Creating a devoted audience is often one of the biggest struggles bloggers seem to have. It’s one thing to create awesome content for your site, but it’s another thing completely when people are actively engaging with that content you share. Building relationships with readers and fellow bloggers has been one of my favorite aspects of blogging, but forming an audience takes time and a little know-how. Today I’m sharing 10 pieces of advice I’ve learned in order to help you create an active community on your blog.
1. Be human.
Imagine your blog isn’t just a virtual machine. It’s a hangout spot, a clubhouse, a place for people with similar interests to congregate. As the leader of this online hub, it’s your duty to facilitate connections with and among your readers. If someone leaves a comment, respond. If two of your readers are both expats in the same obscure country (this happens on my blog more than you’d think), then put them in touch. Treat your readers and your blog the same way you would any in-real-life connections — with love, respect, and diligence.
Related: 15 Ways to Be a Good Human Today
2. Create community-focused projects on your blog.
Maybe it will be an Instagram challenge where you create 30 days of fun photo ideas, a weekly themed link-up, or a book club. Think outside of the box! What interests you? What is your blog about? Find a way to mesh the two in a way that will be fun and engaging for your readers. If they love your blog and content, chances are they’d be interested in a way to hang around even more. Give that to them!
3. Ask questions.
The most important part of a community, in my opinion, is that it’s no longer about you, it’s about we. In order to create this communal structure, let your readers express who they are. This can be done in a number of ways, but the easiest is to just.ask.questions. Ask questions at the end of your posts, prompting readers to share what they think. Ask questions on your Facebook page, so that readers can share a little more about who they are. Ask interesting + helpful questions on Twitter, allowing your followers to share their feedback, all while interacting with each other. When people give you a piece of themselves, they’re likely to build a more meaningful connection with your brand, and will not only return to your site, but will share it with others, too.
4. Create kick-ass + consistent content.
Give your readers something they can depend on. I’ve posted almost every single weekday since I started my blog over 1.5 years ago. It’s bananas, but you get used to the schedule, and better yet, so do your readers. If your blog lacks commitment, it will be hard for your audience to commit to you, too. On another note, create the most bangin’ content you can. The more value your blog adds to your readers’ lives, the more likely they are to sing your praises from the rooftops and bring their friends along for the ride.
5. Include a subscription form at the bottom of your posts.
If someone made it to the end of your article, chances are they dig what you’ve got to say. Make sure they won’t forget about you by including an opt-in form at the end of your posts (bonus points if you offer a freebie with subscription!). Alternatively, you could include social media buttons, with encouragement to follow you or to “say hey” on Twitter — anything that will keep your new audience around for the long haul.
Related: 8 of My Favorite WordPress Plugins (one of them is perfect for creating subscription forms!)
I’m following my own advice today, and decided to include a little ol’ subscription form down below. If you sign up, I’ve got five more tips for you on how to build an active and engaged community on your blog. Just enter your name and email address and the free PDF will be sent to you straight away!