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With the chatter about us not graduating coming up again, I wonder if we are taking the wrong tack with attempting to grow our traffic organically.

It is a busy market in the personal finance space on the net. The Ubuntu site used stackexchange to power the community, and that site blossomed.

How can this site bring the community and its expertise to an existing blogger's site that benefits both? We bring the blogger traffic and pageviews, they bring blog content and some more traffic here?

Am I out of my element here?

Spit ball ideas

Tags for affiliated bloggers

Using this tag means we are asking a question that spawned form a blog post or a comment on a post. We still have to have answerable questions here, but credit where credit is due. We link back and promote the blogger, and the blogger links here and promotes us.

Guest Bloggers

Can we get permission to post blogs here that summarize and link to the author's site?

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    @joetaxpayer - I read your blog, what could you leverage this community for? Is this nuts? – MrChrister Sep 12 '12 at 18:14
  • @mbhunter - I read your blog, what could you leverage this community for? I am not a blogger, is this offensive? – MrChrister Sep 12 '12 at 18:15
  • What am I missing here? You asked the question. Why are you posting these questions to specific users? I am confused! – Ellie Kesselman Sep 16 '12 at 23:23
  • @Feral Oink - I would love anybody to answer, I am only smart to enough to know for sure those two are bloggers. I @'d them to put an alert in their SE notification box. – MrChrister Sep 17 '12 at 0:09
  • Ohhh! Okay, now I understand MrChrister! That makes much more sense. Your question isn't nuts, nor is it offensive! I've read their blogs too! LittleAdv (I think that is his name) is another community member with an active finance blog. I'll try to think of some others. Thank you for clarifying! – Ellie Kesselman Sep 17 '12 at 0:15
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    I've actually written an article about this site and have a link to it from my site (my personal bragging badge, admittedly, but still a link). littleadvisor.com/archives/791 – littleadv Oct 4 '12 at 1:03
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Interesting question. I've been open about the fact that I blog, and refer to my articles (and others') when appropriate. I've tried to be careful to actually provide a full answer here even when providing a link to my own more complete article. For a time, I had a widget on my site that listed my last few questions answered at SE, but when the feed broke, I removed it. I didn't have the time to troubleshoot just then.

For bloggers, there are issues with Google when content is duplicated verbatim, but of course if it's just taking the discussion itself over, that's a great idea, and I'd be happy to cross-promote.

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    And you do great work. I saw some tweets about FinCon from you and I expect they are a good audience, but I don't know how to promote to authors, because I don't exactly see what an existing blogger gets out of it. – MrChrister Sep 17 '12 at 15:45
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    Bloggers want more readers, ones who will be regulars, and interact. FinCon12 (for those who don't know) was the second annual Financial Bloggers Conference. So, it was more about blogging than about finance per se. Like any well organized conference there were multiple sessions that covered quite a range of sub topics. The goal was to improve our writing, learn how to engage readers, and reach out beyond the blog, eBook, for instance. – JoeTaxpayer Sep 18 '12 at 23:21
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I think these are great suggestions and I'd be very keen to see something like this happen.

As I write this, my blog currently has a grand total of 3 posts so I would barely refer to myself as a blogger yet. That being said, it was whilst doing some research for an upcoming blog post that I discovered this site from a search. As a programmer who has relied on StackOverflow for years, I'm surprised I didn't come across it sooner, but I'm glad I've found it now.

I read @mbhunter's answer with great interest, and I shared @MrChrister's surprise at the meta links @mbhunter gave.

I decided to start my blog because I had to make an important decision about how to invest my money and I was alarmed at how difficult it was to get answers to the questions I had. I consider myself a very financially literate person and if it was this difficult for me to get the answers I needed, how must other people feel.

The whole point of my blog is/will be to answer questions that I struggled with in the hope that others will find it useful. Sure, I might make some small amount of money from advertising if it becomes successful, but that's not my motivation for doing it.

