5 Ways to Build a Blog Community

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.)

5 Ways to Build a Blog Community  |  Sweet Tea & Saving GraceIf 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.

commentluv
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.

FBAlmost 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?

DYOB: Blog Beautiful

The Blog Loft

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:

Abby

Julie testimonialMarianne

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.

The Sweet Spot Header
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.

Building a Framework  |  Sweet Tea & Saving GraceStarting 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:

-Newly Updated eBook
-Newly Updated Blog Binder Printables
-Newly Updated eBook
-Newly Updated Printables
-Access to the Exclusive Building a Framework Facebook Group
-15+ Step-by-Step Video Guides; Topics Covered:
  • Basic Blog Accounting
  • Google Analytics
  • Google AdSense
  • RSS
  • My Posting Routine
  • Plugins
  • BoardBooster
  • Tailwind
  • Buffer
  • CoSchedule
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • MailChimp
  • PicMonkey
  • Photoshop
-Newly Updated eBook
-Newly Updated Printables
-Access to the Exclusive Building a Framework Facebook Group
-15+ Step-by-Step Video Guides
-15 Video Interviews with Expert Bloggers; Topics Covered:
  • eBook Writing
  • Product Creation
  • The Tech Side of Blogging
  • Writing & Voice
  • Photography
  • Social Media
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Time Management
  • SEO
  • Ads
  • Working with Brands
  • Growing Your Following
  • Viral Content
  • Growing Your Email List
**These are the introductory prices that may go up at any time. They will never be lower than this again. Everyone who has previously purchased the eBook with get the updated version of package 1 for free. Similarly, if you purchase package 2, you will get the eBook updates AND additional videos added in the future at no cost. If you purchase package 3, you will get the eBook updates, the videos, and the interviews added in the future for free. So it really is in your best interest to buy now because you’ll be “grandfathered in” with the lowest price and always get the updates for the package you purchased.
Here are all the Expert Interviews included in Package #3:
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Want to see what those videos are all about?  I was fortunate enough to be included in this bonus material.  You can watch a sneak peek of my Expert Interview all about Growing an Email List right here:

READY FOR A GIVEAWAY OF EPIC PROPORTIONS?

Building a Framework Giveaway

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.

110 Responses

  1. My biggest issue with my blog is the technical side of it. I wish that I could just have someone design it and make it look how I know it could be…. For a reasonable cost, of course! ~Kim

  2. I am a subscriber to your newsletter!!!! Thanks for the opportunity to win this package prize… This Newby needs it! ~Kim

  3. My biggest blogging issue is finding the time and setting a schedule for posts – you would think as a teacher I would be more organized about blogging but I struggle!

  4. I do not have a blog, but have been seriously considering starting one and would love to win this to help me get started.

  5. My biggest blog need now is organization and time management. I’m focusing on my kids, which is my number one job, but would love to fit my blog back into my schedule!!

  6. Organization and time management are difficult for me with 4 children & homeschooling! I subscribed to your newsletter. Thank you!

  7. I get your newsletter! I love getting the updates in my inbox because sometimes I forget to come over to your site and check what’s going on.

  8. My biggest issue is figuring out how I can make money blogging. I have people visit, but nobody clicks my ads, or links. The thought of making an e-book to offer at this point seems time consuming….I’m only up to 5 months blogging!

    I like the idea of offering something for free when people sign up for the newsletter…I need to think of a craft idea I could offer.

  9. One of the hardest parts about this crazy world we call blogging, is promoting my blog. I have a really hard time with the self promotion side of things.

  10. Also, followed you on Twitter @Scatter Squirrel
    Instagram scatteredsquirrel
    and signed up for your news letter 🙂

  11. My biggest issue is learning all the social media…. and then actually remembering that they exist and that i need to actually post on them for them to work. Then after that it is deciding what to post because i am a giant perfectionist and it never feels good enough. So i guess my real biggest issue is i need to RELAX. 😛

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/317151998735959290/

    followed on instagram and on twitter.

    I so hope I win! I bought the $25 package because thats what i could afford. I would so love to have the resources available in the big $75 package. Those interviews and tutorial videos sound like heaven!

  12. I brought Twitter down from the cloud just so I could follow you on it.

    @cynthkling

  13. Hi Kirsten! I really like your blog!

    And there’s part of my problem! I love reading other people’s blogs to hear their writing “voice”, see if I can figure out what makes them successful (and sometimes, not), and I’m getting more and more into leaving comments. My challenge is that there is just so much good stuff out there to read that I’m not leaving myself enough time to write! So, I guess that Time Management is my biggest challenge.

    Sophia

  14. My biggest blogging issue is that I haven’t actually taken the plunge and launched it yet. But I love what you say about commenting and really becoming part of a community!

  15. My biggest blogging issue is that I have all these great ideas and life starts to get in the way and my blog suffers. I am constantly trying to find a great system to organize things and help myself stick with the plan. An expert opinion / mentor would be so incredibly helpful

  16. My biggest hurdle with blogging at the moment is letting myself shine through my posts. My husband says I sound to instructive instead of my readers getting to know a little bit about me. I struggle with writing content for I would rather work on the technical side of things. 🙂
    Pinned your post to my blogging tips: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/27232772723580553/ and signed up for your newsletter.
    Thanks for the chance to get Abby’s book!

