Benefits of Blogging – Building a Community

This post is the second in the Benefits of Blogging series, where I will cover the many benefits of blogging, for bloggers and readers.

What could be better than gaining a worldwide audience with blogging? Taking that audience and creating a community.

Benefits of Building a Community

Have you ever wanted to find people to share a particular interest, but maybe friends and family are not that interested? By blogging, you can build a community that not only wants to hear your opinion about a topic, but wants to share theirs with you as well. A community interacts with you on the things you care about. The benefits of having community members is that they:

  • Come back time and time again
  • Add insightful comments to your articles
  • Inspire you to write more
  • Help you when you ask for advice
  • Ask for your help or advice
  • Share ideas that they think will help you
  • Share your articles with others
  • Recommend you to their community

Having a great blogging community also means that community members on your site will get to know each other, expanding their network and reach as well.

Now that you see some of the benefits of building a community, let’s look at some ways to do it!

Ways to Build a Community

So how does one build a community with their blog?

Commenting

The best way to start building community is through commenting. If you are new to blogging, find blogs that are similar in topic to yours and start commenting. I don’t mean the quick, drive-by “Nice post” comments. I mean really read the articles, and offer some useful comments. Consider your comments as information that future readers will find in addition to the article. Prove that you have thoughtfully read the article and include experience you have with the topic, how you think the topic could benefit yourself and others, and if there is anything you would add that would make the topic more valuable.

Also, be sure to reply to comments on your blog. Some commentators leave in questions or ideas that they have on your topic, and are genuinely interested in seeing your response. If they never get a response, they may think that you are not interested in their views, and may be less likely to comment in the future, thus diminishing the “community” feel of your site.

One way to see what topics are gaining the most community interest is by analyzing comment subscribers. For example, WordPress 2.7.1 users with the Subscribe to Comments can go into their Tools > Subscriptions and see a list of posts with the most subscribers, and also a list of commentators with the number of posts that they have subscribed to next to their email.

If you don’t have time to reply to all of your comments, at least be sure that you look at which commentators subscribe to the most topics (you can click on the email address to see which topics they are subscribed to) and be sure to respond to them. They subscribe because they want to be alerted to your replies! And if you want another reason why it is beneficial to reply to comments, think of it this way – anyone subscribed to a particular post will be emailed when replies have been added, and thus, reminded of your site and post via email.

Strengthening on Social Networks

While your focus is building community on your site, you should also research what networks are most popular with your community. Extending your blogging community on social networks allows you to:

  • Learn more about what interests your community.
  • Share your other projects with your community – things that do not quite fit with your blog, but you know your community may also enjoy.
  • Remind your community about your site by communicating with them in other areas as well – some of your community members may inhabit Twitter or Facebook more than their RSS reader.
  • Have the means to contact your community in case of blog downtime so they know you haven’t disappeared from the blogging world.

How to Tell if You Have Built a Community

Here are some ways to tell if you have, or on your way to, a successful blogging community:

  • Do you have a group of “regulars” who always are commenting on your site?
  • Do you recognize your readers on other networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)?
  • Do your readers interact with each other as well as with you?
  • Do you notice your readers commenting on other sites that you also comment on?
  • Do your readers share your articles with their online community?
  • Have you had visitors say they are visiting you from another reader’s site?

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, congratulations! You have a blogging community.

Your Blogging Community

Do you feel you have a good blogging community? Can you think of other benefits or ways to build your blogging community?

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Comments

  1. says

    Kristi.

    I have built many community forums and what really brought people back was to keep writing and sharing quality content. It didn’t hurt to mix in a little controversy from time to time.

    On the blogging side, I try to comment on blog posts that interest me. I try not to set a goal per day as this dilutes my commenting.

    Great article series!

    Frank Js last blog post..NoFollow Controversy Explained

  2. says

    As a beginner, of course I am thrilled when someone comes back more than once to comment, and I appreciate the friends I have already made in this short time through blogging. I am really looking forward to having a full community, because I love to spend my time online, talking to others about things that, as you say, may not (or USUALLY do not) interest the folks I see in day-to-day life! :)

    MiscBytess last blog post..Trakr the 9/11 hero dog cloned

  3. says

    I remember thinking at one point, “will I ever be able to build a blogging community.” What I came to realize over time is that it happens naturally, but only by doing the things you recommended in this article. There is no way to shortcut these steps and get the same results. Thanks for another excellent post Kristi.

    Jonathan – Advanced Life Skillss last blog post..The 5 Dimensions of Knowledge

  4. says

    Kristi-
    You have done a great job of explaining this.
    I think blogging is very similar to face to face relationships.
    We gravitate to our own interests and find many people interested in the same things.
    Excellent article Kristi-
    Thank you for writing and sharing it.

  5. says

    hi kristi,

    i get really annoyed when someone comments “great post” or “I agree”. it is a clear sign of spamming that will never work. it means that they haven’t read the post. they are just commenting to get a visit from me. The best way to deal with it is not to publish that comment.

