Tag-Archive for » building community «

Sample of wordpress dashboard - commentsUntil comments begin to show up, new bloggers often feel like they’re in an echo chamber – talking to themselves.

For some blogs, it can take months before someone comments. For others, a matter of days.

It’s when we feel what we’re sharing isn’t being read, we think of giving up.

After all, blogging is supposed to be interactive.

Today’s Lesson

I feel fortunate that I receive the amount of comments I do. Comments inspire me to continue on. Comments inspire new posts. And via comments I get to meet other bloggers.

But it wasn’t always that way. My audience (or lack thereof) remained silent for quite some time.

I’d publish posts, but no one seemed to care.

But I didn’t give up.

What worked for me were five things.

  1. I visited other blogs and left comments.
  2. Not every blogger reciprocated with comments on my blog, but some did, as did some of their readers. HINT: Comment on new or smaller blogs. Generally, A-list bloggers do not reciprocate comments.

  3. I linked to other blogs, but I did it a little different.
  4. I set up a series which I named, “New Blog Of The Week” (NBOTW) and hunted for new bloggers (usually under four months old). I used Tuesday as my NBOTW day and would write a post showcasing their blog, including excerpts from three of their posts/pages and included links to them.

    This was a slow process, but over time, I began to build my readership, as well as my blog community.

    I’ve discontinued this series, however, the list of 90 blogs remains here.

  5. Another important aspect to receiving comments, ASK questions.
  6. Even if you feel your post is complete, it doesn’t hurt to ask your readers, “Did I forget anything?’, “What are your thoughts on this topic?”, or ____fill in the blank___.

    Give readers a reason to comment.

  7. I answered the comments I received.
  8. Although I occasionally miss comments which show up on older posts, my goal is answer all comments I receive on this blog.

    Unfortunately, due to the amount of spam I receive, I closed the comments on posts older than 90 days.

  9. I asked a comment expert for additional advice.
  10. Liz Strauss, of Successful and Outstanding Bloggers is known for the huge amount of comments she has received over the years so naturally she was the one I approached for advice.

    In a two part interview, I asked Liz, How to Maximize Blog Comments and How To Get Readers To Join Your Community.

    The information Liz shared is priceless.

For some bloggers, comments aren’t important, but for others, they become the real reason to continue on.

Today’s Assignment

What technique(s) do/did you use to entice your readers to comment?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

It’s in the comments where the value lies is this blog. For everyone who reads this blog and/or has shared your thoughts, thank you.

Comment sections are where bloggers are found. Where bloggers meet up. Where readers can interact with one another. Where community is born and where sometimes conflict arises.

That said, many bloggers and blog readers don’t comment.

Why not? Only they know, but sometimes it’s because they don’t understand the process.

Today’s Lesson

Note: For those of you who are comfortable with the commenting process, please feel free to go directly to the assignment.

I still remember when I wrote my first comment. I was nervous and worried I wasn’t doing it right. After I hit the “submit” button and saw my comment went into moderation, I kept clicking back on the site to 1) see if it was approved and 2) see what it looked like. For me those were a few tense hours.

Leaving a comment is a simple process, however the comment form can be confusing.

Let’s take a look at the one you’ll find here:
how to leave a comment on a blog post

Name – What name to use is a decision only you can make.

When I started commenting, I just used “Barbara”, however as time passed, I began to see more commenters by the name of Barbara, so to distinguish myself from the others, I added my last name.

That said, you do not have to use your real name. Some bloggers/readers choose to remain anonymous and use a fictitious name (pseudonym) instead.

Email

In this box, enter a valid email address.

The email address I use for commenting is not my personal email address nor is it an email account I check due to the amount of spam it receives. (I use an auto responder on that account to redirect those who want to reach me by telling them to use my contact form.)

Having an email address to use specifically for commenting may be advantageous.

URL

Adding your URL is optional. If you do not have a blog, leave this box blank. If you have a blog and want others to find you, it’s important your blog URL address is included.

Also, by adding the URL to your blog, your “name” becomes a clickable link. Anyone who clicks on your name will automatically be redirected to your blog. (See it in action by clicking on the name someone who has commented on this blog.)

How you enter the URL is very important. If you’re in doubt what your blog URL is, go to the homepage of your blog and look in the address bar. (You can also use the URL from a specific post or page if you wish.)

Use the URL EXACTLY as it shows in the address bar. To avoid typos, you can copy and paste it into the contact form.

Comment box

Note: Some comment sections have the comment box located above the Name/Email/URL information.

Here’s where you type your response/message. The more value you can add to a blog post with your comment, the bigger chance you have of someone clicking on your link(s).

Until you hit the “submit” button, your comment remains unpublished, therefore, if you want to delete your comment completely, just don’t hit the “submit” button. (Click off the site or refresh the page.)

