Benefits of Blogging – Building a Community

This post is the second in the Benefits of Blogging series, where I will cover the many benefits of blogging, for bloggers and readers.

What could be better than gaining a worldwide audience with blogging? Taking that audience and creating a community.

Benefits of Building a Community

Have you ever wanted to find people to share a particular interest, but maybe friends and family are not that interested? By blogging, you can build a community that not only wants to hear your opinion about a topic, but wants to share theirs with you as well. A community interacts with you on the things you care about. The benefits of having community members is that they:

  • Come back time and time again
  • Add insightful comments to your articles
  • Inspire you to write more
  • Help you when you ask for advice
  • Ask for your help or advice
  • Share ideas that they think will help you
  • Share your articles with others
  • Recommend you to their community

Having a great blogging community also means that community members on your site will get to know each other, expanding their network and reach as well.

Now that you see some of the benefits of building a community, let’s look at some ways to do it!

Benefits of Blogging – Building a Community

Ways to Build a Community

So how does one build a community with their blog?

Commenting

The best way to start building community is through commenting. If you are new to blogging, find blogs that are similar in topic to yours and start commenting. I don’t mean the quick, drive-by “Nice post” comments. I mean really read the articles, and offer some useful comments. Consider your comments as information that future readers will find in addition to the article. Prove that you have thoughtfully read the article and include experience you have with the topic, how you think the topic could benefit yourself and others, and if there is anything you would add that would make the topic more valuable.

Also, be sure to reply to comments on your blog. Some commentators leave in questions or ideas that they have on your topic, and are genuinely interested in seeing your response. If they never get a response, they may think that you are not interested in their views, and may be less likely to comment in the future, thus diminishing the “community” feel of your site.

One way to see what topics are gaining the most community interest is by analyzing comment subscribers. For example, WordPress 2.7.1 users with the Subscribe to Comments can go into their Tools > Subscriptions and see a list of posts with the most subscribers, and also a list of commentators with the number of posts that they have subscribed to next to their email.

If you don’t have time to reply to all of your comments, at least be sure that you look at which commentators subscribe to the most topics (you can click on the email address to see which topics they are subscribed to) and be sure to respond to them. They subscribe because they want to be alerted to your replies! And if you want another reason why it is beneficial to reply to comments, think of it this way – anyone subscribed to a particular post will be emailed when replies have been added, and thus, reminded of your site and post via email.

Strengthening on Social Networks

While your focus is building community on your site, you should also research what networks are most popular with your community. Extending your blogging community on social networks allows you to:

  • Learn more about what interests your community.
  • Share your other projects with your community – things that do not quite fit with your blog, but you know your community may also enjoy.
  • Remind your community about your site by communicating with them in other areas as well – some of your community members may inhabit Twitter or Facebook more than their RSS reader.
  • Have the means to contact your community in case of blog downtime so they know you haven’t disappeared from the blogging world.

How to Tell if You Have Built a Community

Here are some ways to tell if you have, or on your way to, a successful blogging community:

  • Do you have a group of “regulars” who always are commenting on your site?
  • Do you recognize your readers on other networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)?
  • Do your readers interact with each other as well as with you?
  • Do you notice your readers commenting on other sites that you also comment on?
  • Do your readers share your articles with their online community?
  • Have you had visitors say they are visiting you from another reader’s site?

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, congratulations! You have a blogging community.

Your Blogging Community

Do you feel you have a good blogging community? Can you think of other benefits or ways to build your blogging community?

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About Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and ghostwriter who specializes in online marketing. Connect with her on Twitter, and Google +

Comments

  1. Excellent information. I’ve not yet been able to build a community on any of my blogs although I’ve had more comments on ElderCareCafe than any other. I especially like your list of how you know you are a community. Thanks for sharing and thank you Bonnie.
    Edie Dykeman recently posted…Silver Surfers: Internet Usage Among Older Generations InfographicMy Profile

    • You can build a community on any blog, but it takes consistent effort. Make it a point to post on your blog every week and you’ll find people come back to read the new prose. If you disappear for weeks at a time, it’s not a good sign to your followers so try to be more active and you’ll see better results with your blog, Edie.

  2. A good way to look at your blog indeed. I think the key thing is to be patient and look to build trust over time with people with those 2-way relationships.

    Keeping it real to who you are is also really important. I’ve done a couple of really personal blog posts recently just because I’ve had such a… different… few months. All while setting up a new business/blog! Time will tell how it’s going down I guess. LOL
    Una Doyle recently posted…3 Business Tips inspired by Silver Linings Playbook Movie and Stephen CoveyMy Profile

    • There’s no reason to act like someone you’re not.

      I never could understand why some people try to be like another marketer instead of just being themselves. You’re bound to build a better community when you exercise YOUR personality rather than not.

  3. Great tips here! It feels pretty good as your community starts to take shape but it also takes time so don’t get discouraged. Communities like Bonnie Gean’s didn’t happen overnight.
    Marilyn Thompson recently posted…Top 10 WordPress Plugins You Should UseMy Profile

    • That’s true Marilyn – like anything else, communities take time to form but once they do — look out! :)

      It helps to be yourself because the people who resonate with how you look, feel, act and teach are bound to find you faster. Otherwise, you’re going to attract the wrong audience and you won’t be happy and neither will they!

      So… just be YOU!

  4. Absolutely spot on. Communities are what will drive the success of your blog. I work really hard to try and build communities in my niche site because once that happens the traffic and interaction is there but so is your authority…after all if that many people are there to listen to you, you must be doing something right! Great guest post!
    Misty Spears recently posted…Kindle Book Publishing Project Update #1 – Getting StartedMy Profile

    • Thanks Misty! I totally agree with you. Communities are easy to form as long as you make it a point to serve an audience. Treat people like kings and queens and you won’t have any problem filling your castle. :)

  5. Great information! I am on a few community now online and I find it very helpful, it helps gain on traffic on the blog. I wish to find more community :)
    Eng Tinkham recently posted…Build Better Knees program is available now…My Profile

  6. Great post, it’s a nice reminder when it all seems overwhelming. Thanks for sharing!

    • Nothing about creating friendships should be overwhelming, Allison.

      If it becomes too much to handle – step back. Breathe and give yourself some space.

      Making friends online should be as easy as you made them in high school. The first RULE should always come back to “being YOURSELF” and allow the people meant to follow you to find you.

      If you’re quirky and humorous – don’t hide it. Share it freely! Like minds will find you faster and stay longer too!

  7. This post makes me feel really great about my blog. I have regulars who comment and who I have come to love interacting with. I really love my little community. I’m pinning this to my blogging board so I can share with other bloggers.

  8. I am a big advocate on building communities, Kristi! This post definitely hits the right chord with me (and no doubt will resonate with many of my followers) as we’re all a family here!

    Welcome to the blog and thank you so much for allowing me to share your wonderful wisdom!
    Bonnie Gean recently posted…The Top 10 Projects I Need to Finish This YearMy Profile

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