This post contains affiliate links.
When I first started blogging more than five years ago, it felt like I was all alone in a giant ocean known as the internet. It didn’t take long, though, before I realized that blogging isn’t something I had to do alone. Once I started reaching out to other bloggers, and interacting with my readers, blogging became so much more than my online journal. It became a passion. If you’re just beginning your journey into blogging, or just thinking about getting started, just know you don’t have to do it alone. Here are 5 Ways to Build a Blog Community. (Oh yea, there’s a giveaway, too.)
If you have been thinking about starting a blog because you want to get rich, what I’m about to share won’t do you any good. Blogging is most definitely NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s hard work – a lot more work than you could possibly imagine. But, if you do it right, the rewards are worth it.
Just like most things in life, however, you can’t…or shouldn’t try to do it all on your own. Blogging is a lot more fun, and a lot easier, when done with the help of a community. But if you’re brand spankin’ new to blogging, how can you create a community?
I have a few ideas.
1. Spread the comment love.
When you’re first starting out in the blog world, it’s easy to become focused on creating your content, sharing it on social media, and designing your blog. However, one of the best ways to grow your readership is to seek out other bloggers in your niche and become a true fan. Leave comments on their blog posts – real comments that you put some thought into, not just something like, “Hey I like your blog! Come visit mine!”
Show up to support other bloggers regularly and they’ll begin to take notice of you, too, and return the favor.
And when you do start seeing those comments on your blog, be sure to respond to them. Each and every one, in a timely manner. Readers who actually take the time to leave a comment will love receiving a response, even if it’s simply a quick, “Thank you so much!” It means a lot. Readers are more inclined to return when they’ve been treated nicely before, and they’ll be more inclined to tell their friends about your new home on the internet.
HERE’S A TIP: Give bloggers a chance to shine when they leave a comment for you by using CommentLuv. It’s a free WordPress plugin that automatically generates a link to their last blog post when they add their blog URL. Also, be sure your comment system notifies people when you respond.
2. Be social on social media.
If you have a blog, you should have coordinating social media accounts, but don’t just set them and forget them.
Let’s talk about Facebook first. Every blogger has their own method to the madness, and any blogger will tell you that Facebook isn’t what it used to be in regards to reach. But I still think it’s important, and I use it regularly.
Over the years, I’ve built quite an active community on my blog’s Facebook page. I struggled for a long time, though, posting regularly but hearing only crickets. About a year ago, I started treating my blog’s Facebook page as if it were my personal page – sharing pictures of my family and my dogs, funny things that happened in my day-to-day life, other blog posts or Pinterest finds that I love, and asking questions and seeking feedback from my readers.
Almost immediately, the community was buzzing with activity, and hasn’t slowed down since. While the algorithms have drastically changed and the majority of my Facebook fans rarely see every post, my numbers have remained consistent, and continue to grow. Why? I’m social. I talk to people. I answer questions, I respond to comments, and I encourage others to share things on my page. My readers feel like they know me.
While it’s virtually impossible to be active on every social media network, find the ones that fit you and your niche and make them a priority. Actually talk to people – don’t just blow the place up with 1000 of your own blog posts. Nobody likes to be spammed, so be sure to share more of other people’s content than your own.
3. Join fabulous Facebook groups and/or Google + communities.
There are literally thousands upon thousands of Facebook groups and Google + communities for bloggers in every niche. Do a quick search on Facebook for “blogging” and you’ll see tons of them. Pick a few, read the description to see if it might be a good fit for you, then request to join. Once you’re in, be sure to introduce yourself and your blog, and be actively involved in the daily discussions. You will very quickly meet other bloggers in your niche.
Another bonus to these groups? Free education. Some of the best blogging advice I’ve ever received has come from the amazing girls in my Facebook groups. Other bloggers willingly share what they’ve learned, so if you’re having a problem or need some feedback, just ask! And remember to use common courtesy – say “thank you”. 🙂
Want a few suggestions?
The Creative’s Corner (great for entrepreneurial bloggers) – sign up by joining the mailing list HERE
Building a Framework – more about this awesome group in a minute!
4. Promote other bloggers genuinely.
A lot of bloggers, myself included, have created a product or offer a service, and they depend on other bloggers to help spread the word. If their product of service aligns with the vision you have for your blog, help them promote it!
