Tag-Archive for » conversations «

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?

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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?

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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.)

Online friends post imageWhen we join Twitter, those who befriend us are labeled as “followers”. On Facebook, they’re “friends”.

With blogging, we often label fellow bloggers as “blogging buddies”.

But who are these people, really?

Today’s Lesson

In the comments of the The Cost Of Being Heard post Sara of A Sharing Connection said, in part,

One thing kind of bothers me about the subject of “real” friends and “online” friends I don’t see a great deal of difference, except I can’t see the online person. A friend is a friend. Friendship is about communication and sharing. So what if it’s not face-to-face?

Writing coach Davina of Shades of Crimson shared,

The only time when I feel funny talking to my offline friends about blogging is when I hear myself say, “My online friend so and so said…” It sounds like I have invisible friends, lol. …

In real life it’s easy to label someone we know. We’ll say, “my friend…”, or tag them with a descriptive title such as “my sister”, “my cousin” or “a co-worker.” and whomever we’re talking to, knows exactly who we’re talking about.

But what about the people we meet online? Who are they?

A friend? A follower? An online acquaintance? A fellow blogger? A blogging buddy?

Do we classify them differently because we’ve never met in person?

Are they an acquaintance or blogging buddy first, but after we’ve known them for a while, they earn the “friend” title?

Behind every blog, every Facebook post, and every tweet is a real person with real feelings. Real thoughts. Real emotions.

People just like us.

Although we can’t see them and may never meet them, via words, relationships form.

Are they less important than the relationships we have in the real world?

Maybe not.

Today’s Assignment

When talking to your real life friends about those whom you’ve met online, how do you describe them?

Do you think online and offline friendships/relationships can be equal?

Care to share?

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