What has been the biggest factor in the growth of my blog? a viral post? a good course or blog conference? posting more frequently? Nope. While all of those have been good for my blog, I’d say that the single biggest factor in my success as a blogger has been my blog community.
Several years ago, I found a fantastic Facebook group for Canadian bloggers. It’s a small, tight group and I’m honoured to be a member there. I’ve learned so much from the other bloggers. Their advice and support has been the biggest impetus behind the growth of my blog over the past several years.
Blogging can be a lonely task. We spend hours at our computer, writing posts, choosing and editing images, networking on social media. Our readers are spread across the country. When I started blogging, I didn’t know any other bloggers in person. I followed several bloggers whom I admired greatly, and I dreamed of someday being a blogger like them, but I didn’t know how to achieve that.
When I met DeBalino, the amazing woman behind BabyStylista, I was so excited to have a blogging friend. We’ve gotten together occasionally for “professional development” days—letting our girls play together while we watched a YouTube video about blogging or discussed our current struggles and successes. We live in different cities now, but we’ve had the chance to attend several blog conferences together. Having a friend who understands the blog world and can brainstorm blog ideas with me is amazing.
If you have a tribe of bloggers around you, then that’s fantastic.
Finding Your Blog Community
If you are still looking for a blog community, here are some ways to find it:
- Search on Facebook. Right now, I primarily use Facebook to check in on my blog groups and connect with my readers via my Facebook page. There are a lot of Facebook groups for bloggers; some are better than others. Try joining a few and looking around to see if it’s the right fit for you. You want a group that is active and supportive. Groups where bloggers just drop their links and run, or attack each other, are not helpful. If you do find a group you like, engage and network; you’ll get out of the group what you put into it.
- Network at conferences. Conferences can be a good place to meet fellow bloggers. Hand out business cards and chat with other bloggers. When you get home, reach out on social media. Look for bloggers in your niche or those who have something in common with you. For example, I’m a mom blogger with a general focus, while Babystylista is a fashion blogger focused on kids’ styles, but we’re both moms with little girls.
- Take a course. Many courses set up Facebook groups for their attendees to connect with each other and ask questions or complete tasks related to the course. For example, Pinning Perfect (which I heartily recommend) added all participants to a group to “share Pinterest information, ask questions and collaborate for Pinterest success.” This can be a great way to get more out of the course but also to connect with other bloggers in similar niches. When the course ends, stay in touch or see if others want to form another, smaller group to continue supporting each other.
- Connect locally. Moving to Vancouver has been great for my blog because there are a lot of other bloggers here. I’ve benefited from the YVR Bloggers Group and the Vancouver Moms Top 30 nomination. Meetup.com can be one way to find local bloggers groups; local conferences are also a good way to connect. Or search via social media, and reach out if you find a fellow blogger in your city.
Starting a Blog Community
If you want to start a blog group, either in person or on Facebook, here are some suggestions:
- Set rules or guidelines. You can brainstorm these with other members, but make sure that everyone understands the purpose of the group and what is allowed or not within it. Any negativity shouldn’t be allowed.
- Decide who the group will be open to. Is this group for bloggers of a certain niche? bloggers in a certain geographic area? bloggers of a certain ethnic or faith community? I’m part of groups for each of these and each has their own pros and cons. Decide what the demographic of the group should be and stick to that.
- Support each other. Groups work best when members are supporting each other and giving back. Some ways to do this are to comment on each other’s blog posts, share each other’s posts on social media, answer each other’s blog questions, etc.
- Keep it small. I do recommend limiting members somehow. In my experience, bigger groups just get noisy; it’s harder to connect with other members and people are often less active within the group (or a smaller group are more active while others lurk). You’ll need to decide what size works for your group and your purpose.
- How to Build Your Blogging Community
- 5 Ways to Build a Blog Community
- 9 Facebook Groups for Entrepreneurs and Bloggers
- 7 Tips to Find Your Blogging Community
Do you have a blog community? How has it helped your blog? How did you find it?