10 Ways To Create Community With Your Blog Readers

Creating blog content is a great way to attract new readers, to get SEO benefits for your blog, and to establish your authority. But it shouldn’t be treated as just a one way communication vehicle. You’re not just pushing information out into the world.

Your blog will be more effective if you can establish a real relationship with your readers. Create a community that they want to be part of (see Chris Brogan’s take on why businesses should create community and then work to keep it).

How to Create Community Using Your Blog

Here are 10 ways you can deepen the relationship with your blog readers and establish a sense of community, bringing them back to your blog more often. At the end, I’d like you to add to the list by providing your best ideas on how to create community.

Create Community1) Invite them to comment

People are more prone to engage with you if you ask. And don’t just say, “Please leave your comment below”. No, ask them a relevant question. Ask them to contribute to the discussion. Consider it a challenge to get someone who’s never commented before to comment on your blog! Getting blog comments is a way to start creating community.

2) Notify them that you replied to their comments

Use a tool to notify them that you’re responded to them. Comment tools like Disqus include this. “Reply Me” is a popular (but aging) WordPress plugin so it may become defunct soon. More recently, Comment Luv Premium (my favorite commenting tool and the one used on this blog) has added a reply notification feature.

3) Comment on the blogs of your commenters

Now that you have people commenting, return the favor. Go to their blogs and comment on them (and share them in social media). Help them create community on their blogs as well! I’m sure you’ll see how making connections with your readers can help expand your reach in online world.

4) Ask them to connect with you in social media



Ask your community to connect with you in social media in several ways. Some people require repetition to get the message! Put a badge or widget in the sidebar. Many bloggers use Facebook Like boxes in their sidebar, but if your community hangs out more on Twitter use a Twylah widget instead. Put a call to action in your blog posts (pick the most important social media platform to focus on). Put all of your profile links in your about page.

5) Connect to readers and share their content in social media

You can tell who’s sharing your posts when they mention you in social media. Make sure you connect to those people. Take the time to find some of their blogs and to comment and share. You should appreciate people who share your content and take the time to mention you! There are other social sharing sites you can use outside of Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Make use of niche sharing communities like BizSugar for example.

Take a look at this video called BizSugar is a Small Business Networking Community

6) Start a forum or group for your readers

Consider launching a group or forum for your readers. This is a place where you can really engage with them much more deeply. For example, Ms. Ileane has her Fans of Blogger Ileane group in Facebook and I have the Small Business Marketing Forum group in LinkedIn for my readers. Any social network that supports groups can be used to create community.

7) Mention and link to their blogs in your posts

When you write posts, take the time to mention some of your readers or their blogs. Make sure you link to them so they can get some search benefit and they may notice the “ping” from your blog that tells them about the link. Create community by being interactive and responding to questions from your readers.

8) Invite the Better Writers to Guest Post on Your Blog

One way to really get to know one of your community members is to have them guest blog on your site. You could also consider writing for their site if it met your criteria in terms of quality and size.

9) Be Personal, Admit Mistakes

We love facts, but people connect to humans. Share a bit of yourself and add personality to your posts, talk about your family or your pets. Also, share some of your failures or mistakes. This will deepen the connection.

10) Provide great value with your content

At the end of the day, they’ll come back more often if the content is valuable, teaches them something or gives them ideas.

How Do You Create Community?

I know you have some great ideas. What are the best ways you’ve seen to build blog community? Let me know in the comments!

image credit: create communitywww.istockphoto.com

About 

My name is Tom Treanor and I help companies, solopreneurs and bloggers accelerate their content creation with my Fast, Easy Blogging Course. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter.

124 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Great post Tom, about half of those suggestions I try and follow and implement myself but there are a few a should try and take a more active role in doing like starting a forum. I have tried to integrate a forum on one of my sites with little success , as it’s a full time job keeping it up and running until you are able to bring in “moderators” to do some of the work for you.

