All successful blogs are communities, fact! And we all want to build successful blogs don’t we? So in this post I wanted to firstly highlight the huge benefits of building a responsive and loyal blogging community and secondly provide you with some great ways to do that.
For those of you thinking, “how the hell can I build a blogging community when my blog has little or no traffic”, fear not because we are going to touch on ways to get those first, lucky few visitors through the doors of your brand spanking new blog later on in this post.
It’s important for you to understand the importance on concentrating on the select few at the start. For those of you who have just started your blogging journey, it’s likely these readers will be all you have anyway, which is perfect for you and great for them.
Chasing or targeting thousands upon thousands of readers at the start is never a good idea, building a successful blog is a step by step process, start small and grow.
By targeting a few lucky readers at first (and yes they are lucky) you will be able to seriously love them up! I obviously don’t mean loving them up in a sexual way, I mean you can basically give them your undivided attention. You can provide these guys with great individual advice, answer their questions, solve their problems and talk to them one on one.
These initial readers, who may not know it themselves are forming the foundations to your community in which many will become your brand ambassadors. Word of mouth is important in all forms of business, with blogging being no exception, the happier these guys are, the more positive the words coming from their mouths will be.
So, Why Build A Community In The First Place?
To Increase Your Blogs Usefulness
A great blog is always a useful one, it has to be. Whether that usefulness is teaching, entertaining & amusing or simply keeping readers up to date, it has to be useful. Think about it for a second, think about the blogs you visit on a regular basis, why do you keep going back? Yep because they are useful in some way.
How Does Building A Community Make It More Useful?
Different points of view, different opinions & more expert advice. Getting your blogging community to participate and generate content for your blog is something we are going to touch on later on in this article, but first I wanted to explain its importance.
You see when you were choosing the topic for your blog, I’m sure the main reason for deciding on that subject was based around your love, interest and/or knowledge of the given subject. If it wasn’t, it honestly really should have been. Your blog should be like your baby, your pride and joy. Unlike niche sites, which I set up regularly on subjects I have absolutely no interest in what so ever like “How To Get Rid Of Cat Urine Odour”
This blog is going to be my life’s work, I intend to keep it going for many years to come, unlike niche sites which come and go.
Make’s Your Life Easier
I honestly would never set up a blog whereby the topic was of no interest, I just couldn’t do it. It is however likely that you’re not going to know everything in your given subject. You may receive questions in your comments section that you aren’t that familiar with, which will often be answered by your community. You will also be able to rely on them to add insightful responses to your posts, enhancing the content on your blog.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, while making money from our blogs shouldn’t be the only reason for starting them up, it will more often than not be a good reason for doing so. It’s certainly a reason for me! An active community will always increase the page views on your site, this will in turn bring about more revenue, especially if you are monetising via adsense or selling direct advertising space internally or via a site like BuySellAds.
A strong community will also persuade first time visitors to come back for more, many will want to become a part of that community, thus making it bigger and stronger.
Getting the Initial Traffic
As I mentioned at the start of this post, some of you may be wondering how the hell you can start building your blogging community with the amount of traffic you are currently receiving. While it’s important to start small and build, if that small equals zero, it’s time to start promoting the content on your blog.
I touched on this topic in great detail with the video post How to Get Your First 25,000 Blog/Website visitors. In the post I give away 10 amazing ways to get a ton of traffic to your blog, I uncover some great sites and communities to drive traffic from, some of which you may never of heard and the best part is, the majority of these methods are free.
A great way to leverage social media is to target the smaller guy that is targeting the bigger guy. It’s important that you start building a few connections to help spread the word and get your name out there, a great way to do this is to get mentioned or guest post on other related sites. While the bigger blog owners in your niche, maybe a little harder to connect with the smaller guy certainly won’t be.
To find these opportunities pay close attention when an authoritive figure posts a link or updates a status, you will see a flurry of activity from a number of blog owners. Find out where they are blogging and make contact, whether that be via a simple email or by making a few relevant comments on their blog.
Building a Community
Ok, so the next step is to actually turn these visitors into a small community which we can firstly do via our:
Write your blog posts in a conversational tone, crack a joke or two, make light of something, write like you speak, tell stories and try to keep your readers entertained and engaged. Use pictures, videos, infographics, anything that is going to make your blog and posts more appealing.
Try and be different, try and stand out from the crowd, be authentic and always keep up with the times. For example I talk about SEO on this blog, SEO is constantly changing, it’s up to me to keep up with the times and provide you guys with the latest up to date information.
If your struggling for ideas check out 10 brilliant ways to generate blog content ideas.
Sharing is caring so make your posts as shareable as possible. A well-crafted title will always draw attention to your blog posts and as the old saying goes if you don’t ask you won’t get, so ask your readers to share your work, making sure the share buttons are visible throughout.
Not only will this enhance your content but also build your blogging community. Ask questions in your posts, particularly at the end, give them a reason to post a comment. Invite interaction on your social media accounts and run polls and competitions.
You could try and secure a free piece of software related to your industry or maybe a book and use it as a free giveaway. You could then set up a post based around the giveaway and ask readers to comment on why they should win it.
Offer Guest Posting
This is something I’m considering for my own blog. While many will use guest posting as a way to get free content for their blog (which is fine if your building something sub-standard with no real care for building a community) but you can utilize guest posting in a far better way, by handing readers the microphone to your site. Giving readers the opportunity to engage with your audience outside of the comments section can be a great way to build buzz, with other members realising they would also like a little go!
Make Your Readers Famous
Use your contacts in the movie industry to land one of your readers a small part in a new Hollywood Production! If you have no contact, then you could always write a post about their site! You might also ask your readers to make a comment on one of their posts. Why not set up a reader of the week competition, with the winner receiving a small prize. People love prizes, I know I do anyway!
Reader Centred Posts
I recently wrote a blog post on how to get your backlinks indexed, because I had been emailed the question several times and realised it was information some of you needed. I made it very clear in my post that I didn’t personally do anything to get the links I built indexed, but still managed to research and highlight several ways that it could be achieved.
The point I’m trying to make is cater for your audience, if you are being asked the same questions over and over, write about it or produce a video demonstrating how to do it, your community will appreciate you listening to them and responding.
Utilise the Comment Section
I found this great post on utilising your comment section to build relationships with your community. Simple things like firstly responding to your comments and secondly replying with readers names makes a huge difference. It’s also a great idea to have a short bio at the end of each post and to never sound like a know it all or condescending in your responses.
So, what do you guys think? Do you think it’s important to build a community around your blog? Have any of you used any of the methods I’ve mentioned to any great success? Maybe I’ve missed something that you would like to share? Be good as always to hear from you.