One of my fellow bloggers on AboutWeblogs.com asked: What are the advantages of a network versus going at it (blogging) alone?
I'm actually in the process of writing a related article on this. In fact, I just put up the quiz: Are You A Solo Blogger Or A Network Blogger?
Basically, you can think of solo blogging as similar to self-publishing and network blogging as publishing with a 'traditional' publisher. So, you can imagine what the ups and downs of each accordingly.
Anyway, here's a summary of the advantages of network blogging:
1) One of the biggest advantages, I believe, is SEO. The more incoming links you've got from different web pages, the better. And since in a network, nearly all pages will point to your blog - so, in theory, this is good for your blog. Imagine having over 500 pages linking to your blog in one month? That's what we've got now at AboutWeblogs.com. It's almost impossible to come up with as many pages and links by yourself in the same amount of time.
2) You get other people to help you promote your blog, as being in a network also means being part of a community. (at least on AboutWeblogs.com it is) For example, I just saw our Genetics and Public Health blogger commenting in another blog about writing. And, even though she's not required to do so, she mentioned The Freelance Writing Blog as a place to go. 🙂
3) You get a ready made audience in the form of fellow bloggers --- and their readers. There's often a flow of traffic in networks. We try to do it through cross-promotions, etc.
4) You don't have to worry about technical aspects of your blog - maintenance, additional features, when things go wrong, etc.. Someone else is worrying about these things for you. 😉
5) You get "free" web space. Probably not much of an advantage considering there are plenty of free blogging hosts out there, but still... how many of them are powerful and optimised enough for professional blogging? Network blog owners make sure they take care of these things - and then some.
6) You get a 'brand' - a membership. This way, the success of someone else on the network can flow to yours too. (On the down side, if someone messes up, the rest of us get affected as well. :-p).
7) You get people to help you to develop your blog in to a success - giving you tips on how to present things better, how to optimise your blog, where to find places to promote, how and where to get affiliates, etc.
I'm sure there are other advantages. And, of course, there are disadvantages too.
Ultimately, it's your call whether you feel like blogging solo or blogging with a network.