    Cheers
    Mark

    • Mark,

      Yes, I think so too. Forums can be a lot of work. I have a LinkedIn group with over 600 people and a smaller Facebook group (for clients). I suspect that the reason people use these as their forums include no need for technical set-up and the people are already partially vetted by Facebook or LinkedIn. Good luck and thanks for your comment!

  2. I think Starting a forum is the best way to create community with blog readers. After creating a forum, readers can ask any question via forum.

    • I think forum is good way to create community however it’s quite hard if your blog is new! I think comment on the blogs of your commenters is the best way to do this :)

      That’s my opinion. Correct me if I wrong :)

  3. Actually, Ileane, I have another idea: it’s quite not mine, I’ve seen it on other blogs. They added a forum to their blog, which, of course, they named it “[blog's name] community” :)

  4. When I first started out with my blog, I didn’t really comment on other blogs even though I read them… and found that I was getting no comments on my blog. So, I began biting the bullet and putting my two cents in to articles I enjoyed or had something to say about and have had great results – people have been commenting on my blog posts so much more and sharing them through social media.

    Creating a community is one of the most necessary (and fun) things about having a blog, so thank you for highlighting this!

    • Hi Lizzie,

      I’ve learned the same lessons. If you don’t proactively comment, share, etc. you can’t expect people to do that for you. Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you liked it!

  5. Another good blog post with useful ideas! If you use wordpress, bbpress.org has a free plugin for creating a good forum. If you combine the bbpress forum with a free social login plugin, users will be able to log in to your forum with for instance their Facebook or Twitter profiles. This way you have your community and you can interact with your readers using the info from the social log in’s they leave.

  6. Fantastic post – thank you! I love the idea of creating a forum and fully agree that being fallible is a positive thing; we all want to connect and we can only do so with people who show their humaness!

    I’m not sure about point 2. How do we draw the line between staying in contact and providing useful information and ensuring we do not cross the line of spamming? Our inboxes are already overflowing, so I tend to prefer to check back in manually rather than get an inbox of messages telling me I have a response to my comment…

    • Rae – I hear you. There are several things we can do to improve our businesses, traffic and engagement. Some may slightly degrade user experience. I think in the scheme of things, the benefits of extending the conversation and getting a real conversation going quickly outweigh the annoyance for some in my mind. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I like point # 3, and I’ll most certainly start doing that now!

    Not sure how relevant this is, but there’s a great plugin on WordPress called BuddyPress, which actually encourages community-building on one’s blog by building a social network of sorts on the blog itself. Might be worth checking out.

  8. I have to say they are brilliant ideas on how to build a community around your blog. I have seen high ranking blogs with no comments or those that have not been shared enough. I like the idea of mentioning some of the commentators in blog posts.

  9. Hey,

    Excellent tips to create community. I think the best method to make community is your comments, if you reply to comments and keep the users interacting with each other then you can make your blog as a community.

    Thank you

    mark

  10. Great tips! I usually send my skype ID to my readers when they have several questions about my tutorial. Since it’s hard to explain the process, and details. I find it more easier to connect with them and help them. I use twitter too from time to time :) Thanks for the other tips!

  11. Thanks for the tips. Comment luv premium plugin is a best way to have a good interaction with readers. It surely helps to build a good community with followers.
    Thumbs up!

  12. HI Tom,
    Creating a community becomes easy when you have some traffic coming to your blog. You can always ask your readers to connect with you using social media like Twitter and Facebook.
    For me guest posting has worked awesome as I made contacts with some really talented bloggers.
    Thanks for these great tips.

  13. Hi, Tom,

    absolutely valuable recommendations. It boils down to connecting with people and providing a good service. In order to receive, we first have to give.

    Being personal is very important, kind of inviting people to your house and sitting on the kitchen table. Great insights! Thank you!

    • Margarita,

      I think that personal connection is missing for many newer bloggers (or they can overdo it sometimes too) but getting the right balance is key!