If, for some reason you hit the “submit” button prematurely or change your mind and don’t want the comment published, you can always contact the blog author and ask them to remove your comment.

So there you have it.

Although it can feel a little intimidating to leave a comment, the process quickly becomes easier and soon you may find you like commenting as much as blogging.

If you have never commented on a blog before, why not try it now?

Today’s Assignment

Do you still remember the first time you left a comment?

Do you have any advice for new commenters?

If you’ve never commented on a blog, what’s your biggest fear?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

I think I have the best community in the blogosphere.

If you’re a regular reader/commenter here, you are a part of that awesomeness. 8)

For that, I say “Thank you”.

Today’s Lesson

When I started blogging, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as “community”. Sure, I saw people commenting on other blogs, but to me, that’s all they were; comments.

Little did I know comments are the building blocks of a blog community.

My community was born when a blogger named Akemi commented on this blog. Via her blog I met Cath, who in turn introduced me to Ian. The three of us visited each others blogs, commented and followed each others progress. Slowly more bloggers entered the circle and each of us began growing our respective communities.

Some of the members (for lack of a better word) frequented one or two of our blogs, but not necessarily all of them.

That’s how blogging communities work since all blogs won’t appeal to everyone.

When I made it my mission to help new bloggers “get found”, I started a series named “New Blog of the Week”. Each week I hunted for new bloggers (usually 3 months old or less), and showcased them and a sampling of their blog entries on this blog. I’d ask my community members to visit them, read their posts and leave a comment.

My community obliged. (See how great they/you are?)

In the process, their communities grew, as did mine.

How about you? How can YOU build a community?

  1. Be visible. Get out there. Visit other blogs, leave comments and answer the comments on your blog.
  2. If you’re new to blogging, I’d suggest finding other new bloggers to connect with. Take time to read their “about” page and see if they’re someone you’d like to befriend. If they’re answering comments, chances are, they’re looking to grow a community too.

    Not all bloggers will reciprocate by visiting you, but some will. These are the ones who can potentially become part of your community.

    Also, when you leave comments on another blog, you’re leaving bread crumbs. The readers of that blog may be intrigued with your words and click over to your link. All the more reason to leave meaningful, heartfelt comments.

  3. Link to the posts of your new online friends or share their post(s) on Twitter, Facebook or your favorite social networking site.
  4. Remember, it’s all about karma.

  5. Form a pact with another blogger (or two) and agree to help each other succeed.
  6. Here again, promote the posts of one another. If you feel comfortable (and safe) taking the conversation offline, email each other behind the scenes to discuss your strategy.

  7. Continually visit, read and comment on the posts of your new friends. Continually answer the comments on your blog.
  8. Just like real life friendships. a blog community needs to be nurtured. Make time for yours.

  9. Don’t get hung up on the size of your community.
  10. Blog communities take time to form. Patience is key. Build yours on a solid foundation.

  11. Keep in mind, community building is not tit for tat.
  12. We might be a part of another blogger’s community, but that blog author may not be part of ours. And the same holds true for us. Someone may be a part of our community, but we’re not a part of theirs.

    Remember, just like in real life, we and our blog/topic may not appeal to everyone. Don’t take it personally.

  13. In time, some of our community members will move on, comment less often or even disappear.
  14. It’s not easy to sustain a blog, therefore we can lose community members . Add to that how bloggers are also using their blog(s) as a stepping stone to other endeavors.  Enjoy the time you have with your members.

  15. Some people believe blog communities are dying due to social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook or Google+.
  16. Although commenting on blogs may have decreased over the past few years, communication on blogs “feels” more intimate. Personally I prefer commenting on blogs vs on social networking sites, however, community can be built on social networking sites, as well.

In the four and a half years I’ve blogged, there has not been a blogger I’ve met that I’ve forgotten.

And even though we may no longer visit each others blogs, when we bump into one another online, it’s like seeing an old friend.

Today’s Assignment

If you’re a seasoned blogger, what hints would you give a new blogger about forming a community?

If you’re a new blogger, what’s your biggest challenge in forming a community?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

P.S. As for Akemi, Cath and Ian; Akemi appears to have left the blogosphere. I see Ian occasionally on Facebook. Cath remains to be a great friend who is on a blogging hiatus, however we continue to communicate on Facebook.

P.S.S. I ended my New Blog of the Week series after a year and a half. The complete list of the ninety bloggers I showcased is here (in my sidebar under “Featured Blogs From the Past”).

P.S.S.S. If you’re not sure where to find other bloggers, click on the names of the bloggers who comment on this blog, and/or check out my “Free Blog Registry” – where over 500 bloggers have entered their names and a short description of their blogs. (While there, add your name, too.)

Related Posts with Thumbnails