In this blog post, I'll share with you 15 simple but effective strategies that you can use to build a rocking community around your blog!
Can you build a successful blog without a following?
Possibly, but building a blog community is a big part of the blogging puzzle. It's not something that should be ignored.
There are a few valid reasons why building a community around your blog is crucial. Let's take a look at a few -
As you can see, all of these are important to have in order to grow your blog successfully.
But let's break things down further for the purpose of clarity -
What is a blog community, really?
A blog community is simply a group of people who share the same interests and passion and have the same goals and ambitions around a central idea.
Your blog community could be made up of email subscribers, social media followers, push notification subscribers, podcast subscribers, commenters, etc.
Often, the folks in your community will be among the first to engage with your content or even share your posts on social media.
However, getting your community to remain loyal to your blog long term can be somewhat challenging but certainly not impossible.
Your purpose as a blogger is to make your first-time visitors and readers fall in love with your blog and content. So it really depends on how much value, resources you can provide through your blog. Your content probably being the most 'valuable' asset you can offer.
OK, so if you've been blogging for a while and you're struggling to build a loyal following for your blog, as in growing a community, don't panic yourself.
Listed below, are 15 super smart ways you can grow a blog community that rocks! You can do this, and it all starts with...
Yep, that's right.
It's not just about the value of your content, but it's also about the person behind the blog creating the content; that person is you.
A lot of bloggers neglect to recognize the importance of personal identification/branding through their blogs. Often, they're so focused on content, SEO, blog post promotion, growing their traffic that they forget about the person who's actually doing all of the work.
For example, a classic mistake that results in missed opportunities I see so many bloggers doing is just throwing a bunch of posts on the front page of their blog.
Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with doing that, but your blog is also the place of your personal brand and identity.
Your presence on the homepage should make visitors feel welcome, and a smile matters, it really does.
The image of myself on the front page of my blog/website is far removed from the best picture of me, but I'm smiling at my audience, hopefully making them feel welcome, and a smile matters; it really does 🙂
Look at all the top bloggers in your niche; I can almost guarantee that you'll find the blog author's face on the homepage.
If you're familiar with Darren Rowse from ProBlogger, or Ileane Smith from BasicBlogTips, or Ana Hoffman from TrafficGenerationCafe, you'll notice something immediately. These bloggers place themselves in front of their audiences. You see their lovely faces on the front of their blogs.
A blog doesn't write itself. There's someone behind every blog.
So, here's what you should consider doing:
Stop hiding! Really, stop it.
Let your readers know what you look like.
Also, don't forget to include information about who you are, as a person, on your about page. It's all well and good putting your face on the front page, but folks want to know more about you too.
Let them know who you are, what you do, what you're passionate about, your long-term goals, what you have to offer, what motivates you to blog, what you are struggling with, and all the rest of it.
And don't forget, be as human as you possibly can. Be authentic, honest, approachable, caring, empathetic, helpful, and so on.
Your readers, some of who will be bloggers themselves, will certainly be able to vibe with you on this. You develop a unique blogging persona with time; it doesn't come overnight.
Remember, it all starts with you. You're a blogger, and you run a fantastic blog. The blog doesn't run itself.
Yep, this part goes without saying, I know.
Your content has to be insanely awesome. Not only that, but it also has to be memorable for people to like your blog and subscribe to your future posts.
Now, I get it - It's not always possible to create memorable content. For example, if you look at my blog, many of my posts are blogging guides and tutorials. There's nothing memorable about reading a guide on how to start a blog, right? Or how to promote a post! It's boring and mundane. But, it's useful for those starting out.
However, for your audience and depending on your niche or industry, you may be able to make your content memorable.
Travel, food, health and fitness are great niches for creating memorable content.
OK, so I won't dive too deep on this topic because I've talked about the importance of creating high-quality content a gazillion times before already.
If you need to check and validate whether your content is awesome or not, read this post for some tips.
Additionally, you might find the following articles useful.
We're not done yet! I only shared with you a few tips for growing your blog community. I have a whole lot more. Let's go!
Oh boy, here we go again... That old advice about growing your email list.
After all these years and endless preaching that email list building is the best method for growing your blogging tribe, this advice still stands valid today in 2021.
Emails aren't going to be replaced by anything new anytime soon, regardless of what you may have read or been told.