  17. My biggest blogging issue, hmmmm getting more traffic would have to be it. I’m not looking to do crazy guerrilla tactics though. I know that slow and steady wins the race, so I am looking for guest post opportunities (other than being Community Lead at The SITS Girls) and being more cognizant of SEO best practices 🙂 I am following on Twitter, the Gram, pinned it and tagged you on the pin. I also signed up for your newsletter too!

    P.S. I LOVE Abby!

  18. My blggest blogging issue right now is just keeping on top of all the housekeeping duties! My comments are probably the worst offender. I use akismet and every single comment (even if it is from a real person!) goes to spam. So, every day I have to wade through my spam box to fish out the real comments and approve them. I’d love for them to be able to just go live so I could respond to them more quickly. It’s the next thing on blog improvement to do list.

  19. My biggest struggle right now is finding the time to sit down and write a blog post. Since just prior to Memorial Day, I cannot seem to find the time to get even half of the things done on my “to do” list!

  20. My biggest challenge is staying focused, finding enough time, and wading through all the information that’s out there to determine what’s relevant and meaningful to me. My focus now is building my blog posts and interacting with a few bloggers through social media.

  21. So I haven’t started my blog yet, I received an initial copy of Abby’s eBook last year and as excited as I was, I never had the time to start. I love to write, share my opinion and give that unique pov that many tell me I have. I have NO IDEA where to start. I love youtube, I owned a Blogspot account YEARS ago and now, I’m just blown away. The amount of resources available now, it is amazing. So now, I’m compiling, saving web address in my favorites, reading what I can and when I can. This is going to be an incredible journey, I can feel it.

  22. I followed you on Twitter. I really want to get started with blogging, but I don’t know how to get started on the right path. This seems like the best and most well thought out program, but alas I am a broke recent graduate 🙁

  23. As a new blogger I really don’t know what to do or how to go about it… I am just flying by the seat of my pants for the time being and need some kind of direction.

  24. Right now, my biggest issue is growing a following. I’m also thinking about switching to WordPress. I am currently using Blogger, but am not real happy with it. How hard is it to switch? Is it worth it to switch?

  25. My biggest struggle really boils down to time and balance. My daughter and I worked so hard to learn the process of designing and building our own blog. We learned to write html codes, used graphics to design our own header, logo, blog button, etc. with no prior knowledge of computer skills beyond the basics. We were so excited to start and had so many ideas but wow!……posting is exhausting! There is the planning, purchasing supplies, doing the actual project, taking photos at the best time of day and in the best light and then editing them (with no prior photography/editing skills) and THEN we still have to write the post, upload all the pics and then get it out there on social media. I think I need a nap just after typing that! I’m in awe of all of you that do that multiple times a week. We burned out quickly and have to re-evaluate. We love the idea of blogging together but we need to figure out how to work smarter not harder.

  26. thank you for sharing. My biggest challenge is deciding whether I should rebrand my blog to better align to my niche. I have three years of traffic/stats that I don’t want to lose, but the title doesn’t align to the niche I’m honing in on.

    I want to build my community, add a newsletter, etc, but want to make this decision first so I build from a place of strength.

    Any advice is appreciated.

  27. Thank you for sharing!

    The biggest challenge I’m having is whether to change my blog domain as part of a rebranding effort to better home into my niche.

    I have three years of content and traffic/stats, but want to take advantage of newsletters and other advice you offer. I feel like I need to make the domain name decision first so I don’t have to fix it later.

    Any advice is appreciated.

  28. My biggest struggle is getting the site set up and looking the way I want it to.

    I signed up for your newsletter, I would really like to read your book. Any help on managing a mailing list would be great. That’s still on my to do list. 🙂

  29. I began a blog almost two years ago as a hobby. I love to bring people closer to events and products. As a full time educator, I work on my blog in the evenings and throughout the summer. I have been able to grow it slowly but honestly, I am clueless! I just do not know what to do to take it to the next level. I know that there are bloggers out there like me who just need help and direction and I would love the opportunity to learn from people who know. People that have been in my place. Thank you for this opportunity!

  30. Hey Kristin! I’m just now getting to all of these comments so I apologize for the delay. I wanted to let you know that I rebranded my blog last year, after blogging for 3 1/2 years. You can read the details on my own rebranding HERE, and feel free to email me if you want more information! Good luck!

  31. Hey Leslie! Sorry I’m just getting back to you. I made the switch from Blogger to WordPress about a year and a half ago and I’m so glad I did it. I paid someone to move me because I had 3 years of content and didn’t want to mess it up, but I know some bloggers who have done it themselves. In my opinion, it’s worth every penny and headache to make the move. There’s so much more you can do in WP. Just be prepared – there is a learning curve. After Blogger, WP is like a foreign language so be sure to give yourself time to relearn how to do even the basic stuff. Good luck!

  32. Kirsten, I know this is an old post and you may not monitor it any longer…but I just ‘found you’ — and I’m so excited. I just started my blog (www.taylorkatehome.com) and I have SO many questions. I have taken a page full of notes reading this post. You’re right, you can’t ‘just write it, and they’ll come’ so all the tips for growing a community were very helpful.
    This is one of the best posts/articles I’ve read on growing through giving.
    Technical things are a real struggle for me, so SEO and all that ‘stuff’ gives me the ‘deer in headlights’ feeling…but the suggestions you made are easy enough that anyone can do them.
    Can’t wait to read other posts.

Comments are closed.

MEET KIRSTEN

I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea Ministry provides a space for women to enjoy encouragement and practical tips for living a more intentional and fulfilling life through Bible study, efficient use of time and space in their home, and finding joy in the simple things in life. Enjoy your time here & be blessed!

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