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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.)

It doesn’t surprise me Facebook has over 500 million active users or that in a week, one billion tweets are published on Twitter

Facebook and Twitter are about communicating and people want to be heard.

Today’s Lesson

Blogging is the same.

Many bloggers will admit their real life friends don’t understand blogging, nor do they have an interest in what we’re blogging about.

Real life friends may think blogging is silly, a passing fad or even a waste of time.

But bloggers know, with having a blog, comes an audience whom we believe are interested in what we publish.

Via comments they validate us or expand on the topic and carry the discussion further.

It feels good to know we’re being heard.

In real life, where others seem to be consumed with their own lives, we may not get that. Hence, our blog becomes our voice.

It’s no wonder when our real life friends do read our blogs or the comments we’ve left elsewhere, they’ll often say, “I didn’t know that about you.”

Today’s Assignment

If a friend or family member read your blog or a comment you left on another site, would they be surprised and find out more about you and your interests?

Care to share?

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When I look at the hobby of blogging, I realize it has taught me a lot about writing, coding and social networking, but it’s more than that.

Today’s LessonWhat blogging teaches us post graphic

When we start blogging, we usually have some sort of agenda. Maybe it’s to make some extra cash, practice our writing skills, share what we’ve learned in the real world or to promote our business.

In some cases a blog can work real well to accomplish those goals, but in the process we can also learn unexpected lessons.

For example, I learned people aren’t all that different online than they are in the real world. Kindness knows no boundaries. In fact, online it’s almost like others give us more time, more consideration and really listen to what we’re saying.

Online we’re not labeled because of our personality traits or habits. Our race. age or educational history don’t matter, nor does our appearance or financial status.

We learn friendship happens without physically meeting each other, and moral support means more than a literal pat on the back.

If we read blogs written by those who have “been there”, we can learn from their mistakes and make better choices in our own life.

If we’re undecided or need help making a major decision, we can throw it “out there” and get dozens of unbiased opinions to aid in our decision process; opinions from people who don’t have a hidden agenda.

Blogging can also help us to become more open-minded and see the bigger picture by reading the comments of those with opposing views.

Although having a blog can bring us closer to the goals we intended for it, what we learn in the process is priceless.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

What has having a blog and being online taught you?

Have you had a life changing or memorable experience that wouldn’t have happened had you never blogged or spent time online?

Care to share?

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