Why I Do What I Do.
Starting a blog is the easy part. Honest. You pick a domain name, a theme, set up social media, find a great host, and start writing. I think the hardest thing to do when you begin is to hit the “publish” button. LOL After I did that I thought it would all be downhill from there. It would get easier. I built it and they would come. But after almost 6 years I have learned that beginning is a lot easier than sticking it out. There are so many decisions to make along the way. Most often I find that I do things differently than the masses. Assessing the site and figuring out what works for me is hard. But it’s led me to here. Lots of bloggers ask me why I do what I do, thought I’d explain the method to my madness.
It took me the first few years of blogging to actually come out of the closet. Seriously. I was blogging in a vacuum and wondered why no one read my stuff. So I started Googling Blogging articles, trying to figure this thing out. I loved doing it, but I wasn’t doing it very well.
I realized that I was writing all wrong. Writing is just putting words down on paper, right? LOL my Grasshopper, that’s may technically be the definition of writing, but that doesn’t mean that the masses will want to read it. I was writing in text paper style. Writing posts that looked like text papers. “Do Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” was one of my very first posts. I did tons of research and wrote a great paper. But it looked like something I would turn in to my Sociology Professor.
Boy, did I have this blogging thing all wrong! LOL
Why I do what I do…
I did a lot of research and soul searching. I realized that many things I was doing on the blog, repeatedly, weren’t working. I had to reassess and research some more. I wasn’t quick at figuring things out, sometimes I may still not be the sharpest tool in the shed. LOL
I had to get out of my own way, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Perhaps the hardest thing to do.
Having a successful blog means having a community. And I didn’t have one. A community, that is. I had the blog, the domain name, hosting. But growing an involved community was harder than it seemed. “Build it and they will come” was not working for me. “Field of Dreams”, and Kevin Costner, make it look so easy!
Every blog that makes money (more than a few pennies) has a community. It’s the key to success. You don’t have to have huge pageviews to make money, and your community does not have to have a bajillion members. But you have to have community. This is a non-negotiable necessity.
This may be one of the only non-negotiable about blogging. Everything else is fairly subjective. What works for one my not work for another. But community stands for all.
Here are the things I do on my blog…
Each one of these 6 Tips will help you create community. I put lots of thought into each and every thing I do on the blog. The items below may be things you’re already doing but perhaps you need to change your perspective, or tweak things, to make the action one that contributes to building your community.
One: Learn the Skill of Commenting
Find other blogs to read and comment on. Whether you find these blogs through a linkup or Social Media, find them. Read their posts and write a well thought out comment.
-Ask them questions; things that you would like clarified from their article.
-Relate to them; tell a short story about yourself tied to the topic of the post.
-Debate; if you have a difference of opinion state it-kindly. Instigate a conversation.
-Read the other comments on the post, click through and get to know these people too. Some of the greatest moments happen in the comment section. Use these to create relationships.
-Follow other bloggers on Social Media
Comments are flowers and bonbons. Use them to Woo other bloggers. Help them get to know you, hopefully they will reply. If you love their blog then share it. Tag them in the post on Social media. Comment on their site, their topics, their knowledge. Do this sincerely.
Rinse and repeat.
This is a skill, it does not come naturally to most people. But it’s a skill, once learned, that will bless you over and over again.
TWO: Share on Social Media
I love to share great posts on my social media accounts from other bloggers. I realize that my social media following are real people. They eat, create, think, live, love. So I want to share things that will catch their eye, feed into their interests. Many of these are topics that are outside my wheelhouse, or niche. So I share from other bloggers. When I do this my followers appreciate it and I’m able to keep them on my Social Media Accounts longer. Win Win.
When I share on social media I tag the blogger in the post. I am looking for a certain level of interaction from them on my status. If I receive no interaction I will not share that bloggers work again. There are way too many great bloggers who write great posts for me to continue to share and not get love from the author.
When I share your post on social media I am giving your blog access to my community.
