.

Homepage Update
As per one of the previous posts, the main site has been updated and showcases some recent posts, updated every time you change your blog by posting.

Final Thoughts
Overall, these features look like they have been well-received and should inspire people who needed to have multiple accounts before to link them altogether into a main account, making it easier to earn credits, advertise, and view stats.

The other announcements, such as the E-Book were also designed and organized well, so it is definitely sapient of you to check them out.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stats for Beginners

Besides knowing when to drop and what sites to drop on, there isn't a defined strategy for dropping Entrecards on other blogs. What it comes down to is following the best path to help your blog grow in terms of traffic.

Entrecard has a series of tracking tools built right into the dashboard and on the stats page ( or five digit account number/statistics). You can use these to analyze where you should be advertising and dropping.

Let's take a look at the tools and their main purposes/features.

Dashboard View
On the main (Dashboard) page/view, you can quickly see an overview of the number of credits that you have.

From left to right and top to bottom: credits in your account, credits to advertise on your blog, credits earned via ads, cards you dropped today/total, cards dropped on you today/total, credits earned via drops, ads you placed, clicks from your blog to others, clicks from to your, ads you bought, ads bought from you (currently), and ads you are currently running.

Statistics - Quickstats

On the Statistics Page
The statistics page was developed for anyone wanting a better overview of their traffic, advertising, and dropping patterns to better forecast how to improve their habits with the Entrecard program.

You can access the main Statistics page by clicking on "more stats..." within the Quickstats blog in the Dashboard view or from the menu at the top, labeled "Statistics".

- Note that this is a mock up tutorial for beginners, not for people who have experience with the Entrecard system for getting traffic, just analyzing it. I won't be going into tips for improving upon each of the areas in this post, either.

We'll start from the top of the page and work our way down. At this point, I am a heavy promoter of dropping the full amount of credits per day, so that is why you'll notice that there are no stats for advertisers (not a bug). While advertising may have better results than solely dropping, or vice versa, it is a good idea, like I may have previously said, to find what works best for you.

Each graph/chart on the stats page is for the previous month (for example, April 14 to May 14).

Card Drops
- Shows the number of cards dropped on your blog each day. A higher number on this graph represents that you may have a higher chance of being advertised on, and you'll receive more credits for the advertising done on your blog.

Statistics - Card Drops

Advert Clicks
- Displays the number of clicks through to your site from the adverts you have bought from other bogs. When the chart displays higher numbers, you will receive more visitors to your blog.

Statistics - Advert Clicks

Organic Clicks
- Chart displays the number of clicks through toy our site from the main Entrecard websites. The main determining factor for the traffic levels of this chart is how attractive your Entrecard credit is and the placement against other Entrecard blogs.

Statistics - Organic Clicks

Your Drops
- This chart displays the number of Entrecards that you have dropped on other peoples' blogs/sites over the past month. When you drop more credits on others' blogs, you help to boost your chance of being visited/advertised on by other bloggers as well as gaining credits for selling or advertising on other blogs.

Statistics - Your Drops

Top Card Droppers
- Lists the Entrecard users who dropped their card "on you" the most in the past month. Using this chart will help you see who values your blog the most or the most regular visitors to your blog.

Statistics - Top Card Droppers

Top Clicks by Widget
- Provides a list of the sites who provided the most clicks back to your website over the past month - through ads you run on their sites. The higher the number in this chart, the better the advertiser is for your blog's traffic stream.

Statistics - Top Clicks by Widget

Best Value by Widget
- Lists the sites who provided the best value over the last 30 days through the ads you ran on their widget. In other words, the lower the number, the better the value - you don't have to spend as many credits to receive a higher amount of traffic.

Statistics - Best Value by Widget

So, there you have it. A short, albeit useful, look at the traffic statistics that Entrecard provides you. Later on, we'll look at how to improve upon each area and using other systems for tracking Entrecard visitors/traffic trends.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Entrecard Policies and Principles

Phirate, a frequent contributor and member of Entrecard who is connected with the program has outlined several of the main principles that the Entrecard team will try to maintain while they face major decisions when it comes time to choose the best approaches.

In the post, Phirate states that "We Will not lie to our users", "We will try and avoid making unnecessary promises", and "The blogger's blog is their space, we have no right to say what should go there".

Because Entrecard is a real business, it is good to know the practices that they will follow, especially for a service that users invest a lot of time into.