  14. Well, I liked the content and the logic too but resources are missing like, How he can create forum?

    You can use vBulletin or IPB if you are looking for Paid License or else you can go with MyBB for free forum :)

    Also, Please continue the same as it’s help in marketing.

  15. I love blogs like BasicBlogTips because It’s like a bloggers community and It gets great response from bloggers through comments, especially I like blogs where author also participates in the conversation with their readers, that is why I do respond to every comment on my blog.

    Thanks for writing on this Tom.

  16. I’m a publicity expert, aka The Publicity Hound, with an ezine that goes to about 6,000 readers.

    I have a section called “Help This Hound.” Readers who need help with publicity send me their question. I publish it at my blog. I include the question in my ezine and link to the blog, and invite people to comment. Ideas from my readers are sometimes far better than my own ideas. It’s really created a sense of community.

    • Joan,

      That’s a great addition to the list and I agree. That’s a great way to connect with your readers and get better content ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Excellent post! I do much of what you listed above everyday and it drives a lot of traffic back to my blog. But even better than that is that it is fun to get to actually know people from all around the world.

    I love doing written interviews with fellow bloggers as well. Ones that help others get to know them better and connect with people they may not have come in contact with yet.

  18. From what I’ve seen, it all starts with quality content. If we have met this condition, creating a community is just a question of personal decision. I am seriously consider adding a forum to my blog, as to enhance the communication with my readers.

    • Julian,

      Great point about emphasizing the content. Yes, it all starts with producing the best content you can and that’s a minimal requirement. Thanks for your comment!

  19. That was a very detailed post. I think you have forget to mention another 2 things you can add an rss feed button to your blog or add an squeezepage to build an list in your blog.

    • Agreed. Essential additions – RSS (and I feature the email subscribe option so people know that that’s an option) and building your email list (e.g. with a giveaway).

  20. Wade Harman

    These are great tips! I believe that the new update on the CommentLuv Premium plugin covers almost all of what you have recommended.

  21. I used to consider creating a forum on my site but then I stopped because it is not easy. We must really engage with readers before convincing them to join our forum, there must be some value to attract them.

    • Tuan,

      Yes, the value has to be there and you need to consistently promote it. You could try a Facebook group or LinkedIn group to save the development headaches. Good luck!

  22. Using online media tools like Skype, Facebook, Twitter, etc is the great method to communicate directly with readers and create big community eventually. Btw Great post!

  23. Excellent post. Thanks, Tom Tom Treanor. It all boils down to being a good host. You wouldn’t allow bullies, pushy salesmen, and offensive people to a party. They don’t allow the conversation to flow. It’s just common sense!

    It’s okay to share your own link sometimes…thanks for being careful about it. I appreciate your honesty and tact.

  24. Hi,
    Well the tips that you have shared are really very effective. Inviting to comments and social media sites are really one of the best ways to build up your online community. Thanks for the share!!

  25. Can not disagree with any of this tips which can be successfully applied for any niche. Of course consistency and hard work are most important.

  26. Aasma

    Really Great Points Tom,

    It’s important to build a loyal community, it not just help you to build successful blog but also helps you to reach wide range of audience. You’ve mentioned some really great options but personally I would go with “Facebook Group” as everybody has Facebook account so you can easily connect with huge number of people, without forcing them to sign-up somewhere else.

  27. This is definitely the way to go if you want to build a community with your blog. However, bear in mind that this would take a lot of work and patience.

  28. Great tips!!
    I would also suggest that one should have a good signature in emails and other notification mails. The signature should contain the links to our sites and other important social profiles.

    By the way, I just noticed that most of the posts here have a video featuring Ileane Madam :-)

  29. If you manage to make a small community of 4-5 bloggers then you can all kinds of meet-ups and hangouts. I do this with a lot of bloggers in my area and we have anual competitions of football or PC games or a monthly get-together to talk and see what’s new and what we can do to improve our sites…it’s really cool and it’s nice to be part of such a great community! I suggest you all give it a shot

  30. Tom,

    Thank you for the tips. I really think it’s important to rely on a community when you have a blog. If you rely to much on google traffic only and have little return visitors you ae to dependable on google.
    Whatever means you use for building a community, it always starts with helping one person or a group of persons in whatever form that may be. It takes times but it’s worth it.

