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Grow as a Community

10 Apr

Every blog community needs leaders or facilitators to keep the discussions lively, upbeat, and on topic. Taking on the role of community leader or even founder can be a tough job, and sometimes the rewards come slowly. Don’t let these realities discourage you, though. Encouraging growth in any community requires a certain level of patience, persistence, and attention — but when it works, it really works.

Write often

Get writing! (Or podcasting, or posting photos, or whatever it is you’re doing on your blog.)

Establish a regular schedule for maintaining your blog. A schedule really helps readers know what to expect and when. A regular schedule can even build anticipation and excitement. Be open to ideas, provide a welcoming environment, and keep yourself on topic so that interested, engaged readers get what they’re looking for when they visit.

Listen and respond to readers

One of the best things that you can do for the community is to make sure that everyone’s having the best time he or she can. How do you know whether your readers enjoy their time on your blog? Why not just ask?

Give people a way to let you know whether the community aspects of your site work for them by including a Contact Me page. But if you really want to hear about how things are going, try just posting a blog entry asking people for their thoughts and constructive criticism about what you’re doing.

If someone asks you a question, either in the comments or through email, make sure to reply. Acknowledge what the person says in your reply and take the time to answer properly, even if only to thank him or her for the comment. Thoughtful responses to questions and comments about your blog can do as much to build your community as original blog posts can.

Visit and participate

Join other communities. It’s that simple. If you want to build a community around your blog, you need to participate in others. Find blogs that are related to the topic areas of your blog. Jump into the conversation by offering a different perspective or some feedback to the blogger or to the folks who leave comments. Mentioning your site on other blogs is fine, as long as you make sure that your comments relate to the subject at hand and add to the conversation.

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