Here are a few interesting tidbits gleaned from various conversations and presentations at BlogWorld:
Kevin Aylward, founder of Wizbang, says that trackbacks are pretty much dead, due to trackback spam. He would like to see something better replace trackbacks, which were a good tool to drive traffic through the blogosphere. I would have to agree ... my blogging has generated virtually no trackbacks for the last six months.
Matt Mullinway, who created WordPress, prefers blogs to social networking sites like FaceBook, simply because blogs can create a much better web presence for anyone who can write well. Matt envisions some kind of widget in the near future that will allow users to link SN sites to their blogs.
Jim Kukral, who specializes in blog monetization, was passionate about the need for a blog to solve a specific problem in order for it to generate enough attention to create a good revenue stream. Quality content that focuses on a niche specialization is critical.
David Hall from BlogCritics.com emphasized the usefulness of comments in creating a permanent community around your blog. The "most recent comments" widget that most blogging platforms offer works well for bringing commenters to the front on a blog.
Wendy Piersall from eMomsAtHome.com suggested interacting with commenters in the comments section in order to dialog with them and to steer comments back on topic if necessary. She also recomments posting a "welcome" message when new commenters leave messages.
Matt Colebourne from CoComment.com pointed out that the number of comments is not related to blog readership. Most blogs with heavy traffic average only around 3.5 comments per post. Also, only a small number of commenters (15%) will leave the majority of the comments.
Interestingly, many of the trade show exhibitors were "Web2.0" or "DotCom 2.0" companies offering advertising revenue tied to blog posts and blog traffic. Yet most of the panelists and presenters at the conference sessions were very negative about pay-per-click advertising. Unless your blog generates a sizable amount of traffic -- and I mean enough traffic for you to be in a position for you to negotiate a deal with Google or Yahoo or MSN -- then you will see only pennies.
The best way to drive traffic to your blog is through blog networking -- join blog groups, post comments on other blogs, post content on group blogs, etc.
If you are going to try to sell direct advertising on your blog, then you need a combination of traffic and "sticky" content; that is, content that captures readers and keeps them on your blog for several minutes.