Review: Will These Social Blogging Sites Survive?

A Selective History of Social Blogging Sites

The first social blogging site I joined was Bubblews. It lasted for almost three years. It was very popular and established writers from well-known sites like HubPages devoted less time to writing for them because they were making more on Bubblews. This left HubPages weaker, and many people, including me, found it hard to just jump back in at HubPages after Bubblews stopped paying.

Social blogging was easy, fun, and struck a chord for those of us who wanted to connect as people rather than just share information. Since the fall of Bubblews, people began looking for another social blogging site. Many went back to myLot, which had changed ownership and gone back to paying members. It is a simple forum, but its new format also makes it ideal for social blogging.  This got friends connected again, but social bloggers wanted something a bit different.

Many of those looking discovered BlogJob. BlogJob seemed to combine the best features of Bubblews and myLot. I have reviewed the state of BlogJob in Transition here.  Some people are still hanging on, but few are very active anymore. Once again the search is on for a new site. This week I’ve joined two new sites very similar to BlogJob.

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Photo in Public Domain Courtesy of Pixabay.com

UPDATE, November 30, 2017

I was able to log into BlogBourne, but it’s obvious that it’s on its way out. It might as well be gone. I also checked into my account at Literacy Base.  I think it’s on its last legs, as well.  If you aren’t already a member of these sites, I recommend you not join them. If you are, it’s time to back up any work you have left on them and save it.

UPDATE, July 15, 2017

Blogbourne will be closing when its hosting expires in October, 2017. Literacy Base has improved since I first posted this review.  Keep that in mind when you read the rest of this post.

Literacy Base and BlogBourne — What They Have in Common

  • They are both a lot like BlogJob. They offer free hosting for social bloggers and they provide groups and forums for member interaction outside the blogs. Unlike BlogJob, though, one cannot have an independent WordPress Blog on either site such as BlogJob members have.
  • They are owned or administrated by people whose first language is not English. This means some of the site documentation has errors in standard English.
  • They both offer some form of compensation to those active on the sites
  • Both will pay members through PayPal. Literacy Base also  pays through Payoneer.
  • Both provide members with referral links to share their articles and to recruit new members.
  • Both sites are currently experiencing growing pains and may go offline from time to time as they work out bugs. BlogBourne officially launched August 1, 2016.

How Literacy Base and BlogBourne Differ: Payment

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Photo in Public Domain Courtesy of Pixabay.com
  • BlogBourne splits site earnings with members, keeping 50% for site expenses and dividing the rest to to determine the value of a coin. This system is similar to the one Persona Paper was using. Literacy Base pays specific cash amounts for specific tasks like commenting or writing posts. The value of a BlogBourne coin fluctuates and is posted every month.
  • BlogBourne will be paying seven days after a person orders payment, but the payments won’t be issued the first time until two months after the site’s launch. BlogBourne payment amounts range from $5 to $100.  Literacy Base pays on  the tenth day of the month after a person has earned $10.
  • BlogBourne currently offers the same amount of coins for any post. Literacy Base at its own discretion pays more for higher quality interactions and longer posts.
  • Literacy Base currently has placed no limits on how much a member can earn in a day.  BlogBourne has a limit of three posts per day and varying limits for other activities one can earn for.

How Literacy Base and BlogBourne Differ: Editors and Posting

  • On Literacy Base your blog post has to be approved before it will post. That can take up to 24 hours. If more people become active, that might increase the approval time. Moderators also look over what you post on BlogBourne until a member is white-listed for immediate posting. Moderators let members know if changes need to be made and offer help before a post is approved for posting.
  • On Literacy Base your post must be at least 300 words long. On BlogBourne, it has to be 400 words.
  • Evidently on Literacy Base you can’t save drafts(even though it looks like you should be able to). It’s best to write your post in a word processor and paste it in before submitting. You can save your drafts in BlogBourne. You can edit and delete posts there, too, but if you delete a post you will lose any coins associated with it. I always advise writing in a word processor first anyway. It gives you a backup copy and protects you if the site goes offline while you are typing. A screen shot of the BlogBourne editor is below.
Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Screen Shot BlogBourne Editor

Notice that you can edit the HTML in the BlogBourne editor (see arrow) and that there are additional fields you can’t see below where the screen shot ends. Now compare with the Literacy Base Editor (below).

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Screen Shot of Literacy Base Editor

You can see that the BlogBourne editor has more options than that of Literacy Base and more closely resembles a WordPress interface. Neither editor has a drop-down menu for header text, but the BlogBourne editor allows you to change the font and text size.

Other Differences between Literacy Base and BlogBourne

  • You may use an affiliate link in a BlogBourne post, but not in a Literacy Base post. Notice I said a link.
  • Literacy Base only allows links to site sources that support the information in your post.
  • It is easier for people to find your work on BlogBourne and your profile looks nicer.
  • Literacy Base has a more cluttered design that distracts from reading the posts.
  • BlogBourne has a very motivating Leaderboard for those of us who are competitive. It lists members by number of coins they’ve earned with highest earners at the top.
  • Literacy Base has been around since some time in 2014. They opened their Facebook Page in November 2014. BlogBourne launched on August 1,  2016.
  • Literacy Base has made improvements in their site. Blogbourne will be closing in October, 2017.

Will These Sites Survive? Should I Join?

I’m afraid only time will tell that. I don’t mind pioneering a bit. I was one of the first on Bubblews and although I didn’t  expect it to last as long as it did, I made some good money there.  I’m glad I decided to risk it.

