Blogactiv is a blogging platform set up by EurActiv, Brussels’ foremost online news provider. On its homepage, Blogactiv states that: “complementing EurActiv’s independent and neutral coverage of EU Affairs, Blogactiv will become the premier source of content on the future of Europe”. I genuinely hope so. The lovely chaps behind Blogactiv deserve it, but more pertinently, having one platform that showcases the best that the European blogosphere has to offer is a very enticing proposition indeed. Done well, it will help readers search through the clutter, improve bloggers’ outreach, and facilitate dialogue across multiple blogs. However, there are a couple of things that I think they should develop.
1. They should focus on being an aggregator – i.e. allow people to write their blog on any platform, and at the flick of a switch, post the same content on Blogactiv as well – rather than be a platform where people create their blogs from scratch. This will help attract existing bloggers, those who prefer other platforms; or those who want their own URL, or want to be able to choose their own plugins (applications that allow users to add functionalities to their blogs – anything from a calendar, picture album, to a connection with Facebook or Google Maps). Take a look at Nosemonkey’s must read EU blogs Universe, and it’s clear that plenty of good blogs are being written on European themes and that these are not on Blogactiv. If it was really easy to connect to Blogactiv, and the bloggers in question could perceive added value in connecting, I’m sure most would. Eventually, the goal could even be for Blogactiv to be so popular that bloggers could connect by invitation only (or in the spirit of the web, if selected by fellow bloggers).
2. Blogactiv should have more traffic by now, given its favourable circumstances (namely, being linked to Euractiv, which has hundreds of thousands of visitors). In a recent entry, Nosemonkey mentioned that posting content on Blogactiv has not brought him much traffic. I had a similar experience: I set up a mirror of a client’s blog on Blogactiv, and only got about 10% of the traffic. Indeed, a quick look at compete.com (see image below) shows that traffic is pretty static at a few thousand, which spread over a number of blogs is not very much. How could the figures be improved? First and foremost, by having more high-quality content, and here, again, the aggregator approach could be key. Also, the EurActiv connection should be leveraged far more: good blog posts should link to relevant news stories on EurActiv and vice-versa (and to Blogactiv’s credit, they said at a recent lunch they hosted that this is in the pipeline); and I’d not insist so much on keeping EurActiv and Blogactiv separate – if I were EurActiv, I’d be loud and proud, and mention Blogactiv in all outgoing material (from newsletters to business cards).