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The best and worst online communities for writers and bloggers

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As a writer or blogger, you might join a community to network, learn, promote your work, publish your content, and even make a spot of money on the side.

If this is your motivation, then, you'll have figured out two things by now: Firstly, you are not alone. There is an offensively large number of aspiring writers out there, ranging from talented to deserve to be shot. Secondly, many websites exist that claim to make your dreams come true.

In order to save you months of scouring the web only to be met with disappointment and wasted effort, below is a description of some of the best and worst online communities for writers and bloggers...

The Good: Hubpages
Instant gratification with hits the moment you publish. An active community and obviously an enormous database. Whatever your field of interest, someone is interested in hearing about it. Clearly the reputation of Hubpages is so excellent that everyone is keen to read, comment, follow, encourage and share. With Hubpages, not only will you drive traffic to your own website, but you may even make some money with Google Ads too.

Make Hubpages your FIRST port of call. Do not leave it until last, especially as Hubpages does not accept duplications. If you've already tossed your great ideas all over the internet, then forget about bringing them to Hubpages.

The Good: Triond
Triond commands a network of websites, and will publish your content on the site that best suits your topic and target audience, thereby earning you maximum readership. Triond's network includes websites with topics ranging from poetry and literature, to business, sports, travel, health and wellness, and many more.

Plus, as soon as your work is approved and published, it generates revenue from several income sources, such as display and contextual advertising that appears on the pages of your work. Triond shares with you 50% of the revenue generated by your content.

The Good: BlogCatalog
This is a great site if you can ever get the webmaster to approve your blog, which is hit or miss, depending on whether he's busy scratching is belly button. In spite of the bone idle webmaster, BlogCatalog deserves a huge thumbs up, thanks to the active, responsive and impressively well informed community. This is a mine of useful information for writers, with everything from how to promote your website or blog to how to make money online. Don't be shy about asking questions, everyone is keen to share their extensive knowledge here.

The Good and Bad: Facebook
If you want to catch up with old school friends from when you were five, then Facebook is for you. But if you plan to network, build a community and promote your work, then good luck to you.

Facebook limits the number of friends you can make (5000 total), the speed at which you may request those friends, the number of pages you can like, how many groups you can join and how many blogs you can follow. There are probably more limits not listed here, but what is clear is that Facebook does not want you doing your own networking. And why should it, when it has an expensive advertising package to offer you instead? Facebook is driven by greed, so if you have a book to promote or a blog to share, then by all means post it on Facebook, but don't expect much.

Having said that Facebook has a huge upside, a weakness in their armor, you might say, called NetworkedBlogs. On the surface it's just another place to post and link to your website or blog. But there is more to NetworkedBlogs. Visit their discussion forum, where everyone is literally begging one another to "follow me and I'll follow you.' Yes it's an orgy of button pressing, but it also exposes your writing to hundreds, possibly thousands of eyes. The "Like' or "Follow' button is today's measure of success, with the power to promote your website and get you better rankings on Google. NetworkedBlogs gets you those "Likes'.

For more on the power of the Like button, refer to these articles: ( cfwebprofessionals.com/blog/the-power-of-the-like-button/ ) ( techcrunch.com/2010/03/25/facebook-to-release-a-like-button-for-the-whole-darn-internet/ ).

And it gets sweeter. As everyone on NetworkedBlogs' discussion forum is looking for ways to propagate their work, if you happen to have a referral link to another blog or website-promoting site, then you can earn Google Adsense revenue just by sharing that information on the NetworkedBlogs discussion forum.

It's a win-win situation. Well perhaps not so much for Facebook, so you might want to keep this under your hat, lest they pull the plug on this one "flaw' in their greedy master plan for world domination.

The Good and Bad: Writer's Digest
Great community, fun people sharing a common cause (to become published writers), but not so self absorbed as to be unable to hold a forum conversation. You'll enjoy great interactions, tips, advice and a general feeling of warmth here.

The major downside to Writer's Digest is their aggressive advertising. Writer's Digest is not merely a forum for aspiring writers, but a company that sells writing related tools, such as conferences, books and webinars. The community frequently complains in the discussion forums about the aggressive advertising, but Writer's Digest is deaf to the suggestions that their hard-sell advertising is more off-putting than effective.

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I am a research scientist and a writer, with a PhD in neuroscience from University College London. I recently published the novel, A Life Lived Ridiculously, about a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder who makes the horrible mistake of (more...)
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