How to Grow Your Blog & Community

I won’t get into the whole blogrolling/lining issue again. If you want that you can read the rest of Chris Bowers’ post. (I did pipe up in the comments.) What I want to make sure and point out are the suggestions he gives for growing your blog and its blogging community. It’s a pretty good roadmap for anyone who’s blogging, or who’s just started blogging and is looking for a way to reach and reach out to people; good enough that it bears reproducing here, for those who just want the take-away that they can use.

  • Structure the URL’s within, and the links to, your blog in a way that will allow them to turn up near the top of common web searches. You can do this entirely by yourself.
  • Focus your writing to become an expert on a small number of issues. MyDD doesn’t write about everything–that isn’t how we became big. People turn to us for election, activism, and strategy information.
  • Take part in blogs that have a focus similar to that of your blog. This is a good way of building up trust as an authority on your issues without anyone ever visiting your blog.
  • Build a like-minded community. Stay in touch with, and try to organize, bloggers who focus on the same subjects as you. This will do even more to build up authority and awareness of the subjects on which you focus.
  • Targeted blogrolling. Once you are a member of a community, develop a specialized blogroll that directs people around that community.
  • Becoming the center of a blogswarm. This doesn’t happen very often, but if you are an established authority on a subject, it has a much better chance of happening to you.
  • Write every day. People won’t keep coming through your front door if you are regularly closed. Personally, I have taken around twenty days off since I started blogging seventeen months ago, and that includes weekends. That may sound insane (because it is insane) but hey, if you don’t have the stomach for it, reconsider your goals when it comes to blogging.
  • Write original material. If people just wanted to see a short comment on the news they can find at established outlets, they would hang out at bus stops all day and look at the expressions on the faces of people who are reading the newspaper. Blogging offers people ideas, viewpoints, and research they can’t find elsewhere. Provide it to them, or they won’t come back.

It’s an interesting list, and there’s not much in it that I can argue with. In fact, after reading it, I realized that I’d done most of what Chris suggested, even without having anyone spell out for me exactly how to do it. It’s all stuff that I’ve done in the course of my own blogging. The only thing that I might not say that about is the bit about becoming an expert on a small number of issues. I’m not sure I’ve done that, though an argument could be made that maybe I’ve established some authority when it comes to gay & lesbian issues in particular, and a few other issues that fall into my realm of experience.

The other interesting thing is that I can actually say, having tried or done most of it, that Chris’ advice works. It wasn’t until I jumped into the discussion that I considered how well it might have worked for me. In response to one of my comments, Chris wrote “You are, actually, [a] pretty solid mid-major blog. You are clearly a success story.” It gave me pause because it’s been said to me before, and because I don’t usually think of myself as successful.

But that’s another post for another time. I mainly just wanted to share Chris’ tips for better blogging.

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About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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4 Responses to How to Grow Your Blog & Community

  1. hope says:

    The thing is, most of us (meaning,at least I) don’t want to devote the time it takes to be a widely-read blog. I don’t have time to post every day, good lord. I mostly want a place to spout off. A few people I know read my blog, and while its always fun to know a random stranger thinks my opinions are interesting – the idea that I would spend lots of time and stress myself out to attract a big readership just makes me tired.

    Besides, I am under no illusions that my opinions are particularly insightful or original. Mostly, they provide good joke material for my friends. 😉

  2. Terrance says:

    Well, there are as many ways to be a blogger as there are, well, boggers. 😉 I guess my take is a little different because I fall into the “professional blogger” category. Little did I know when I started my blog that it would be a career move.

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  4. Elli says:

    Hi! Thanks this was very helpful. Funny just a few minutes ago I made a post about this topic. Maybe you could check it out and give me some more advice on how to improve? I would really appreciate it if you came to: http://www.soulkin.com/index.php/2005/09/24/which-way/

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