5 Tips for How to Grow Community on Your Blog
Taking on the role of community leader or even founder on a blog can be a tough job, and sometimes the rewards come slowly. Don't let these realities discourage you, though. Here are five simple tools for developing your blog from your soapbox into a real community, with true interaction between you and your readers, and among the readers themselves.
One of the best ways to build your blog's community is to plug in to communities that already exist, including social media platforms. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are home to millions of potential blog readers who may want to make your site one of their favorite online destinations.
If you haven't already created social media accounts related to your blog, it's time to get started. Find the niche groups that apply to your own interests and begin connecting. Look for Facebook groups that may be a fit, including local blogger groups or promotions groups in which members share each other's blog content.
Hoping to build your online community by leveraging the communities of others? Be sure to promote and support others more than you ask for help yourself. You want to be a positive force online, not a negative one!
Involve your readers
What does your community like to read? Do the members like your posts about your personal life, or are they more interested in what you're doing in your daily job? Or do they want your opinion about some other topic that you've discussed?
Watch to see what element of your content is most popular and what gets the most comments and responses. Consider periodically polling your readership or using a survey creation tool such as Survey Monkey to find out what your readers would like to see on your blog.
Knowing what's popular in your blog can help you when you write later on because you can draw on this knowledge to create more posts that get responses. Keep an eye on those posts that get lots of comments, and understand their appeal to your audience as you make decisions about what to post about in the future.
You may also want to involve your readers by asking a leader in your online community to be in charge of responding to comments or leading forums. Guest posts are another great way to allow your readers to become more involved in your blog so that they begin to feel a connection to your online community.
It may sound counterintuitive to work on building an online community by connecting offline, but making connections in real life rather than just on your computer screen can go a long way in building your online community.
Do you have a local readership that is growing in leaps and bounds? Consider holding a local meet-up, even reaching out to a local restaurant to suggest a sponsor partnership. You may also want to find local blogger groups or social media clubs holding events and make plans to attend.
Finally, look into blog conferences, typically held around the country throughout the year, and find an event that may be a fit for you.
According to a Pew Internet report, more than half of Americans reported using their smartphones to access the Internet in 2012. With the rise of readership on mobile devices, it's critical that your blog be mobile ready.
Many WordPress themes are mobile ready, but for those of you whose platforms or themes are not mobile compatible, it's important to take the steps necessary to make accessing your blog on a mobile device possible. To find out whether your blog is mobile compatible, check out Google's website How to Go Mo, which allows you to test your blog for mobile compatibility.
Some bloggers choose to create a second version of their blog, created just for mobile. It probably makes more sense for you, however, to either select a mobile-optimized blog theme or install a plug-in to bring your site up to speed for mobile access.
Unless you are writing a hyper-niche blog, it's a good idea to mix things up every now and then to reach new audiences and build your community. Consider periodically creating new content themes in your editorial calendar from time to time to pull in readers looking to read about different topics.