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.