[via Entrecard Blog Post]

New Main Page for Entrecard

Today, Entrecard updated the main page of their site, with a slightly better tutorial and snapshot of what you can expect from the program. The main page wasn't updated with new blogs for some time, and today, you can now see popular posts from blogs and a categories "cloud".

While the main page may feel like it induces more clutter, it also appears like Entrecard is trying to put more emphasis on the community and networking factor that may evolve further from the system.

Screenshots from Main Page and Introduction Sideshows

Entrecard - Updated Main Page
Main Entrecard Site Changes

Entrecard - Connect Slide
Connect Yourself

Entrecard - Drive Slide
Drive Yourself

Entrecard - Promote Slide
Promote Yourself

Images from Introduction Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

Entrecard - Tour

What are your thoughts on the new tutorial/tour and the "new" home page/landing page for Entrecard? Will it help increase the membership rates or does it add more confusion?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Entrecard E-Book in the Making

Graham Langdon, the owner of Entrecard, has stated that he is working on an e-book that will be released for free on their blog:
I’m compiling information, tips, tricks, and uses of Entrecard for an official Entrecard E-Book. This Ebook will be available for free download on the site. In addition, a link to download it will be sent to all new Entrecard members when they complete signup.
I think this is a great idea as long as a large amount of tips are included, as this should be more of a community-type project - after all, that is what Entrecard is all about.  Currently, you can post ideas on the official post or in their forums.   

Some great ideas have been presented, such as including tips to create a better strategy for dropping/advertising, getting rid of the generic widget, and all about reciprocating.

If you have any knowledge or tips to contribute to this project, I strongly advise you to post your ideas on the post or in the forum.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Best Ways to Earn Credits

Bloggers and internet marketers taking advantage of the Entrecard system realize the benefits of earning credits to help attract new visitors and potential revenue through their sites.  Although the main method of earning credits is through dropping credits via the widget on other blogs, how else can you earn credits?

These are a few of the top ways you can use to earn credits.

  1. Drop credits on other blogs.  Using this method, you are able to drop up to 300 credits on other blogs per day.  This is usually a somewhat time-consuming method unless you are categorized as a "power dropper", or someone that utilizes the tabs in the browser to decrease the amount of time it takes to reach the maximum drops.
  2. Purchase credits through other bloggers.  There are many bloggers willing to sell your credits, despite somewhat high prices.  For example, credits can run up to as much as $25 for 5,000 credits.  Purchasing credits will save you some time, and increase your revenue ability, but will set you back a few dollars.
  3. Participate in contests.  Contests have served as a good way for bloggers to increase their comments, traffic, and backlinks.  When you enter the contests, you have the ability to earn anywhere from a few credits to a few thousand.  In many cases, entering a contest doesn't take much more than a link to their blog, a review, or leaving a comment.
  4. Create a "you drop, I drop" campaign.  By adding a little widget/image (more discussion at a later date), this method will increase the chance that people will drop their card on your site, thus increasing your credits.
  5. Advertise on other blogs.  Build up a steady supply of credits by instituting the methods that I, and others have provided, to use the credits for advertising on other blogs.  Upon notification that you want to advertise on their blog, the blogger may visit your blog or leave you credits.  Down the road, they may also decide to advertise on your blog.  
  6. Create better content.  Content drives visitors to your blog/site, and as visitors increase, there is a much higher chance that those visitors will be active Entrecard users, and will drop their card on your blog.
  7. Utilize "Entrecard services".  There are many services that were designed targeting Entrecard users - from browsers to lists of Entrecard sites.  Without utilizing these at least once, you are doing yourself a disfavor, and you won't be able to experiment with different credit earning opportunities.  
  8. Be consistent.  If you are a consistent dropper, your "drop rank" will increase, and other bloggers will see this as indication that you have committed and devoted yourself to the service.  They may advertise on your site, or drop their credit more persistently when they see this.
  9. Know the ins-and-outs of the system.  What I mean by this is not by scamming or spamming anyone, but by knowing how the advertising rates and drop ability changes and what blogs yield the highest results.  Read tips from fellow bloggers and see how they make the most of the product.
While performing these tips can help earn you more traffic and credits, it is important to remember that the whole purpose of Entrecard was to help bloggers expand their knowledge of other blogs and become connected with other bloggers in the same niche. 

What tips can you present to other readers concerning how to earn credits?