By contributing my knowledge here, I get the same chance to help people where I may know something they need an answer to and as a side benefit it may help to promote my blog. I've only been on the site for a few days and I haven't mentioned my blog anywhere except for my profile page and I've already had a couple of click-throughs to my site. Seeing that happen really encouraged me to contribute more and see if there were other answers I could help with.

I see the two things as very much complementary. My blog will be serving a very specific niche of expat investors and will probably never generate much traffic as a result. The articles I'll be publishing will also be covering a lot of detail and would be far too much information to use as the answer to a question here.

Contributing to this site gives me a way to reach a larger audience than I would if I focused purely on my own blog. I can help people who need answers and if somebody asks a question about something I've written an article about which I think they may find useful then being able to provide a link to that post (as part of a good answer) should be mutually beneficial. The OP gets their question answered and can read my article if they want to understand the subject in more detail, and my fledgling blog gets help in attracting readers who are actually interested in the subject matter.

The FAQ position of allowing links to blog posts only where relevant to the question and doing so in moderation seems fair and reasonable to me. IMHO, suggestions like @MrChrister's of having affiliated blogger tags or guest bloggers would go a long way to encouraging more people like myself to contribute to this site. (Assuming you actually want more people like myself that is!).

  • Well I think we are all glad to have your on board here. It is always in the back of my mind. While SE says we need to be the best answers on the Internet, I think traffic and expert members is the egg. We need to have experts, and the experts we want are going to need something in return. – MrChrister Dec 15 '12 at 22:43
  • & thank you for posting your money.stackexchange.com badge on your site. :-) – Chris W. Rea Dec 17 '12 at 14:13
  • :) No problem! Although it could do with a bit of alignment... Just need to get round to churning out some good posts now! – thepassiveinvestor Dec 18 '12 at 1:19
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MrChrister, my apologies for being tardy in responding, especially since you addressed me directly in your comments. Thanks for bringing this up.

More love for bloggers who are discussed / active on this site? I'd be silly to argue against that, wouldn't I? :)

If anyone wants to summarize, and link to, something on my blog, I'd be insane to argue against that as well.

Regarding the larger issue, which is the level of link-back and promotion options to people using this site to external sites that serve their own interests, doing things like those proposed in the question would receive strong push-back were they to be suggested on the main programming site. (Look at the carnage that ensued when I stuck up for people who were answering questions -- well -- that promoted their own products, with full disclosure.)

It's just a very different mode of operation on the programming site. My paraphrase: "If you have a product, let someone else answer with how good it is, but don't toot your own horn." And, from the FAQ: "If a huge percentage of your posts include a mention of your product or website, you're probably here for the wrong reasons."

This creates a virtuous circle both for the selfless, active members, and for Stack Exchange, Inc. The active members have the majority, and the owners, on their side when it comes to even helpfully-presented self-promotion (i.e., it doesn't belong here) and the owners get traffic to a huge and nearly spam-free body of content -- which, by the way, they sell ads on, but that isn't talked about very much. :)

So, I would dearly love to answer questions in a way that I can summarize one of my posts, and link to it. However, that would get me on the dirt list of influential people here, and probably a fair number of the members. That, and even when people follow the rules of full disclosure, there are still the Office Space restaurant owners that say you're not wearing enough flair. "But it's a helpful answer, and I'm disclosing my relationship with the company." "We don't care, you need to do it less." It's tiring to see it again and again, and I'm not one to roll up my sleeves and duke it out when it comes to my own content.

The bottom line is this: Everyone's time is valuable and irreplaceable, and everyone gets to choose how they spend it, especially their discretionary time. I enjoy answering questions on the different SE sites. I also get benefit from asking them.

When it comes to personal finance, though, my blog is an additional source of income, and all of my online actions either contribute to that source of income, or they don't. It sounds selfish, and I may be short-sheeting participation here, but it's a very long, slogging route for me to see return benefit the way things are now for the content I post here. Joe Taxpayer has had less than one profile view per question he's answered. Same with me. Yet that is exactly the route that the SE community at large wants self-promotion to happen.

