Bright Tips for Beginning Bloggers : Building Your Blogging Community

One of my favorite things about blogging is the blogging community.  My blogging community has enabled me to connect with other bloggers, build friendships, and grow my readership through collaborations, linkups, etc.  As a new blogger, it’s important that you focus on building your blogging community.  Here are some important ways to build/grow your blogging community from Day 1.

Comments

I love getting to know fellow bloggers and readers better through comments.  That’s how some of my best blogging friendships started!  Comments allow for discussion that builds on the content of the post.  It’s your chance to discuss mutual interests or ask a question.  I try to comment on each blog I visit.  When I comment, I leave my name and blog website so that the blogger can visit my website if they wish to.  Personally, I visit the blog of each and every person who leaves a comment on mine, and then I leave a comment myself.  Why? As a blogger, you should think of a comment as your calling card.  By leaving a comment, it let’s the other blogger know that I stopped by to say hi and check out their work.  Plus, sometimes you find blogs you love by visiting after a comment–after all, they probably have some similar interest to you if they were reading your blog!

I think Disqus is a wonderful tool for commenting.  I talked all about Disqus in the 2nd post in this series, which you can read here.

Linkup Etiquette

Here’s a biggie for me.  As both someone who hosts a linkup and participates in linkups, I’ve seen bloggers all over the place when it comes to them.  So I wanted to touch on this.  You can really build your blogging community through linkups, as you will have some similar interest with those linking up.  That’s the whole point of a linkup.  But there’s some etiquette you should follow that I’ve set forth below:

1. If your post isn’t relative to the linkup, then don’t linkup.  Seriously. For example, when I have a fashion linkup and you post about your latest craft, I’m probably going to delete your link.  This is rude and shows great disrespect to your fellow bloggers.  Find linkups that fit your blog content and post there–you will have a better chance at potential readers clicking through to your post that way.

2. If you take advantage of a linkup to grow your blogging community and readership, LINK BACK TO YOUR HOST(S)!  A lot of work goes into a link-up, and you, the blogger, are benefiting from that link-up.  I’m not saying you have to post the button for the linkup, but at least have I statement that says, “I am linking up with _______________ today,” and link back to the host’s blog.  For every person we feature on the H54F  linkup, we double-check to make sure they are linked back to us in their H54F post.  If the potential featured blogger is not linking back, then we move on to the next blogger in line.

3. If you enter a linkup, then you should visit at least 3 other bloggers who have also linked up. Your comment can say something like “Stopping by from the linkup. . . .” The whole point of a linkup is to be able to connect with new bloggers.  Grow your community by reaching out to others instead of just waiting for them to reach out to you or stumble across your blog.

Social Media

Social media is the third way you can build/grow your blogging community.  I encourage you to follow other bloggers on Bloglovin’, GFC, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  Furthermore, when you see these bloggers’ posts on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, don’t just scroll on past–give it a like.  If you really like what they’re posting, then share it.  This is especially true on Facebook. Facebook has an algorithm that determines who sees a page’s posts. . . usually that is a very small # of actual followers of the page.  It’s my understanding that the more like, comments, and shares a post on Facebook gets, then the more people will see the posts.

Collaborations

I love doing collaborations because they allow me to (1) get my content in front of different readers and (2) introduce my readers to another blogger I love.  You can team up on one post or a set of posts, or you can do guest blogging for each other.  As a new blogger, it can sometimes be intimidating to reach out to other bloggers, but go for it!

All of these are great ways to build your blogging community.  I suggest using all 4 methods to establish and grow your blogging community, and, in return, your followers.

This is the 3rd post in my Bright Tips for Beginning Bloggers series.  You can find the 1st post about how to start a blog here

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Bright Tips for Beginning Bloggers [+ Beyond]: Why I Switched to Disqus

While I’m including this in my Beginning Bloggers series, I think this is a great read for any blogger who is looking to grow their audience and better connect with their readers.

What Is Disqus?

Disqus is basically a 3rd party widget that you can install on your blog to administer the commenting on your blog.  You can read more details about it here. I use the Blogger platform but it’s compatible with WordPress as well.

Why I Switched

Commenting is such an important tool in your blogger belt.  It’s a way to interact with your readers and get to know them better.  It’s also a great way to gain insight from and build connections with other bloggers.  The interaction of commenting really cements the blogging community together.  But when your readers don’t come back to read your follow-up comments, your missing out on that bond building.
For the first year of my blog, I always replied to comments via the actual comment function provided by blogger.  I’d click on the comments, and just go down the row, replying.  I liked this option better than just replying via emailing because people could see both sides of the conversation that was going on.  
Then, the more blogs I read, and the more I commented, I realized that my replies probably weren’t being read.  Why? Because to get a notification that there was a reply, you have to take the extra step to check the box, or click to subscribe and then confirm that follow via email. I would always forget to check the box, or not click through the confirmation email.  And I know if I wasn’t doing it, others probably weren’t doing it either.
As I mentioned above, I always wasn’t a big fan of responding via email because of the lack of actual discussion your reader could see.  So I started thinking about other options, and kept coming back to Disqus.  Several of my blogging friends had Disqus, so I already had an account where I was commenting on their blogs.  And I noticed more and more bloggers were adopting it.  After a couple of weeks of discussion, I decided to hop on the bandwagon and I’ve never looked back!

So How Do I Like It?

I absolutely love Disqus!  Replying is a breeze!  I get an email notification when a comment is left on a post.  There are 3 ways you can reply:
          1. I can click directly through that email to reply back to the comment on my page.
          2. I can just go to my blog and scroll down to comments to reply.  
          3. I can go to the Disqus website and check my inbox to reply.
Seriously, it’s that easy!  Then the original commenter gets a notification that I’ve responded.  
Also, I stay super busy–I work 40+ hour weeks and have a 2 year old and a husband–so sometimes it takes me a little while to reply back to my comments.  No problem, because regardless of how long it takes me to reply, they get the notification that I’ve done so and can hop back into the conversation.  So they don’t have to worry about coming back to my page to check for a follow-up comment because Disqus has their back.  
Since using Disqus, I’ve noticed a rise in the number of comments that I get on each post, and a rise in the dialogue going on in the comments.  I feel like I’m connecting with everyone on the next level now, whereas I felt like I was snail-mailing it before.

Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that I don’t have to keep re-entering my information to comment on different blogs (you know–name, email, and website). This actually facilitates commenting because it’s so easy.

HOW DO YOU GET DISQUS ON YOUR BLOG?

Just head over to disqus.com to get started!  You set up an account, and then follow the instructions to add it to your page.  I also migrated over all of my old comments (warning: once done, this cannot be undone).  I believe it says on their site that this can take up to 24 hours, but mine was done fairly quickly.  I do suggest, however, if you’re going to make the switch, do it more than 24 hours after your last post and more than 24 hours before your next post, just in case they’re issues. I also highly recommend fully researching the service before making the switch so that you are fully informed before doing so and to make sure that it is a change that you will be happy with.  THIS POST IS JUST INTENDED TO BE AN OVERVIEW.
Have you made the switch? If so, what’s been your experience?  If not, have you thought about it?  “Disqus” below:)

This is the 2nd post in my Bright Tips for Beginning Bloggers series.  You can find the 1st post about how to start a blog here
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