Poker Blog Engines. Part 2

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Do you still have doubts on where to start your poker blog? This article will introduce you to some of the most popular poker blogging platforms. In my first Poker Blog Engines article I have started analyzing poker social networks and blogging engines built exclusively for writing poker blogs. The rating system was based on 10 key points and their evaluation in a 5 grade scale. To remain objective and righteous I shall continue with the same 10 principles:

  1. Visibility to the non-members of the blogging platform
  2. The editing of the text + embedding external media (YouTube or any other video, flash replayer etc.) options
  3. Tools to customize the design and the looks of the blog
  4. Possibility to manage the URI (the ending of the link) of a single blog post
  5. Possibility to share it with your friends and various social networks
  6. RSS feature availability
  7. Is the blog SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly?
  8. Does it have a statistics engine
  9. Scheduling and privacy options
  10. Tagging and categorizing your blog posts

The first article discussed 6 social networks and community websites with blogging options. Here are another 6:

Railbirds – 1.5 average points

Railbirds is quite an old social network with incredibly active community that produces approximately 200 blog posts a day. That’s an enormous amount of content which is also of a high quality (no spam, no endorsed pro blogs, no affiliate promotions). Now let’s take a look at all the Railbirds' blogging features:

  1. Posts are visible to everyone. Displayed at the home page as well. 5
  2. Railbirds uses KFC Editor which allows text formatting as well as HTML editing. There is an “add video” option for embeddable video codes. Everything else can be edited in HTML. 4
  3. No possibility to customize the layout or design. 0
  4. URI is generated using the words in the headline and added automatically. There's no way of editing it. 0
  5. Unfortunately, Railbirds does not provide any option that would allow sharing your blog with other social media. 0
  6. There is no way of getting an RSS feed of one particular blog. Only the feed of all the blog posts is possible, but considering the amount of posts it is just not worth having them all. 0
  7. The blog is being indexed by the search engines in a couple of days. As the blog URI is made of the Title words it is quite SEO friendly. 3
  8. The views and comments stats are available, however their access is quite complicated. 1
  9. Scheduling and privacy options are absent. You can only use the “Save Draft” option which allows you to finish writing the blog later. 1
  10. Tagging is not available, although there are some pre-set categories. You may put your post under the particular event – WPT, WSOP, EPT etc. 2

The total Railbirds evaluation is the following 5+4+0+0+0+0+3+1+1+2=15/10=1.5. Personal verdict: despite the poor ranking, blogging IS HIGHLY recommended at Railbirds because of a very active community. If you want guaranteed audience, no other poker social network can compare to Railbirds by the activity of it's members.

PokerWeblogs – 3.6 average points

PokerWeblogsPokerWeblogs is a unique web 2.0 tool for poker players designed only for creating and importing poker blogs. If you already have a blog, you can add the RSS and get listed among the other poker blogs. If you do not own a blog yet, but would like to have one, PokerWeblogs offers you free blog hosting and customization tools. Let’s evaluate it from the technical point of view:

  1. The posts are visible. They are displayed at the homepage of the site and the recently updated blogs go together with the ones imported from the other blogging services (Blogspot, Wordpress, etc). 5
  2. PokerWeblogs uses a simple editor which allows text formatting, and HTML editing. There is an option to “Insert YouTube Video”, also flash can be inserted by editing HTML. Even the background color can be changed. 4
  3. The user can change the Header of the blog, Title information, colors, the font size. The sidebar feature allows adding some HTML boxes and some default features like RSS import, Archive, Link Box etc. There are no design templates or CSS editing options, but in general it is enough to edit the sidebar, the footer (HTML codes available) and the Header. 3
  4. URI is added automatically using the words from the Title. No option to edit it. 0
  5. Add This button is used for sharing. 5
  6. It is possible to subscribe for the RSS and add it to your favorite RSS reader using Add This button for RSS. 5
  7. The blog is indexed by the search engines in few days after publishing. The author can set separate keywords for every blog post. The blog Title, subtitle, keyword information can also be updated. The Header can contain text with HTML as well. The only problem is that the user cannot manually set URI for separate blog posts. 4
  8. No internal view statistics are available. The user is encouraged to add the Google Analytics traffic code. 3
  9. Scheduling and privacy options are absent. There is the possibility to enable/disable and edit comments. 2
  10. The author can create categories. Every blog post can have tags which are mixed with the general tag cloud. However, it is not possible to add your own tag cloud on the sidebar. 5

The total evaluation is the following 5+4+3+0+5+5+4+3+2+5=36/10=3.6. Personal verdict: almost a PERFECT solution for a poker blogger and HIGHLY recommended. PokerWeblogs also has some other features such as picture gallery, forum, pro poker blogs, internal messaging. This makes it a really great place for those who would like to start blogging and promoting their blog (promoting is very limited in majority of other blog engines because of the HTML editing of the layout – a place where all reciprocal links and buttons can be added). PokerWeblogs.com has received the highest rating and overcame another blogging platform my.PokerNews.com with 3.3 points. This service requires additional investigation and presentation because of all the brilliant features it contains.

