Are you a newbie blogger looking to grow your blog but don’t know where to start? Today’s post is for you! Today we’re discussing Why Finding Your Blogging Community is the First Step In Growing Your Blog.
One of the greatest challenges after starting your blog is expanding your audience beyond your Mom. It may feel like it will never happen, but you must always remember that every single blogger, no matter how large their reach is now, started off small. They didn’t just end up with 100k followers overnight!
When blogs first became a “thing”, it was much easier to grow your readership, but now that the market is so saturated, it can be very difficult to get your name out there amongst a very large sea of bloggers.
Mine and Lee’s blogging trajectories are a testament to this.
Lee started her blog almost 5 years ago. Social media wasn’t as big then (listen to her talk about her experience with Pinterest here at min 3:45) and the number of bloggers within her niche wasn’t nearly what it is now. However, The Healthy Maven is just 2 years old and a lot changed between when Lee started Fit Foodie and THM launched. Namely, growing your audience became A LOT harder thanks to the millions of blogs out there.
While some might see this as a disadvantage, I looked at the number of bloggers out there as a serious advantage. Building relationships with the bloggers I truly connected with could help get my blog out there to their communities and ultimately reach an audience I might otherwise not have access to.
The whole premise of The Blogger Project is to stop seeing other bloggers as competition and instead start working together. As we talk about in the Our Story video, Lee and I only experience growth and positivity from working together, even if we are essentially blogging about the same thing.
Everyone stresses the importance of social media in getting your blog out there, and yes it truly is important but not when you’re starting off with zero followers! The first step in growing your social and expanding the reach of your blog is to start building a community. Before anything else, establishing that tribe around you is imperative to growing your blog.
So now that you know why it’s important, let’s learn how…
How To Find Your Blogging Community
1. Read and comment on other blogs in your niche.
I was a big-time blog reader before I started my blog, but I was always too scared to comment. When I started my blog, I dropped my fear and started to comment on these blogs that I loved reading. Suddenly they started commenting on mine and from there I slowly started to connect with other bloggers.
Not only is this great for exposure – sometimes blog readers scroll through comments – but it also allowed me to develop long-lasting friendships with bloggers who then became more apt to share my blog with their followers. This is actually how Lee and I met. Check-out Our Story video to learn more!
Here are a few of my recommendations for this:
- Build genuine relationships – it’s not about how many, but who. Comment on blogs with whom you share a connection and leave sincere comments. Random comments like “great info!” or “yummy recipe!” won’t take you very far.
- Stick to blogs in your niche and who are at or around the same level of reach as you are – That blogger who you idolize and has 300 comments per post? I would’t recommend trying to connect with him/her. Find bloggers who blog about the same topic as you and are also in the growing phase. You can help each other grow rather than trying to play with the big leagues.
2. Follow and comment on social media accounts in your niche.
Same as above, follow and leave genuine comments on other blogger’s social media channels. In return they are likely to follow you back and hopefully return the same kind of engagement. The same recommendations for blog commenting apply to social media commenting and liking.
3. Ask and Offer Guest Posts.
Once you’ve started to build relationships with other bloggers through blog or social media commenting. Reach out via email asking if they’d like to do a blog swap. When I first started blogging I did a ton of guest posts. Guest posts are when you write a blog post on somebody else’s blog or when another blogger uses your platform to share their content. This approach allows you to share your knowledge and know-how to your blogger friend’s audiences. In return, offer to share their content on yours. The same recommendations for commenting apply to guest posts. Ask only from those in your niche whose audiences might actually have an interest in your content and only from those blogs that are still relatively small and could benefit from guest posting.
4. Join In On Link-Ups
I’m convinced there is a link-up for everything. From What I ate Wednesdays to DIY Fridays, whatever your niche there is likely a link-up for it. And if not…start one!
A link-up is where a theme is set and you use a program like InLinkz to allow other bloggers to include a photo and caption at the bottom of the post that somehow relates to that theme. When readers scroll through the host blog (or blogs), they may be intrigued by your post and click through to your blog. You never know who might become a new reader! Also, more often than not other bloggers who linked-up may click through to your content. Link-ups are also a great way for you to find other bloggers in your niche and start commenting on their blogs.
In terms of link-up etiquette, make sure to always credit the host(s) and include a badge if that’s a requirement for their link-up.
5. Do Round-Up Posts
Not only is it awesome for SEO to link to other blogs, but it also helps to get your blog on other blogger’s radars. Most blogs will get pinged if someone links to their blog so doing round-up posts, buzzfeed-style (i.e. “21 healthy treats for summer!” or “5 ways to rock a top knot”) really does help in spreading your blog name.
It also establishes some good-will and hopefully you sharing other people’s content will in turn result in them sharing yours.
Quick tip! Make sure to tag other bloggers in your social statuses if you include them in a round-up!
The moral of the story here is that you only gain from helping to raise others up. Competition is so last year, so instead of competing, start building your blogging community. I think you’ll be surprised by the results!