How To Kick Start Your Blog Community

One of the greatest challenges that any blogger or company faces when getting started is building a community. A community is of utmost importance to the success of any start-up. For a blog, a community means a group of readers who will subscribe to the site, diligently read the content, and interact with the blog through comments, e-mail messages, etc.

However, the task of building a community is by no means a small undertaking. Any blogger will tell you that one of the greatest challenges they faced was starting their blog was attracting the first few members of the community. Once a blog attracts a small dedicated readership base, additional growth is greatly facilitated through word of mouth and blog branding.

So the dilemma facing all new bloggers is how do they attract the crucial first few members of their blog’s community?

One of the big mistakes bloggers make when approaching this challenge is looking online for these first members. While it is far easier to reach a wide audience through online marketing, it is difficult to retain their attention if you haven’t already built a brand name with them. Hence, you need to approach people with whom you’ve established your personal brand: your friends, family, and professional connections.

In other words, look in the real world!

This may sound simple, but is something that almost always gets overlooked, especially in the make money online and web marketing niches where so much focus and emphasis is placed on using the web as a marketing tool. It is far easier to get your friends to read your blog then it is to get people you meet in forums and on social media websites.

Now the raw number of page views you attract from these visitors will be far fewer than you could attract from a social media marketing campaign. However, these visitors will comment on your posts and subscribe to your feeds, adding to your credibility and making your blog seem like a larger more authoritative source. Hence, new visitors will be more likely to return and comment on your posts, since they are joining a community, not starting one. People are always psychologically hesitant to be the first person to do anything.

For example, for AM Beat I wanted to attract a community of entrepreneurs. I could have looked online to grow this community and did; and while I attracted a few thousand visitors within a few hours, very few of these visitors subscribed or returned. However, when I sent out an e-mail to a group of about 150 young entrepreneurs who I had met at a youth entrepreneurship conference and kept in contact with, a far greater percentage actually joined the AM Beat community because they knew who I was and what I have to offer in my posts.

Hence, I was able to establish myself within this niche community, and through personal recommendations, I have been able to slowly grow the site’s readership. Don’t get caught up in the raw numbers of visitors and page views your blog attracts. For long-term success, you need to build a community. Thus, look instead at comment counts, subscriber rates, and related metrics and focus on growing/improving these.

This post was written by Aditya Mahesh, founder of AMBeat.com, a complete resource for entrepreneurs dedicated to “innovation entrepreneurship” and helping readers take advantage of small business opportunities.


39 thoughts on “How To Kick Start Your Blog Community”

  1. Definitely true. It’s not about the raw numbers, but how sticky you can make your site in the long run. But it’s sort of a snowball thing, once you get it rolling it gets easier to keep attracting new regulars.

    1. Trabajo says:

      There are many things that you can do to build a sense of community on a blog. Here’s a short list of ideas that come to mind:

      Take the lead and be the community that you want your readers to be – readers follow the lead of bloggers in how they’ll interact with each other

      Ask Questions – the key to more comments and interaction on a blog

      Give readers homework – try it, it works

      Give readers a job to do on your blog – bizarre but it works

      Link to reader’s blogs – it’s amazing what impact this can have

      Answer Reader questions – this has real power

      Invite Readers to Take the lead with guest posts, giving advice to each other etc

      Make Readers Famous – celebrate your readers publicly

      Do projects where readers can participate, submit things and be active. The more you have them DO the more loyal they’ll become.

  2. PDS says:

    Our blog is fairly new, but getting a good level of interaction/comments from readers. Would love more readers but we must be doing something right if readers are leaving good comments.

    Helpful to remember your points in order to keep going when building readership. Thanks

    1. Same with me. I just started a blog and this is not my first. My blog is basically about how I spend my money I generate online, cause there’s just too many “make money online” blog that I thought I should make a spend money made online.

      I’ve started some competition and hope by doing so I attract viewers to stay on my blog. Some of the good signs, I am getting response and comments. I hope my blog grows like johnchow.com!

      1. Nice twist – “How I spend my money”. Good luck with that. How are you doing so far?

  3. Hello Aditya thank you very much for your post.. I’ve just started doing a blogging. I found your blog post. I think I’ll bookmarked your post. thank you

    1. fas says:

      Because building a community is tougher than blogging.

      1. If you are a good blogger, building a community will be all the more easier. If you want to succeed online, you’re just going to have to work and connect wioth people in your niche, that’s all there is to it.

        1. Make money says:

          I would partially agree with that because I’ve seen tons of awesome bloggers lacking the exposure due to a lack of buzzing community for their blogs.

    2. Because only through blogging you can build a community

      1. Well, no. Community building is way older than blogs. It used to be that a forum was the standard way to build a community. There are still multiple ways to instill a sense of community online other than a blog.