PokerNations – 1.7 average points

PokerNationsPokerNations is the newest poker social network on the market, launched in August 2009. It is still early to analyze the activity of the community, but our primary goal is to look at this social network's blogging features:

  1. The posts are visible. They are not displayed at the homepage unless they go to the general actions of the community log or to the featured blog (decided by the administrators). 5
  2. PokerNations uses limited version of KFC Editor which allows text formatting, but no HTML codes can be inserted. There are “Insert flash” and “add video” options for embeddable video codes, so it is quite enough for a blog. 3
  3. No possibility to customize the layout and design. 0
  4. URI is added automatically using the numeral ID of the post. It is not generated using Title words. No option to edit it. 0
  5. There are only 5 ways of sharing your blog with social media: Delicious, Digg, MySpace, Facebook and Fark (the links in Fark have to by approved by the editors, therefore the gambling content will most probably be ignored). 3
  6. No RSS sharing of the blog is possible. 0
  7. The blog is indexed by the search engines in few days after being published. The blog URI is not SEO friendly. As the PokerNations social network is still fresh it does not have a lot of inbound links. 1
  8. The view and comment statistics are available on a public level, but not at the administration area. 1
  9. The scheduling option is absent. However, there are some privacy options that allow setting blog's visibility for the search engines. The user may also set comment and view options. There is also a feature which allows adding Trackbacks. 2
  10. Tagging is not available, however there are some pre-set categories. 1

The total evaluation is the following 5+3+0+0+3+0+1+1+2+1=17/10=1.7. Personal verdict: despite the poor rank and the fact that it is a new social network, blogging IS recommended at PokerNations because of the other social networking activities, such as status updates, forum, account differentiation, possibility to participate in groups etc.

NeverWinPoker – 2.4 average points

NeverWinPoker - NWPNewerWinPoker (NWP) community looks very controversial as it the home of the world's largest uncensored poker forum. Everyone swears and curses, post porn and filthy pictures without being moderated, therefore not every blog can fit in here. Let’s check what's inside this degenerate community's blog engine:

  1. The posts are visible. They are displayed at the homepage. Poker Blog section displays the ones that are viewed the most. 5
  2. NeverWin also uses KFC Editor which allows text and HTML formatting. There are no special “Insert flash” and “add video” options for embeddable video codes, so it must be done by editing HTML. 4
  3. No possibility to customize the layout or design. 0
  4. URI is added automatically using Title words. No option to edit it. 0
  5. Add This option enables sharing the posts with lots of social networks and social bookmarking sites. 5
  6. It is possible to subscribe for both general and for a particular blog's RSS feed, however the navigation is rather complicated – the general RSS feed can be subscribed to from every post, but the RSS of a certain blog can only be subscribed to by using the browser from the blog page. 3
  7. The blog is indexed by the search engines in few days after being published. The blog URI is SEO friendly because it is generated using the Title words. Unfortunately there is no possibility to edit it. 3
  8. The view stats are not available. 0
  9. The scheduling is absent; no privacy options as well. 0
  10. Tagging is available, although there are no categories. 4

The total evaluation is the following 5+4+0+0+5+3+3+0+0+4=24/10=2.4. Personal verdict: blogging IS recommended at NeverWinPoker. However, the author has to be prepared to communicate with the members of this very specific poker community. From the technological point of view it is recommended to write a blog at NWP.

PokerBattle – 1.4 average points

PokerBattlePokerBattle is also quite a new poker social network. Their primary interest is poker videos. They have hired lots of poker pros to be their resident members of the community in order to attract people, but we are interested only in blogging here:

  1. The posts are visible. However, only pro member blogs are displayed at the homepage. 5
  2. No text formatting at all. Actually, you have to add the HTML codes to make spaces between paragraphs, so only HTML formatting is available. 0
  3. No possibility to customize the layout or design. 0
  4. URI is generated automatically with the blog post ID. No option of editing it. 0
  5. There are no options of sharing the blog with other social media. 0
  6. No RSS feed of a particular blog is available. 0
  7. The blog is indexed by the search engines in few days after being published. The URI is made of numbers, so it is not SEO friendly. 0
  8. The view and comment stats are available both for the public and the author. 3
  9. Scheduling and privacy options are available as well as the possibility to enable/disable the comments. 4
  10. Tagging is not available, however there are some pre-set categories. 2

The total evaluation is the following 5+0+0+0+0+0+0+3+4+2=14/10=1.4. Personal verdict: the social network is not suitable and NOT recommended for blogging. The goal of PokerBattle is poker video community, therefore blogging is not encouraged by it's developers.

TiltBook – 2.1 average points

TiltbookTiltbook is a social network built using the NING social network platform. We have analyzed another social network using the same platform – PPSN, but some features are different, therefore the evaluation must be done one more time.

  1. The posts are visible. They are displayed at the bottom of the home page. 5
  2. TiltBook uses the general Ning’s text editor which allows only basic text formatting. HTML codes can be added just beside the text. 1
  3. No possibility to customize the layout or design. 0
  4. URI is added automatically using the Title words. No option to edit it. 0
  5. Share This option is limited to 6 social networks and email services. 2
  6. There is a possibility to subscribe to the author’s blog as well as to all the posts. 5
  7. The blog is NOT indexed by Google. The blog list has not been indexed yet even though the first blog was posted on April 2007. However, the blog URI is SEO friendly as it is generated using the Title words with no numbers. Interesting fact is that this community can also be accessed at http://pokerunion.ning.com. 0
  8. No view statistics available. 0
  9. The scheduling option is present. You can also set to whom this blog entry can be visible and who can post comments, so basic privacy options are OK. 4
  10. Tagging is available. There are no categories. 4

The total evaluation is the following 5+1+0+0+2+5+0+0+4+4=21/10=2.1. Personal verdict: despite quite nice features and a rather positive rank blogging is NOT recommended in TiltBook because of the inactive community and undeveloped SEO of the entire social network. Why should someone participate in the online community with no chance of being found on Google?..

There are some other poker social networks with blogging options, but I have not reviewed them because of the absence of the community. There are some communities with the last blog posted 1-2 years ago, so they cannot be suggested for the beginning poker bloggers. I am still searching for sites like my.Pokernews and PokerWeblogs that have the goal of hosting poker blogs exclusively. If you know any, please let me know by posting your comments.