I released my first ebook and course about a month ago, An Inbox of Opportunity. When I reached out to my blog friends asking for help, they were more than happy to spread the word. Whether it’s through social media messages, guest posts on other blogs, or a promotional post on your own blog, there are tons of ways to help out other bloggers during the launch of their new product.
Here are some of my friends who helped me launch my ecourse:
I love helping my blog friends celebrate and share their latest accomplishments, and I’m actually doing just that today! (You didn’t even know it, huh?) I’ll get to that in just a minute.
When you build a community with other bloggers, you are also building a marketing team ready and willing to help you promote when you need it. And it doesn’t even have to be a product or service – you might just need some promotional assistance with a blog post you are particularly proud of, or help spreading the word and increasing pageviews on a sponsored post.
Whatever the case, bloggers love helping other bloggers. Get involved with a strong community and you’ll always know someone who has your back.
5. Create & maintain an email list.
I can’t preach the power of a solid email list enough. (I mean, I wrote a book about it!)
If you have a blog, you should have an email list. Your readers are the #1 key to growing your blog, and social media, as I mentioned earlier, just doesn’t have the reach to get it done. Sure, you’ll develop a community on social media, but you can create a targeted and loyal community of true followers using email marketing.
People who take the time to subscribe to your newsletter and give you precious space in their inbox must really like you! Be sure to treat them like the VIPs they are, get to know them, and consistently provide something of value over and above what they can find on your blog.
I depend on MailChimp to get the job done, and provide my readers with the choice of receiving each new blog post, a weekly newsletter, or both. I create valuable opt-in offers, like an 8-week meal plan, that each new subscriber receives as soon as they sign up, then continue providing value in every single email they receive from me. (Want to see? Sign up HERE.)
I give my subscribers early notification of upcoming blog posts, and allow them to steer the direction of the blog and the newsletter by creating short surveys to get their feedback on my ideas. I also love to share more of my life behind the scenes with my subscribers, and encourage a response to my emails by asking questions.
Want to join an active community already in progress, and learn TONS of valuable information about starting & growing your blog?
Of course you do.
You know that community I mentioned in #3, Building a Framework? It was created by my dear friend Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog, and is for anyone who gets their hot little bloggy hands on her amazing ebook, Building a Framework.
I’m honored to be a part of the re-release of this incredible blog resource. Why a re-release? Because Abby has made some major updates to the ebook + there are tons of extra bonuses that go hand-in-hand with the book.
Starting today, you can get the updated version and all those extras for Building a Framework. Already a veteran blogger? I promise you’ll find incredible value in this book, regardless of your blogging history.
By the way, if you purchased the first edition of this book, you’ll automatically recieve a link to the new version for free! But, you can also upgrade to one of the new package deals!
Abby has put together 3 packages for you to choose from:
- Basic Blog Accounting
- Google Analytics
- Google AdSense
- My Posting Routine
- eBook Writing
- Product Creation
- The Tech Side of Blogging
- Writing & Voice
- Social Media
- Time Management
- Working with Brands
- Growing Your Following
- Viral Content
- Growing Your Email List
READY FOR A GIVEAWAY OF EPIC PROPORTIONS?
HOW TO ENTER:
- Giveaway is open to everyone since both products are digital resources. Giveaway is open June 10, 2015 at 5:00AM EST until June 16. 2015 at11:59PM EST.
- 5 entries per person – 1 per comment. See below:
1 ENTRY = Leave a comment telling me your biggest blogging issue or concern at the moment.
1 ENTRY = Follow me on Twitter @sweetteagrace & let me know you’ve done so.
1 ENTRY = Follow me on Instagram @sweetteagrace & let me know you’ve done so.
1 ENTRY = Share this post on Pinterest, then leave a link to your pin in a comment below.
1 ENTRY = Sign up for my newsletter HERE & let me know you’ve done so.
Winner will be contacted on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, and will receive An Inbox of Opportunity from me, and Building a Framework from Abby.
Thanks so much, and good luck!
Thank you so much to Abby for providing me with an advanced copy of Package #3 of Building a Framework, and for including me in the Expert Interviews. Links to Building a Framework are affiliate links.