READ THAT AGAIN!
When I share your post on social media I am giving your blog access to my community.
THAT. IS. HUGE.
I’ve spend a lot of time cultivating my following. Finding my tribe.
A. LOT. OF. TIME.
So, when I share your work with my followers I expect you to interact with the post. And please, DO NOT write “thanks for sharing”. For the love of all things good, don’t reply this way. It kills the share. When I share to my page I’m giving you the opportunity to reach people that you wouldn’t normally have access to.
You need to take the steps to enable your post to reach more of my following. I make it simple for you by tagging you in the post. Read the intro I wrote about your post when I shared it. Follow up on that. Elaborate. Now it’s my turn to reply to you. I will attempt to ask a question or make a statement so that you can reply again. Every time there is action on the post it increases the reach. So keep the interaction going for as long as you can.
If I share your work on Social Media and I get a reply and interaction from you I will share your work again. If not, I will move on to another blogger and share their work. This is BLOG KARMA. Give what you want in return.
THREE: Create a Linkup & Be Involved with ALL those who Link
There are so many Blog Linkups out there and they can help you meet other bloggers and gain pageviews. When I started my #WAYWOW linkup I didn’t create it to bring hundreds or thousands of pageviews to my blog each month. It can be utilized in this way, but I was thinking long term. If I gained thousands of pageviews a month from a linkup I would have to continue hosting the linkup forever. Those pageviews would never become a relationship. I needed to figure out how to create a linkup that would help me get to know other bloggers.
I set some criteria for myself, from the beginning. I limit my linkup to 100 entries a week. This is a manageable number of posts for me to read and comment on each week. And I do. I read and comment on every post linked. I learn so much by doing this. There are so many cool blogs and bloggers out there. This helps me create a relationship with those who attend regularly.
For me the relationships trump the amount of pageviews. Relationship is a gift that keeps on giving. For both of us. There’s only so much time in a day. So when I decided that I would be interacting with each and every post on the #WAYWOW Linkup I had to set my priorities. My first responsibility is to those linked up. I will make time to read, comment and share every single post. This meant that I would have to stop interacting in linkups on other blogs. This would limit exposure to my posts, but I decided creating community was my goal.
If you participate in #WAYWOW and link up the maximum 3 posts each week this is what you will receive from me:
-A well thought out comment on each post. The comment will not say “Thanks for Linking” it will not refer back to the linkup at all. This will be a comment that Google will like, huge plus for you, and will reflect that I read the entire post.
-Each and every post linked will be added to my Group Pin Board.
-If you link up at least 2 out of 4 weeks you can be added to the Group Pin Board
-If the post resonates with me I will share on multiple sites:
- StumbleUpon-this gives you the opportunity for thousands of pageviews
- Yummly-if you post recipes at all make sure you have a Yummly account and a Yummly share button at the end of your post. I will share to my recipe box.
- Twitter-Insert a ‘Tweet This’ into your posts. This makes it easy for me to share. Write a good tweet.
- Facebook-As stated above, if your post is something I think my readers will like I will share on Facebook. If I do share your post on FB and you interact I will share your posts more frequently.
- Google Plus-When I share your post correctly on Google+ I am giving you the gift of indexing your post on Google. Serious flowers and bonbons in the area of Google referrals.
My advice: First of all, join the #WAYWOW linkup weekly. Add 2 posts, new or old, I Pin each entry. If I’ve already commented on an older post I will make sure to share on another social media platform. When you join #WAYWOW you agree to read and comment on 2 other entries. You must do this whether you add one post to the linkup or 2. So, it makes a whole lot of sense to add 2 posts, right?
Make sure your share buttons are at the bottom of your post, or floating on the side of your site. I will not go searching for ways to share. You need to make it easy for me and your other readers to share. Add a share button for every type of platform most often used; Facebook, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Google+, Yummly.
Put several ‘Tweet This’ boxes in your post! I will Re-Tweet a well crafted tweet.
