Thursday, January 10, 2013

5 Ways to Build Community on Your Blog

As the Internet has seized a stronger grip and command of modern business, media, and culture, the way marketers approach it has to evolve. While SEO is still important, blog consumers are often specializing their searches and chasing after community and home sites to regularly check and read.

Consequently, building a community with your readership is now an essential part of Internet marketing. Here are three ways to achieve the kind of community that will draw long-term readers and a blog built to last:

1) Consistent, quality content

While people often use the web for quick searches and information, there is a higher concentration on seeking out expert or more meaningful content. People are looking for writers who have authority and Google is incorporating Google profiles to help searchers find them.

Therefore, the keys to a strong community on your site is having authoritative and quality content that keeps people coming back, and consistent enough content to reward returning readers with fresh takes.

2) Invite reader interaction

There are numerous ways to accomplish this on your blog. A primary way is through a comments section. Many bloggers don’t take on the burden and time expenditures of having a comments thread on their articles. The time costs are high, as you need to police the comments for spam, inappropriate content, and trolls.

However, readers love to interact with the writer and the time investment in policing the comments and promoting the better commentators can reap tremendous rewards in building community.

Instead of inviting people to read your blog just for your writings, you invite them to read your writings and offer their own responses. Commenters love to be affirmed by a response from the blogger and get the sense that they are in a community with the writer and other commenters.

From there, you can invite further interaction by asking questions for the readership to answer in your article, posting polls, or using other creative measures such as “choose your own story” articles.

3) Empower the reader

If you have active commenters on your blog you can empower them with their own responsibilities within the article. Do you run a sports or political blog? Create an article to serve as a live thread for a sports event or political speech. Have some great, frequent commenters on your blog? Invite them to post an article, perhaps even bring them aboard as a regular writer on the blog to help the site grow in scope and content.

An essential part of a community is the possibility for people within the community to rise up in stature and rank in accordance with merit.

4) Be active on other blogs and in other communities

Your blog doesn’t have a strong community yet, but there may be a strong and similar online community on another site. Don’t be afraid to promote that blog and be active within its community. As a result, you will attract readers and links back to the community you are looking to establish on your own site.

If you have consistent and quality content up, there’s a good chance you will steal or share readers with the other site in the long-term. In the meantime, their community has created for you a perfect place to promote your own site and community by being active in theirs and demonstrating what you offer to the types of people who will be interested in your blog.

Practically you can accomplish this by linking readers to those blogs and directing traffic their way, engaging in their interactive features, and pointing back to your own content in a reasonable and controlled manner. If you can generate return links you will really grow your audience.

5) Make it easy for your blog to be shared

Social Media is a mega-haven for online community that has to be taken advantage of in order to create a specific community on your blog. It’s important that you are active in social media and make it easy for your articles and site to be shared through social media.

As a result, the existing online community on Facebook or Twitter can easily be drawn into topic-specific discussion on your site. What’s more, your authority on topics will be greatly magnified if some of your articles have been the subject of social media interactions on Facebook or Twitter.

Author Bio: IanB writes for USA News Brief, where you can write for us on developing news and stories within the USA.