It seems that not a day goes by without at least one of my readers emailing me to ask how they can grow and maintain a community of readers for their blog.
After all, most people do not get into blogging just to write for themselves or their friends and family. If you are putting in the time to create great content, then you want people to discover it and interact with you about it.
It should also come as no surprise that the most successful blogs out there typically have a thriving community of readers. Building a community around your blog can seem intimidating, but my advice will show you that it does not have to be that way.
If you are interested in learning how to go about building a community around your blog then read on to discover my top four tips for how to build and maintain your blog community!
1. Identify Your Blog’s Audience
The first step in building up your blog’s audience is to identify the type of person who is most likely to be your average reader. Here are some questions to get you thinking about exactly who your audience is:
- Where does your average reader live?
- How old are they?
- Are they more likely to be a man or a woman?
- What is their average income level?
- Are there other things that they most likely care about, beyond the topic of your blog?
- How often do they use the Internet?
- Which parts of your blog’s topic are your readers likely to find most controversial?
- Which parts of your blog’s topic are your readers most likely to agree on?
- What are your reader’s biggest concerns, either about your topic specifically or more generally?
- What are they most passionate about?
- What can you do to help them or inspire them?
- Is your blog something your readers will be interested in reading every day, or only occasionally?
Of course, the answers to these will vary widely depending on exactly what your blog is about.
In some cases, these questions might not even apply to your readers. For instance I would like to think my free guide on how to start your blog is widely applicable across many different demographics!
Keep in mind that the type of person who you consider your target audience might evolve over time, and it might even surprise you.
Because the potential reach of your blog is global, some of your readers might be coming from places that you would not have ever expected. This is just another fun aspect of blogging.
Once you narrow down who is most likely to be interested in reading your blog, the question becomes how you can reach them and try to get them interested in joining your blog’s community.
2. Get People Talking
Once you have an idea of who your average reader is, it is time to capture their interest and get them talking.
The simplest way to get your readers engaged with your content is through providing value to them. That value can be as simple as a new perspective on a topic they care about, or perhaps some piece of information that they might not be aware of.
Of course, in order to get people talking you will first need to drive them to read your blog. One great way to grow your blog’s audience is to simply reach out to other bloggers who cover topics similar to yours.
Most bloggers publicly list some form of contact information, typically either a “Contact Me” form or an email address, so I recommend taking advantage of this to see if you can arrange for a link exchange or a guest posting opportunity.
Link exchanges generally refer to another blogger linking to some content of yours in exchange for you doing the same. Guest posting refers to an agreement where you write a post for their page, and perhaps they do the same.
3. Moderate Your Comments Section
Traditionally, the place where blog communities are formed is through the comments section.
Having a comments section below your blog posts opens the door for readers who have a reaction to your posts to immediately post their opinions. From there, you and other readers can use their reactions as a jumping off point to start a conversation.
The comments section also provides a good measure of which posts your readers are most interested in. It is one thing to initially hook a reader with a headline or image, but if you are able to get them to read your entire post and inspire them to immediately react then you know you are doing something right.
As you progress in your blogging career, you will likely notice certain patterns around what sort of content is most likely to trigger a response from your readers. For instance, my experience has typically been that short blog posts with a clear opinion will result in the most activity in the comments section.
4. Make Yourself Available
In addition to staying active in the comments section of your blog, I always recommend that beginning bloggers make themselves available to their readers via email as well.
Allowing your readers to contact you personally lends a certain credibility to your blog, and opens the door for your readers to sound off, compliment you or even suggest other potential pieces of content for your blog.
You never know what kind of relationship you can forge simply by making yourself available. Most other bloggers are just like you: passionate people who are interested in having as many people as possible read their content. Making yourself available allows for other bloggers to contact you and potentially create a relationship that is mutually beneficial.
These four simple tips should show you why it is so important to focus on growing and maintaining a community around your blog. Thankfully this process can be straightforward and easy, and many bloggers say that interacting with their readers is one of the most rewarding parts of blogging.