I do like social blogging, but I believe BlogJob won’t last much longer.  I haven’t left, but I am moving some posts to my own sites.  BlogBourne and Literacy Base are the most similar sites to BlogJob that I’ve joined.  I happen to prefer BlogBourne, but it has already announced it is closing.  You will need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself.

 

Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?
Read the Terms of Service

My Advice: Updated November 30, 2017

If you haven’t joined yet, I don’t advise you to. I don’t expect either site to last long enough to pay you.

I’ve been around the social blogging block a few times and gotten burned, just like many of you. My common sense tells me I should really invest the most time into my own blogs. If you do not yet have your own blog, now is the time to start one. Here’s how.

If you think this post will help someone else who is trying to decide, please share it. The image below is just right for Pinterest.

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites: Literacy Base and BlogBourne

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Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?

Free Blog Hosting Can Be Yanked  Away Without Notice

Here’s how I learned the dangers of free blog hosting. A few years ago I almost had a WordPress.com blog deleted. At that time I did not know affiliate links were forbidden. I had never used them during my first two years  of posts, but I almost lost all my work by using that one link. Fortunately for me, they warned me and when I appealed and removed the link they gave me another chance.  Recently someone with more to lose than I had his free blog hosting yanked. His blog is gone. And that’s what inspired this post.

Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?
Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?

Blogger’s Free Blog Hosting Has Risks

 In my last post I warned  readers about the need to host their own sites. Now I’ve just read that artist Dennis Cooper’s 14-year-old Blogger blog was pulled by Google with no warning. I will admit I am not familiar with Cooper’s work and I have no idea what about his blog violated Google’s  terms of service. I do know, though, from my own WordPress.com experience, that we may sometimes miss some part of the TOS or misunderstand it. That failure might cause the destruction of all our posts.

It’s one thing for Google to penalize content it doesn’t like in search results. It’s quite another to remove your blog.

Self-Hosting

When you own your own site, you have a lot more control. It’s  true  that paid hosting sites also have their terms of service, but they generally only disallow illegal content or behavior that threatens the server or other sites that share it. I use SiteGround for hosting my newest sites, and their terms are pretty typical. They don’t host MLM sites, though.

Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?
Read the Terms of Service

Whichever host you choose, be sure to read the terms of  service before you  sign up. Make sure the  type of site you have in mind is compatible. Also read the details of your hosting plan to be familiar with its space and bandwidth limitations. You could be in trouble if you use too many resources. That happened to me on Hostgator once.

I once hosted my most important site, Books to Remember, there, but I no longer felt good about it after some problems with tech support. One person I talked to  made it sound like there would be no charge for a certain support task, and I should just call back when I was ready and any support person could help. I did that. After the task was complete they charged me $75 I had not counted on.

That’s one reason why SiteGround,  now hosts that site. Click link above or one of the sidebar banners to check it out. I heard from many others how reliable SiteGround hosting is and how helpful the tech support is. I have also found that to be true since I moved my site there .  I’ve always been happy with the results. My tech support call waiting time is also very short compared to that I spent when I was with Hostgator.

Before You Move to a New Host, Do This

Back up your blog. Back it up to your computer,  to the cloud, and to an external hard drive. If you do all three, you should be protected. (I am very happy with my Seagate Plus 4T External Hard Drive, pictured below. It has room to back up my entire computer and also my photos and important documents in additional files I can access without restoring.)

Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?
My Seagate External Drive in Action, © B. Radisavljevic

Even if you  lose your hosting suddenly, you will have your content. It’s easy to export your blogs on a regular basis as XML files. In Blogger, click settings on your dashboard and select other. It will have an option to back up your blog. Click it and you will have your backup XML file. Save it wherever you want it to be.

Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?
Screen Shot of Blogger Export

 

If you have a WordPress.com site, you choose settings again and at the top you choose export. Save to wherever you want to keep it. On a self-hosted WordPress site, choose tools on your dashboard. Then click export. I just exported one third-party hosted  Wordpress.org blog to a new site by just importing that file.

Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?
WordPress Export Screen

My exported arrived blog with everything, even the photos, comments, and theme, intact. I decided to change the dates on all the posts and upload them one at at time to start the new site. That gave me a chance to edit the posts and improve them with what I learned from The Pajama Affiliates Blogging courses.

Set Up Your New Self-Hosted WordPress Blog the Right Way from the Beginning

I had already set up several self-hosted WordPress blogs before I discovered the Pajama Affiliates Courses. When I signed up for my new blog on SiteGround, I wanted to get off to a good start. I decided to do it while watching the 20 Pajama Affiliate videos in the WordPress in a Day Course.

I went step by step, with my blog open in one tab and a video open in another. I couldn’t believe how much I hadn’t known when I set up my other sites. I still need to make changes in those first sites I built, but at least I now have one that was set up properly at the beginning. This one isn’t it.

Check Content and  Prices on All Pajama Affiliates Courses. They are often on Sale.

I highly recommend the WordPress in a Day Course if you are just starting a new self-hosted WordPress blog.  I now own most of these courses.

It’s Time to Leave Free Hosting Sites Behind

Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?

Back up your sites and move them to sites you own. The Pajama Affiliates can help you. If you have bought a course you will have access to the Facebook support group where you can ask questions and find answers to your blogging problems.

You simply should not risk all the work you’ve put into your blog by keeping it on a site you don’t control. Buying hosting and a domain name is a small price to pay to maintain your independence. Check out SiteGround. They often give you your domain name free for the first year if you sign up for a new site. They did that for me.

Web Hosting

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Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?