    BTW, you have talked about comment subscribers in wordpress in the “commenting” paragraph. is there such thing available for bloggers too?

    great post… no seriously.

    best wishes.
    irtiza104

    irtiza104s last blog post..Summer Vacation: Utilized Properly

  6. says

    Building a community can be really fun. From blog commenting I have mat some awesome bloggers like yourself. People forget when they are promoting their blog to be social with others. If you don’t take with people then you not building a community. You are proof of that. Every time I visit I see people commenting on your posts that I never seen comment.

    Keep up the great articles and doing what you do best.

    Deneil Merritts last blog post..Deneil Merritt Is Now Mobile Ready

  7. says

    Ah hello I thought we had an arrangement where I would know about a new post before Frank LOL :)
    As far as community I was just thinking that there’s one thing that all the people in yours and mine OURS have in common that is they are good people :)
    and I’m in yours and your in mine :)
    A way I build is to reach out on the blog and behind the BLOG :)
    Meaning I have had a chance to talk to many people overtime by phone.
    Then you realize just how weird we all are :) but in a good way :) I hope..
    thanks for being a great example of how bloggers should be friends ;)

    John Sullivans last blog post..Marijuana saves America

  8. says

    Excellent thoughts Kristi! Building a community is I think most of the fun of blogging! I have had a blas meeting, learning from and sharing with like-minded people in the past year or so.

    It is a lot of fun but even more so, we add to the colective whole of this universe in such a beautiful way. We become of service to others, while doing what we each love :)

    Evitas last blog post..Scars

  9. says

    Nice post… just kidding. I mean it is a very well thought out post with loads of valuable tips for building a community rather than just a blog. I guess I find myself just another member of the community you have built. I’m glad to be a part of it.

    madhollywood@Sketch of the Days last blog post..Space Phatso

  10. says

    Heya! On community and building it via commenting. I realized that there are a many blogs which uses the original wordpress commenting system that doesn’t do any emailing back to the commenter. Which brings the blog owner either to reply and leave it as it is on the blog entry itself, or go one step further to email out to the commenter on the response made.

    I’m using Disqus which solves that issue.

    Other benefits of having a community is that we can all encourage one another in a more personal way via email. That’s my 2 cents. :p

    Daniel Richards last blog post..Why Flexibility Is A Double Edged Sword

  11. says

    Community is always beneficial and if its on blog its much better because you connected with the world. Your given tips are really very helpful for build a blog community. Thanks for sharing such nice info.

  12. says

    Commenting is so important in building a community because if done properly it will inspire others to visit your blog and if you are lucky and your post warrants it they will leave a comment in return. I am pretty strict with the quality of comments that I accept and delete those that I find are not worthy like the ‘nice post’ ones that you’ve already mentioned.

    Sire@ Cool Blog Linkss last blog post..From Birth To Realization Of The Word

  13. says

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Kristi. I couldn’t say “YES” for all of the questions but most of them which means there is still hope ;)

    Okay seriously, I think an important benifit of blogging is to know other people and how they think. I figgured out that I’ve regular readers to my blog although they don’t comment too often but reading what I write.

    Happy Blogging :)

    Hichams last blog post..To Tweet or not to Tweet?

  14. says

    Hey Kristi, yet another great post from you. You’re one of the best persons to write this, since there’s such a buzzing community here, and growing by the day too! Kikolani has already become one of my regular hangout spots in the blogosphere.

    Btw, thanks so much for the link love in your menu Kristi! I was wondering if you can update the url to http://celestinechua.com since I just changed my domain? Thanks again for all your help in the domain change :D

    Celes | CelestineChua.coms last blog post..Launch of CelestineChua.com

  15. says

    Hi Kristi,

    While I don’t get tons of traffic due to the fact I think I have “internet ADD” and keep moving my blog to different domains (one day I’ll settle down), looking at your list there at the end, I do actually have a “community”. There are a few people who consistently comment on my blog … and I comment on theirs. Probably not coincidentally, these are also some of the same people I am mostly likely to interact with on services like Twitter and Facebook.

    As far as ways to build the community?

    I think it may be as simple as “show up”, “participate”, and “give more than you take”.

    Todd

    Todd Morriss last blog post..The Baby Milk Shake

  16. says

    Revisiting this blog post, after an initial reading 4 months ago and what I’m currently doing, I’d like to add that building communities in Social Networking sites while critical to a successful blog is paramount in any social networking site.

    I’ve just started a buddypress site, and looking to build an online community interested in this hawaiian massage art. I’ll be applying all that I’m learning reading your blogs and the thoughtful words in this growing community, to growing a community my own there.

    Thanks again Kristi, I’m grateful for the day we met via another community sharing effort on problogger, respect to see you succeed in in being an important voice in this platform and happy to be a part of it.
    Haroun Kola from the KaHuna Massage Online Ohana just posted harounkola posted an update- Visit http-wwwLearnHawaiianMassagecom to learn how to give a body massage in the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi

  17. says

    I really enjoy doing comments and reading posts. It’s like an adventure of learning new things, seeing cool videos and pictures. And sometimes meeting new friends! I love it cause it keeps me updated to what’s new not mentioning it gives me a lot of traffic for our site.