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This week is Build Community week of the #SITS31DBBB Challenge. You can join us for all or any part of the challenge! Today, Natalie from Mommy of a Monster is here to talk about the commandments of building a strong blog community.
So you’ve just started blogging, and maybe you even have a few regular readers other than your mom and best friend. Or maybe you have been blogging for awhile and have decided that you want to take your blogging to “the next level.” Whatever the case may be, building community takes a lot of work.
Just what is community? It’s your group of loyal supporters – those readers you can count on. The people on Twitter that you know will retweet your tweets and that you can ask to help you promote things. Those people who “like” you on Facebook and share information and posts they find on your page on their page as well. Those people who recommend your blog to their readers and friends. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But how do we do it? Well, that’s the hard part.
As I said before, building a community around your blog takes a lot of work. A LOT of work. There are some things that I did in the beginning that really paid off and helped me to grow my blog’s readership as well as my social media presence.
Thou Shalt Respond To Comments
If you are only getting one or two comments a day, this might not seem like a very big deal. But when you start getting 20 or 30 comments a day, it takes a lot of time to respond to each comment thoughtfully.
The reason why this is so important is because it begins developing relationships with your readers. People see that you are reading their comments and that you care about what they say. They want interaction with you, or why would they keep coming back?
Don’t get me wrong; sometimes you don’t have time to respond to each comment, every day. Instead, try to visit your reader’s blog and leave a comment there. Just let them know that you are trying to establish a relationship with them.
Thou Shalt Join Communities
There are so many communities out there to be active in! SITS, of course, and BlogFrog is a great one, too. Twitter and Facebook are both communities too, and if you are a blogger, you should definitely be on both! By doing so, you can “talk” to people and start discussions to find bloggers similar to you or your interests. For example, I’ll start a discussion on Blog Frog or send a tweet on Twitter about something I posted on my blog and include a link back to my blog. That draws people to your blog.
Thou Shalt Give Out Bloggy Love
Stumble posts. Retweet. Like on Facebook. Link up to other blogs. There are so many ways to spread the love! If I get an idea for a post from another blogger, I always give them the credit and link back to their blog when I post it. I know it seems like that may draw people away from your blog when what you really want is for people to stay, but in my experience it’s been really helpful.
Thou Shalt Get Around
Now get your head out of the gutter! What I mean is to guest post and participate in memes and link ups…three very simple ways to “meet” new readers. If you’ve never been asked to guest post, maybe ask a friend if you could swap guest posts. And if you are new to guest posting, make sure that you check out my post about Guest Posting Etiquette to read all about what you should know.
What have you done to grow your blog’s community? What has worked and what hasn’t worked for you? What advice would you give a blogger currently trying to grow their community?
Looking For More Blog Tips?
If you are looking for more ideas on how to stay motivated both in blogging and in life, then you do not want to miss these posts:
- How to Run A Blog Series
- How To Request Guest Posts
- How to Set A Blog Budget
- 5 Ways To Avoid Blogging Burnout
- How to Write a Blog Post in 15 Minutes or Less
- Hanging Onto Your Blogging Mojo
- 4 Ways to Find and Keep Your Motivation
- 10 Blogging Pitfalls You Should Avoid
About the Author
Natalie is a work-from-home mother of three children: her 4-year-old son and 2-year-old twin girls. She writes Mommy of a Monster and Twins, which is all about the day-to-day chaos that comes with chasing three kids in three different directions, usually all at the same time. In her free time, which she rarely has anymore, she reads, cooks, gardens, drinks wine, and works as a freelance writer and social media consultant. She’s also a Twitter addict.
Want to Write for Us?
Are you interested in guest posting for The SITS Girls? Then let us know! Our super easy process is described in this post. We’d love to drive more page views to what you have to say.
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Thank you so much for posting on this topic. I do have one question, though, that may seem obvious to some, but I’m new so please forgive….
I understand the concept of replying to comments left on your blog posts and totally agree. However, when responding…. do you send your comment through your email to the person leaving the comment (which is a whole lot faster, but don’t end up displayed anywhere) or do you respond directly on the person’s blog.
Confusing? It is to me. Would appreciate any feedback given.
ana patricia says
This is such a useful post!! Thank you! Natalie and SITS, you just made my evening 🙂
Dr. Ann says
Important and valuable points in this post! It’s just like real life, if you’d like to have a friend, remember first to *be* a friend!
Oh me gosh, I just found these. I’m going to read every one I can get my hands on. Computer community is almost as important to me as my real life community. I used to be a part of a homeschooling forum and we built real friendships through it that I still remember. I’m looking forward to building a new circle of friends through my new blog. Thanks!
Modern Gypsy says
Great post! Reminds me that I haven’t been to blogfrog in ages!!
Thanks for these tips – I think responding to comments is especially important.
Really appreciate the help in building a better blog.
I finally figured out how to turn on the ‘reply’ feature on blogger and it has made interacting with my visitors and responding to their comments so much easier! I feel like I can actually reach out to them or thank them, in addition to just visiting their blog. It’s actually made blogging more exciting for me. Great article! Glad to see reinforcement to what I’m doing.