Everything we do on the web, as of right now, for the most part, depends on having an active email address.
Need to signup to something? An email address is often required. Need to communicate? Email is the preferred choice. Need to verify an account? Yep, you've guessed it, email is one of the ways to do just that.
Email is here to stay for a long while yet, and communicating via email will be around for years to come.
So, if you're yet to make a start on building that email list, then please, what are you waiting for?
Recommended reading: Get on the case, now. This post should help you make a start.
Here are some quick actions steps to get your email list underway -
Do you know about web push notifications?
I'm sure by now you do. These days, every website you visit offers 'enable notifications'.
Push notifications are a great addition to email marketing. But it will never replace it.
Push notifications are by far the simplest way to grow a massive audience. You can use this technology to send quick and timely updates on your latest affiliate promos, offers, and, of course, your latest blog post.
Check out this post to quickly learn how to set up push notifications on your blog.
My recommendation would be to do both of the above, if possible. It's pointless trying to grow your blog tribe if your readers have no way to connect with your blog to receive content updates.
OK, so once you have those infrastructures set up correctly, you're ready to start building your blog community.
Let's keep moving.
How many times have you read somewhere that commenting on other blogs is a great way to get yourself and your blog noticed?
Probably more times than you can remember, right?
I don't comment on as many blogs as I used to, admittingly, but I've always appreciated just how powerful it can be.
Often when I've left a comment on a blog post that I've read, the author of that post will come to visit my blog and leave a comment too.
Additionally, readers of those blogs might also come to check out my blog too. And that, my friend, is how relationships are born.
The key is, however, to comment on popular blogs that are highly relevant. In other words, blogs that are similar to your own blog and blogs that you're actually interested in reading.
Here are some quick tips for commenting on blogs like your own -
What ever you do, don't just comment without reading or learning about the blog first.
Here's a snapshot of a comment I left on a blog post a few years ago; you will notice that it's not just a two-line comment thanking the author; it goes a lot deeper than that.
Of course, you don't have to leave an essay comment like this when commenting on blogs yourself, but a paragraph or two will not go unnoticed.
This is probably easier said than done.
Connecting with your readers/connections via email or social media is great, but have you ever considered meeting up with one or two of your followers or connections for real?
There's no better way to strengthen those relationships than to meet up with a few of your blogging connections.
I've done this quite a few times myself in the past. In fact, I met my good buddy David Hartshorne over from AzaharMedia.co.uk via social media, then via our blogs, then a few years back, we met at a business conference in London. Now we keep in touch regularly and meet up once a year to attend blogging and marketing events.
And of course, not everyone in your community will be up for this idea, but see what bloggers are in your area or country and organize a meetup; it will be one of the best things you do to help grow and strengthen your community and the relationships you have with your readers too.
I would love to able to do meet up with more of my readers and connections, but often the distance can be an obstacle.
Following from the above. Events are happening all the time, and you should ensure you attend at least a couple each year. Whether it's by yourself or with some friends.
Blogging events are great places for meeting new peeps and making new friends. It's also a great way to expand your knowledge, learn new things, share ideas, get inspiration, and much more.
An online course can be very powerful. Not just for sharing your valuable knowledge and expertise on a topic, but for encouraging your readers to engage, interact, and ask questions.
A course can also help you grow your existing community two folds. As long as it's relevant, irresistible, and offers HUGE value that folks will love.
Here's a quick step-by-step guide to starting a mini online course -
Recommended resource: Thrive Themes recently published an amazing, in-depth webinar on how they were able to launch an online course that sold 394 copies in just two weeks, I highly recommend you check it out here.
It's no news that podcasting is extremely popular. In fact, according to Podcast Insights, over 50% of the US have tuned into a podcast this year.
I mention podcasting in this post because growing a blog community doesn't just have to take place on your actual blog. You can build a whole new community of listeners that you can direct back to the content on your blog in the process.
You simply create a podcast, then create a new blog post and embed that podcast into your post. Then you can get folks to either subscribe to a new segmented podcast content-only email list. Or, if your podcast is listed on iTunes, they can subscribe there too.
The other thing is you don't need any new technology to begin podcasting either. In fact, if you have a smartphone, you can start with that as smartphones have relatively good microphones built-in.
