With commenting and social media, engaging in community is inevitable for both bloggers and blog readers. When we first launched TBM, we incorporated forums into the site, which was cool in theory but didn’t end up working out in the long run. The plugin we were using was pretty glitchy, so we removed the forums and have been trying to find different ways to build community in this space. One thing I’ve been learning is that engaging in community doesn’t take a ton of effort. If you’re able to put yourself out there, your readers and bloggy friends will readily engage in community with you. Everybody wants/needs it – we’ve just gotta make it happen. Here are a few of my favorite ways to create (positive) community through blogging.
7 Ways to Create Community With Your Blog
1. Create a user-friendly blog design to keep readers engaged. The other day I came across an amazing blog post but couldn’t figure out how to leave a comment. I’m pretty sure the blogger hadn’t intentionally removed comments area. The blog design was just very hard to figure out. When you’re designing your blog, remember to check it out as a visitor (log out of your dashboard) to see how user-friendly it is. You might be missing out on some good conversations!
2. Comment on other blogs in a non-spammy way. I’ll admit, I have a habit of reading interesting blog posts and forgetting to comment. I’m definitely trying to get better at that. Pinning blog posts is great is but engaging in the comments section is even better for community. Just make sure you’re commenting on the post because you love it, not because you want traffic or followers. Nobody likes spam.
3. Reply to comments on your own blog. This is another very simple way to build community! There are so many people out there who are passionate about the same things as you, so why not start a conversation about it and keep it going?
4. Ask specific questions at the end of your blog posts. Do you ever struggle to think of what to write at the beginning and end of your blog posts? I do. I usually begin by talking about the weather and end with “Have a nice weekend!” Ha. So predictable. As much as possible though, I try to end each post with a question. Most of what we write on TBM is subjective and based on our own opinions so we want to hear what other people think about various topics.
5. Make friends, not followers. The other day a random construction company started following me on Instagram. They were obviously just following anyone and everyone in hopes of getting followers back. Welp, I didn’t follow them back and I felt a little weird about having someone that random following me (I’m sure they had no interest in my Instagram feed). That said, I’m not going to pretend that getting new followers isn’t exciting. We are always happy to see that our social accounts are growing. But high numbers can only get you so far. What matters is the engagement and community that comes from followers. Reach out to people with similar interests as you, make genuine connections, and watch your blog grow in a way that’s natural. :)
6. Find blogger meetups or have blogging work dates. Blogging involves a lot of communication but it can still get lonely. It’s a lot of screen time and not a lot of in-person quality time. Check to see if there are any blogger meetups in your town! In Portland, I’ve gone to a few events for bloggers that have been really fun for networking and making friends. Every week or so, I also meet up with a friend and we both get coffee and work on our blogs/businesses. I love it because it allows me to engage in community and get out of my apartment, while still getting stuff done for my blog and biz.
7. Share your personality and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Sometimes I feel like blogging is becoming all business. We’re all successful entrepreneurs with tips and tricks to make money. Right? That can draw people in for sure. But when I see bloggers and biz owners keepin’ it real and sharing their failures along with their successes, I am so inspired and always, always read their content. So whether you’re sharing a DIY fail, your personal views on an issue, or just something silly you love (I’m all about this dog/honeybee video right now…seriously watch it), remember that people out there will be happy you shared a bit of your personal life. You’re awesome as a creative boss lady and you’re also awesome as a regular human being. Authenticity, vulnerability, and imperfection are the building blocks of genuine community. I truly believe that.
What are your favorite ways to participate in community in the blogosphere? What do you think could make it better? Share your thoughts with us!