  4. Custom Essay says:

    Very few of them would subscribe. There were yahoo and excite communities in the past. But than people started blogging and it got popular. 🙂

    Mairsh

  5. EarningStep says:

    great tips here . i love it

  6. Interesting article. Offline marketing tends to get put to the back burner when you are reading and listening online, however, I have found that face to face meets and then discusing the blog has produced some great contacts. I guess unless you are Tony Robbins this has its limits on scaleability!

  7. forlan says:

    i agree with [email protected] Sometimes the competitor may use our community for their benefit or free rider.

  8. hospitalera says:

    Excellent tips, I also noticed that building a blog community with the help of forums I participate in works well. I am active in several different forums, try to help newbies etc, and gained quite some readers by simple putting my blog in my signature. People that already “knew” me from the forums, liked me 😉 , checked out my blog and liked my blog also. SY

  9. Awesome post. I appreciate this post.
    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Wess Stewart says:

    Most of my friends wouldn’t go for this, because most of them can’t believe I’m actually trying to make money online. Most of them still think that everything related to getting paid on the net is either a scam or not worth the effort.

    To them, I say :p

    Of course, I’m about to have a “student” that will be starting a blog…my Mom. She’s already proven herself to be a loyal reader of my stuff, but…uh…that’s kind of uncomfortable. 😀 We’ll actually be team blogging on this one.

    Perhaps we should make some fliers of business cards to pass out…

  11. EarningStep says:

    i really wonder how to be a quest blogger on your blog john

    1. Send him a quality post already written, that’s how I did it.

      1. EarningStep says:

        thanks my friend . is this make any different to your blog

        1. Haha, you’ll get a surge of traffic! and if your blog content is good, readers from johnchow.com will stay on your blog too

  12. First… blogger need to learn how to be better blogger than he (or she) is right now.
    Then… he (or she) can think about building community.

    Sad but true… there won’t be any community on the blog with bad posts.

    anyway… this is really good post.

    1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

      Yes, a community won’t be built in a blog with bad posts or useless articles. So he/she should build up great content before promoting or doing social marketing to drive in more new visitors, if they find his/her content is rich and useful, definitely they will go back and read more.

      Regards,
      Lee

  13. Ghostwriter says:

    Very good post with some great advice. Building a community is difficult to begin with. But once you start going, everything else is much easier.

  14. Yes , Definitely Community help a lot in building your bog brand and adding traffic to your site.

  15. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    I agree with you Aditya, community is what we need to build in order to be success in online business. You can take JohnChow blog as an example, John has a large blog community and has tons of followers.

    Building a healthy community in a blog is not an easy task, you need to build it slowly and wisely. Blog commenting or social marketing will be quite effective when it comes to build a brand.

    Anyway, well said!

    Regards,
    Lee

  16. Sharing with friends is a great way to kick start you blog community. New readers will see your friends comments and show that your blog has something to offer them.

  17. it will always be the loyal readers that determine the success of your blog. Build a community and you’ve got yourself a trusted group of online friends who will be more likely to trust your recommendations as long as those recommendations are sound.

  18. Certainly a great idea to start getting people to connect on a blog.

    I had contacts on Twitter and Facebook who I alread “knew” (online) and started reading their blogs…

    I think it’s awesome to have that conversation and community going on.

    I’m also trying to learn to monetize my websites and started a blog about my experience.

    Anyways, love the blog! Learning alot!

  19. game-girl says:

    I share many of the ideas presented here.

  20. Eric Tan says:

    readers + great content = loyal readers

  21. Make money says:

    You’re right, creating a blog community is very important for growth in the long term.

  22. Christian says:

    I think this really depends on what kind of blog you’re running. My personal friends have very little interest in what I do. They just love me for me! but my point is, they wouldn’t be interested in reading my blog too much. This could work for a number of projects but is certainly not a universal truth.

  23. Wow, funny how your posts hit the nail on the head. I actually started promoting my blog offline with a few friends and professionals and they even subscribed to my blog. Need to do more of this. A community blog has a nice ring to it.

  24. Dan says:

    You can join an SEO co-op like Traffic Kahuna. These are “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back” membership sites where people help each other out. You can post a request for members to comment on your blog.

  25. Usha Sliva says:

    Actually, I agree with Christian. I do have a lot of friends who’ve subscribed to my ezine, but it’s more out the goodness of their hearts. I don’t think any of them want to quit their current jobs and become freelance writers. It’s better to connect with people in your niche via online forums etc.

  26. Brock says:

    This post really helps me! I am a newbie to blogging ,now do my best to follow John’s ebook “Make Money Online”. Great book for newbies like me how to monetize the blog! Had a tough but fun time setting up my blog (which is still a bit raw) but now stuck with the next step of building readership and traffic. Will try out the offline strategy on getting my offline friends to be my first subscribers first. Well I guess I just have to start somewhere.

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