I can post a comment on another blogger's post and link to my website! The link might even be a dofollow link!

That's why I'm a little bit torn each time I answer a question here -- like I just did -- and advocate that people start a side business. What am I doing right now to move my business forward? I've already typed a longer-than-average post here, for the possibility of a fraction of one visit to my site, statistically.

As I've mentioned before, most PF bloggers already get this. I was an owner of a Stack Exchange 1.0 site, and I couldn't get participation from but a handful of bloggers. They all have their own empires to build.

Having said all of that, though :) -- if there's a discussion about one of my posts here, if I don't catch it, just let me know, and I'll link back to it.

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    This is thoughtful. Thank you. I was a bit surprised by the meta question you linked to. Such hard liners. I will let everybody else judge. – MrChrister Oct 2 '12 at 1:47
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Bloggers can feature questions and answers as a post on their site.

So the blogger will get content, but the content is powered by participation here. The content would have all the attribution, but the page views are initially generated at the blog.

Ars Technica does this (manually?) on the weekends. They post the question, the best answer and then comments (and their ads) are served on top of that. For SEO, it isn't the same content because it is framed and written with the proper context. Comments and community can (and might ) stay on the blog, with some new traffic and readers directed here.

Free content (with appropriate citations) for a blog. More traffic for the SE site. The Bloggers can feature the SE content regularly as a new section on their blog.

http://arstechnica.com/author/stack-exchange/

  • I see that ArsTechnica is following the rules, but (1) it's duplicated content, and (2) there are a lot of non-nofollowed links back to SE -- as in over a dozen on one post. ArsTechnica is handing over the keywords to SE with a bow tied around them. :) That's the price of the "free" content. As a point of reference, we (bloggers) get "offers" for "free guest posts" all the time, and it usually comes attached with "please link back to our site with this anchor text." It's a great deal for the guest poster, and awful for the blogger long-term. – mbhunter Oct 2 '12 at 6:17
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    The people who run Stack Exchange, Inc., for all of their engendering of making the Internet a better place, are also businesspeople to the core. The sharing policy was deliberately and carefully crafted to increase its search engine clout: be the original source of the content, and make others link back in a way that counts favorably for the organic search placement. They're not giving anything away. It's the users of the content that are doing all of the giving away. Sorry I'm not all gung-ho but do you see where I'm coming from? – mbhunter Oct 2 '12 at 6:29
  • I think I see your point. I do appreciate you taking the time to go over it again. I promise to be nicer than the folks over on the main site. – MrChrister Oct 2 '12 at 13:45
  • No, thank you! I very much appreciate the thoughtfulness of wanting to work with more bloggers to build the site. I wasn't fussing at you personally. :) – mbhunter Oct 2 '12 at 17:02
  • @mbhunter: that cuts both ways - because you own whatever you post here, the attribution requirements help to ensure you get credit for it if it's posted elsewhere. Believe it or not, a lot of folks get upset when they find their answers reposted to some generic blogger.com blog with either no attribution at all, or no direct link. – Shog9 Oct 2 '12 at 19:26
  • @Shog9 who owns what? I was explicitly told by moderators of travel@SE that I do not own the content of my posts there. That was the reasoning they refused to delete my posts per my request. Which in turn is annoying and I no longer participate there because of that. – littleadv Oct 4 '12 at 1:07
  • @littleadv: if they told you that, they were wrong. However, the effect is the same when it comes to deletion: Section 3 of the terms of service specifies that by posting here, you grant the site an irrevocable license to use your work. Generally, folks will try to respect the wishes of the author when it comes to deletion, but in cases where something of value will be lost it is possible to prevent it. You can request disassociation, which will remove your name from a post. – Shog9 Oct 4 '12 at 4:54

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