(FL) Girl with a New Life says
This really is so much more work than I ever could have imagined. Still, I am constantly amazed how gratifying my relationship with my blog community has become.
Ms. Adams says
I think it’s really important to respond to reader comments. It’s disheartening when you take the time to comment on a post and never hear anything back from the writer. Although, I’m sure this gets really hard when you have 100s of comments but there’s got to be a way to make your readers feel like you appreciate them.
You are right. Building a community in blogging takes work. I spend at least 2 hours each night reading comments, replying, leaving comment love for others. But I know have a beautiful community of women surrounding me and I them. I am not so good are retweeting (since I hardly use Twitter) but am trying to link up posts on Facebook!
Simone @Greatfun4kids says
Hi… these are all GREAT tips for new bloggers to build your community.
After blogging for nearly four years now, I’m finding that a whole bunch of bloggers in my circles have begun suffering “blogging fatigue”… or as they often put it “they’ve lost their blogging mojo”.
One of the reasons for this can be the pressure we sometimes put on ourselves to keep up with an ever widening number of blogs, leaving comments and replying to them.
Blog etiquette is great AND important (especially when you are trying to build your blog)… but sometimes it can become a real burden and can steal your blog-joy.
Somewhere is the balance. Blog etiquette at a sustainable level…
Real friendships without a sense of guilt or obligation…
what do you think is reasonable/manageable when your blog has grown beyond start-up level?
Lisa Cash Hanson says
Help people as much as possible. Many times in a comment I will be asked how I accomplished something and I share whatever I know that can help them.
If an opportunity isn’t right for you don’t say no pass it along. This has happened many times. I was approached and asked if I’d like some free crafts and then review. I’m not really a craft person but I knew one of my readers was. I turned them on to her, she got it and was super excited to be paid.
She’s also one of my most loyal readers. I didn’t do it for that reason but people care about you when you care about them.
Megan (Best of Fates) says
I liked the advice, but if you’re braced for a little constructive criticism, I feel the post could have used more cheese references. Then again, maybe I’m just hungry.
Erin @ His & Hers says
These are great tips! Community is really one of the most important parts of blogging…if I didn’t have some bloggy friends, I’d honestly have no incentive to post regularly.
Life As Wife says
Fantastic post! I passed it along to a friend who just started her blog.
Great job, Nat! And congrats on posting here. I’m pinnin this!
Great tips indeed. It gets overwhelming a bit in the beginning when you are trying to find your community and grove. I found the best way is to return comments and pick one community to build strong relationships with and then slowly venture out while still remaining active and loyal. There is too many communities and memes and not all of them are helpful and friendly to newcomers and etiquette so it’s important to keep looking and eventually finding the one that fits.
[email protected] says
I reply to almost every comment left on my blog. It takes time but I enjoy it. For me, it is like having a conversation. I’d add too that you should get over to other blogs and comment there as well.
Stephanie's Mommy Brain says
These are great tips! Joining other communities doesn’t have to be complicated. I’ve picked out about half a dozen blogs that I enjoy and relate to my blog in some way. I try to make a point to comment on most of their posts, share on FB, and pin on Pinterest. Rather than spreading myself around, I’m trying to focus on building relationships within those specific communities.
Betty Manousos says
great tips! thanks for sharing this great advice!
have a great day, everyone!
Sonia Barton says
I can in vision a printable! Great job. I need to do better at all of them.
Aimee Giese | Greeblemonkey says
Lady Jennie says
I’m a faithful commenter but I always forget about tweeting and liking posts! I have to remember this.
These are all great tips! I find what’s most helpful for me is responding to comments, whether via personal e-mail or a visit back to their blog to leave a thoughtful comment.
Well I am definitely running behind in this 31 Days, but I will eventually catch up. There have been a lot of great topics and I intend to read each and every one 🙂
Susan in the Boonies says
I was the guest poster once for a community of bloggers where I was a newcomer. They put out a tweet, asking if anyone would like to be a guest poster for them, and I responded.
Apparently they have guest posters on a regular basis. They had a well worded, well thought out system for how I needed to format my post, etc. I did my homework, crafted a pretty dang good post, wrote a post that was sensitive to their values, and gave them no technical hurdles to wrangle with in terms of format.
I linked my readers back on my own blog to this community and to my post, and tweeted about my post. In other words, I did my part to drive traffic their way. I had at least 30 comments, from my friends, who came over and visited that community.
The people who had solicited me to do a guest post had told me on the front end that they would be doing 5 or 6 tweets during the day, promoting my post. They didn’t do one. I never heard back from them, thanking me for all my work, or for the traffic I drove their way.
Honestly? I felt used.
I read the post you linked us to, Natalie, on your blog, on Guest Posters. Well done!
Kerry Ann (Vinobaby) says
Great tips! Thanks. I’ve been a member of blogfrog forever, but I never go there. It seems rather overwhelming. Does anyone use it regularly and/or get a good response from it?
JDaniel4's Mom says
Natalie’s post on etiquette is so worth reading!