Why Start a Blog – Building Community Online

blogging tips Why Start a Blog   Building Community Online

I wrote my first blog on this site on February 22, 2011 (coming up on my one year anniversary!) but started blogging in 2006.

Starting a blog, whether for personal or business reasons, can be overwhelming. Part of my day job is helping companies establish best practices to help build their online community. Recently, I’ve had a couple of close friends ask me how they can get started on their own.

Yes, I might get paid to do this during the day, but it’s a genuine passion helping others discover their voice online and connect.

Last summer I attended a workshop about building community online moderated by @jenniferalaine, @happykatie, and Molly Ford of Smart Pretty Awkward.

If you’re thinking of starting a blog of your own, below are a five helpful tips to get you started.

  1. Find your area of passion and connect. I have many passions that don’t necessarily fit into one blog, but I do it anyway, because this is what I love – sewing, crafting, travel, my family and social media. What are you passionate about? Before you start writing, seek out other bloggers within that niche. Be inspired, comment on their blogs and build your own community.
  2. Be yourself. Once you’ve identified your passion and found your inspiration, be yourself on your own blog. Don’t mimic other writers. That’s the best part about blogging and why people will subscribe – they want the raw, uncensored version of you. Don’t regurgitate.You can search for blogs using Tehnorati, Google blog search, Bloglovin or ask your friends for recommendations.
  3. Wait 3 months to promote your blog. Your readers need the opportunity to fall in love with your blog. Give yourself enough time to establish your tone, check for technical glitches and develop plenty of content for people to explore.
  4. Include opportunities for people to share. Before you promote your  blog, make sure your posts are enabled for social sharing. Is there a Facebook “Like” button? A “Tweet This” option? G+? Comment stream? If you’ve done this, make sure you respond to comments! Yes, there is an inherent risk of negative feedback when you enter the social realm. Be prepared to deal with it.
  5. Don’t use “read more”. Until you’ve gained the trust of your readers, do not use “read more”. Provide the entire post without making people work for the rest of the content.

What else would you add to this list?

If you have any additional questions for getting started, or connecting with bloggers, I’d love to hear from you!