There are some great apps such as Spreaker, Anchor, and Podbean that you can install to host your podcast show and grow an entirely new audience.
Vlogging and video content marketing is also a super effective way to build up your blog community.
Like there will be folks in your community that enjoy listening to podcasts, there will be folks that like to watch videos as well. So, with vlogging, you can build a whole new community of viewers that like to watch videos.
The amazing thing about videos is that you can market them almost anywhere. For example, you publish on YouTube, you can embed your videos in a blog post to drive traffic both ways and get more subscribers, thus building your community.
Again, you don't need to invest in any new technology to start vlogging to promote and grow your blog. Your smartphone is a powerful tool, again, make good use of it.
If you're interested, you can check out the gear I use to create my vlogs and videos -
Read this post to learn how to use vlogging and get content to promote and grow your blog.
If you're looking for an inexpensive and effective way to pull your community together and even grow it bigger, try hosting a few blog contests.
All you have to do is create a blog post outlining the contest rules. Mention what the prize will be and what your readers have to do to be in with a chance to win.
A great tactic to use is to ask participants to either follow you on your choice's social media platform or to subscribe to your email newsletter to enter.
Of course, if you're using a contest to grow your email list, just make sure you are clear on privacy and what kind of emails they will receive in the future, and that your opt-in forms are GDPR friendly.
Just make sure you plan carefully and set clear terms before launching your blog contest.
RaffleCopter is a fantastic service that lets you run simple giveaways on your website. It's free to signup and the plans are affordable if you run regular contests.
Acknowledge one of your readers/commenters. Thank them for a comment they left on one of your posts, perhaps to raise a question or concern.
By including your readers in your posts, you're letting others know that you value your community's input and interactions from time to time. This a fantastic way to reinforce your relationships with your blog community.
Incentivizing your opt-ins is without a doubt a great way to boost your signup conversion rates. However, why just offer one simple incentive? Why not offer a few?
You can offer different kinds of incentives aimed at different types of audiences on your blog. This way, you are catering to everyone. It's also a great way to identify where your focus should be in growing your community with targeted content that your readers actually want to read in the future.
I would recommend offering an incentive for each category within your blog. If you have many categories, of course, this tactic might take you some time, so just identify and pick the most popular categories, perhaps pick the top 3 most popular categories.
Now, it might not be convenient for you to increase your posting frequency; however, if you're only blogging once a month, for example, then perhaps you can find time and energy to bump your blog posting to 2 or even 3 posts per month.
I know what you're going to say - "But, Fabrizio, I'm already strapped for time; I can't possibly dedicate myself to writing more blog posts each month. I'm just too busy."
I hear you, and I get it. You're a busy mum or dad or kid!
But just maybe you could give up a few hours of watching Netflix each month so that you can create more great content for your blog? Just saying.
I know what it's like to put off things - I'm a Division 2 player on the Xbox One, and I've dedicated far too many hours playing this game. I know I could have used those hours to work on my blog, that's my bad.
But, I've found in the past that the moment I bump my blog posts from two posts to four posts per month, everything increases—traffic, subscribers, comments, etc.
Again, if you're going to boost your posting frequency, just make sure you continue creating content aligned with your reader's interests and that you're not sacrificing quality at any time.
Last but not least, don't forget about that all-important call-to-action. People won't connect with you or subscribe to your blog updates if you don't ask them. They cannot read your mind.
At the end of your blog posts, videos, podcasts, simply ask people to subscribe to your blog updates if they enjoyed your content. Enough said.
OK, so that is it! If you're struggling to grow your blog audience and create a community around your content, these tips will hopefully help get you on the right path.
Building a blog community is an essential process of growing a successful blogging business, as I said at the start. Sure, it takes some time; none of it will happen by magic overnight. You have to put in the effort.
Also, you don't always need to have hundreds of comments and thousands of social shares, as long as you have a decent community that vibes with you and your content, not just on your blog either, but on all your social platforms and your other content channels too, you'll be heading in the right direction.
Keep grinding, and the best of luck.
Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to leave your thoughts and comments here?
Or perhaps you're using a strategy that is working wonders for your blog!
Feel free to leave your comment below, or even share this post with your followers on social media. Thanks for reading, as always, I appreciate you.