Most people blog for the wrong reasons.
Blogging is about far more than expressing your opinion, being heard and attracting visitors to your site.
Missing out on this key factor makes the prospect of having a successful blog almost impossible.
Why You Can’t Go It Alone
When I created my blog at the beginning of this year, I foolishly thought that having a blog was all about how many unique visitors I got every month. How wrong I was! I can partially attribute this misjudgement to coming from an affiliate marketing background where there is normally little or no interaction between you and your visitors. In my first month I had received 150 Unique Visitors with very little promotion, I was pretty happy! But 149 of those visitors had not left a comment. I was clearly doing something wrong.
So what is the real meaning of blogging? Why blog?
Being Part a Community
As humans, we love to feel like we’re a part of something. By March, I realised that my blog was not a part of anything. It was time to reach out to some people and start to form solid connections. One solid connection would be worth far more than hundreds of visitors who never returned.
How did I connect with people?
I came across one of Danny’s guest posts on Problogger and visited his blog, along with the other blogs that he recommended we check out in that post. I made what I believe to be an amazing discovery – the same people comment on each other’s stuff. I’d just found a healthy micro-network of fellow bloggers that were all significantly higher up the food chain than me.
I learned from their example, and my blog began to grow. Here are a few of the tried and tested methods that I used:
Doing interviews seemed like a great way to connect, so I sent a quick email to ask five different bloggers for an interview. Within 10 minutes there had been three replies! It was inspiring to see how helpful these guys were being.
Interviews are a great way to interact within the community.
Five reasons why you should interview people with other blogs:
- Presenting your content in a different way (if you do an audio interview) keeps it interesting for your readers.
- Interviews are a great way to form a connection with another blogger, and this could lead to future opportunities and cross-promotion of your blogs. Remember not to expect anything in return and to focus on giving.
- You’re separating yourself from the herd as you don’t see interviews on many blogs.
- If you pick the right questions to ask, it’s a great way to add value to your readers.
- If the blogger you interviewed decides to share the interview (which they usually do), it can be a great way for you to gain new readers and subscribers.
Focus on Adding Value
With every post you publish, bear the reader in mind. I try to add value to my readers with every blog post that I do. The best way to do this is by writing posts that are thought-provoking, genuine and based on experience. Good content is ultimately the backbone of your blog. When fellow bloggers visit, good blog posts will make them more likely to comment on your blog, and hence increase your interaction within the community.
What else have I started doing?
Commenting on Relevant Blogs
Without looking very far, I found several blogs with awesome posts that I felt compelled to comment on. Many successful blogs have used this method single-handedly to grow their blogs into something pretty spectacular. Writing high quality, relevant responses on other people’s blogs will really help you to grow your readership. Add to the conversation with your unique perspective on the topic. Regular blog commenting is a great way to establish rapport with fellow bloggers, and will make them much more likely to visit your blog and leave a comment. Don’t comment for the sake of it.If a post doesn’t interest me, I don’t comment. However, most of the blogs I am subscribed to are really interesting and educational, and this causes me to comment on most posts.
This is a great way to connect and get exposure. It is important to work with the person whose blog you want to guest post on, and making sure your content is focussed towards their readers. Someone is placing a great deal of trust in you by letting you guest post on their blog, so take your time to create a super high-quality post that will be well received by the blogger and their audience. Guest-posting is a great way to ethically leverage another blog’s readership – and it often results in an increase in high quality traffic hits that convert at a high level!
These are some of the most effective methods I have discovered for becoming a part of the community in your mini-blogosphere. Forming solid connections is the only sustainable way to build your blog and increase your readership and number of subscribers (it goes without saying that you need good blog content).
Remember, blogging is about being a part of something bigger. Your role as a blogger is to grow as part of the community, and help others to do the same.
Have you tried strategies like these? What has worked for you? Why do you blog? If you had to try just one of these ideas, which would it be?