I'm so excited to join some amazing women for a "grow your blog" blog hop series! The wonderful Kelly from live.laugh.rowe pulled the whole thing together! You can learn more and see the other posts in the series here.
Other folks have covered some really awesome topics this week including pinterest, linky parties, advertising, giveaways, and social media.
I wanted to talk about something today that makes all of those things possible, worth it, and rewarding.
My most favorite thing about blogging.
My ultimate goal for Along for the Ride.
Think back all those many moons ago when you started your blog (maybe it was years, maybe weeks, and maybe you're considering starting one right now!)
Why did you do it?
To give stuff away?//To advertise businesses?//To gets comments?//To have your pictures pinned?
Those are all awesome by-products of blogging (and can lead to some really great exposure for your site), but I suspect that's not the real reason you started.
I think you started a blog to keep connected with family, to share your loves and passions, maybe even to inspire others.
You know why you started a blog?
Because you have an amazing story to tell!
And, at the end of the day, I bet your favorite part about this whole bloggy business is the people.
Am I right?
We all want people to follow our blog. We all love seeing those numbers increase. And that's absolutely ok. I know I do!
But more than numbers, I want to build a community on my blog. A place where readers interact and share, just as much as I do. I want folks to feel welcome because of who I am, not just what I'm giving away.
Want to build community? I do, I do! Here are a few ideas I've been pondering. Hopefully we can try these together and reap the fruits of great friendship and encouragement together!
1. Community is sharing your story.
found on Marta Writes, source unknown
You have experienced hardship. You have been victorious. You are an expert in a few areas. You are a student in many others.
Whatever your story, know it, believe it, live it, and write it. No one can tell your story better than you can, and trust me, the world deserves to hear it!
2. Community is genuine
Gosh I love this picture!
Amazing photography from Kara Welter.
I couldn't find a website, but her other photos can be found on her pinterest board here.
Your readers want to hear from you, the real you. They want to be friends with the real you. And they want to come back to the real you.
Make sure that when you hit that "publish" button, that every word is yours and that your voice shines through. Some bloggers are funny. Some are serious. Some are wordy. Some cut right to the chase. However you choose to share, work to find your voice and then stick to it!
3. Community is asking
I love including questions in my posts. Whether they have been readers since the beginning or just stumbling on my blog for the first time, I love to hear what other have to say. Questions are a great way to begin a dialogue with your readers!
4. Community is answering and responding
from Design Sponge
Community is about putting ourselves out there. Making ourselves a bit vulnerable. And when a question is asked, it's about answering it.
Respond to emails (as timely as you can). Reply to comments (loving bloggers new comment threads!). Use your twitter to follow up with readers and to engage with your favorite bloggers!
Community is a two-sided conversation.
I would encourage you to consider ways you can engage your readers in a more meaningful way and encourage conversations on your blog. Some ways I try do to this is by
- responding to as many emails as I can (as quickly as I can)
- asking for prayer requests and praying on them throughout the week
- being intentional to promote others through my blog and social media just because I love them
- ad swapping with blogs/shops that I enjoy
- replying to comments when I can
- hosting a weekend craft party
- asking for shop/blog feedback/advice
What ways do you build community on your blog? Any ideas to share?
I hope you'll join my friend Nichelle at Vintage Wanna Bee tomorrow as she talks about social media!
[If you're going to pin any of these pictures to your own Pinterest boards, please do not pin them from here. Make sure you go back to the original source and pin from there. These are not my ideas so I do not deserve credit for them.]