Do yourself and your readers a favor, make it easy to share your posts!
Check out Jessica from Adventures of a Cavemom. I love her posts. Not only are they interesting to read, I love to learn more about healthy eating, they’re very shareable. Jessica has floating share buttons, as well as a “Like” button, Yummly and clickable Tweets!
Jessica makes it easy to share, so I do!
If you enter the maximum of 2 posts into the #WAYWOW linkup each week, and make it easy for me to share, you could benefit hugely. I have decided to run the linkup as a community building tool. It takes time and effort, but the relationships are PRICELESS.
In order for me to accomplish these things each week I’ve had to stop adding my posts to linkups on other sites. There isn’t enough time in the week for me to do both. I’ve realized that it’s more beneficial if I do it this way, for all of us.
I could add my posts to your linkup each week and you would get a pageview or two from me, at most. Perhaps a comment, if I chose your post out of all the posts linked up. But if you link up at #WAYWOW I will share the heck out of your posts and leave a comment on each one.
Serious Flowers and Bonbons!
Join This: #WAYWOW LINKUP
FOUR: Social Media Blast
We all need to grow our following on Social Media, especially if we are looking to monetize. Brands are looking for blogs with large, involved communities. It makes so much sense for us to work together. Each week we feature a different Social Media platform, so you can build them all.
This is not a link dump.
This is a list of bloggers on Social Media, bloggers for you to follow and interact with. Show a little love to these sites as you scroll through your feed, BLOG KARMA, give what you would like to receive and watch your post interaction soar.
This is a tool to help grow your community. But YOU have to take action. Follow everyone in the linkup. Not just those in your niche. Your readers are well-rounded people, share posts from different blogs to keep them entertained. Reading about one subject all the time gets really boring. And if I get bored I know my readers do too.
Join This: Social Media Blast every Thursday at 9 pm EST
FIVE: #WAYWOW Tribe Facebook Group
After I implemented BLOG KARMA, became skilled at creating blog comments and began the #WAYWOW Linkup the #WAYWOW Tribe was born. Mary Kalpos is the Co-Founder and my partner in crime. We decided to take our blog communities and merge them together to create a Tribe that supported each other and worked together to grow our pageviews, reach and Social Media.
In the group we learn the best ways to share on social media to get more reach, how to implement good practices on our blogs, and support each others endeavors. We are from different niches and we’ve been blogging for different lengths of time. But we are a TRIBE. We have each others backs. What more could you ask for?
Through this group we have all grown leaps and bounds. Having a group of bloggers to promote you and look out for your best interests is PRICELESS. It doesn’t get any better than this! We’re always interested in bloggers who want to join in our group. Become part of our TRIBE. If you are interested click through the post below and Contact Me.
READ THIS: #WAYWOW is Growing
SIX: VIP Lounge
And it’s where I share my best tutorials and advice. Sign up for my weekly newsletter and you will gain access to the VIP Lounge. I think that my community deserves my best, so I pack the VIP Lounge with flowers and bonbons. And a few free printables here and there.
Those who sign up for my newsletter also get the “real story”. I share behind the scenes, our real lives. We talk about how we’re dealing with the kids genetic and mental issues, the Make Lemonade Shop, and whatever else is on my mind. I love my VIP Community and I look forward to sharing with them each week.
There’s no better way to get involved with your audience, let them in and allow them to truly get to know you. You can’t form a relationship without feelings, trust and laughter. A whole lotta laughter!
JOIN THIS: VIP Lounge
Why I do what I do…
Blogging isn’t a one sized fits all, there are many different paths to creating a successful site, but these are 6 items that I believe to be Universal across Niches. How you create community is up to you, yours doesn’t have to look like mine. Or anyone else’s.
Use these 6 tips to figure out what you want your Community/Tribe to be. Then get out and find it. Lavish them with Flowers & Bonbons, let them know who you are, put your Blog Karma to work for you and enjoy the ride!