    John

  31. Jane

    I like number 9 the best. It’s true that a way to become friends or at least to connect with others is to share personal stuff about yourself or your life. Works a lot to me, because I get to talk with people and get advice even if we don’t know each other.

  32. Hey Tom!

    I am agreed with all of your points. Creating a community among the blog readers is very important aspect of blogging. Many bloggers have done this work very well on their blogs, but your points are so valid and helpful.

  33. Hi Tom,I do invite them to comment as comment luv premium plugin is nothing short of a comment magnet. I will try mentioning them in the future. Nice idea though.

    • Yes, we’re often focused on our own blog but by doing something nice for someone else is one of the best things to do to establish trust (and to grow).

  34. I think ( and you delivered it too ) that building relation ship with different bloggers in your niche is the best idea to promote your blog, content and finally yourself.

    And Commenting is the best methods to build relationships. Put quality comments and in-return receive tons of quality comments from lots of bloggers.

    Finally great post, Thanks..

  35. Great tips Tom. Replying to comments and commenting on the blogs of our commenters is a great way to say, “I’m here listening and checking you out”. I use the Reply feature of Commentluv Premium! Thanks for the great tips.

    • Simran,

      Building your own community takes time. You can join an existing community and stand out – existing groups, sites like Blog Engage, Social Media Examiner forums or LinkedIn groups.

  36. All these tips are great. Have been following them, but it seems my starts are in the wrong position! I have enable commentluv on sites. But traffic is so low that things are just not working…

    • Manishak. Two things: 1) Are you producing quality content? 2) Are you commenting on other comment luv blogs? I don’t see a recent post under your name so maybe your settings are not correct.

  37. great tips. when i started my two blogs, i used to think that allowing commenting at my blogs will just end up with spamming all over my blogs. but after reading this great article, I realized that allowing commenting is good for a blog. of course i’d monitor such comments personally, and from that way i can keep spammer away from my blogs. many thanks for such great tips.

    • Arshad – it can depend. Some blogs don’t attract many real comments (like for many small businesses) but others do. Definitely use Akismet or the GASP antispambot plugin.

  38. I like the part where you have said about asking your reader to comment.

    Made this article even better :)

    Don’t ask them in simple text to comment on your article, but ask them a very interesting question that is very visible to them.

    Great article!

  39. Hi Tom,

    These are great, practical tips – I’m fairly new to this game, so I’m relieved to see that I’m already trying to implement most of them – don’t feel up to starting a forum yet, but it’s something I’ll consider in the future when I’ve more time.

    I’ve found CommentLuv invaluable – it’s really helped me connect with other bloggers in a meaningful way. I’m only using the freebie at the moment, but I’ve just invested in the premium version and I’m looking forward to getting it set up (hoping it’s easy because the techie side of things isn’t exactly my strength!)

    I was interested to read number 7 because I’m in the process of writing a post in which I comment on someone else’s blog – I think that’s a great way to support other bloggers and intend to do more of it in future.

    Many thanks for this – I’ll certainly be bookmarking and sharing it,

    Sue

    • Hi Sue,

      Yes, supporting other bloggers by mentioning them is a great way to build social capital, which helps with community. Good luck with your blog and see the comments here also for a lot of other great community-building ideas!

  40. Hello Tom,
    Amazing tips. you have done a great research .. and the facts and tips are really informative. Blogging is worth to reach your customers and increase your business usability on Internet but it should be quality and share it among the created community just posting content on blog doesn’t work. I really like your tips to create community and finding new readers for our blog.

  41. Nice tips you have shared Tom. Participating in the blogs of our commenters is a really a good way to say,” You can find here and check my new post”. I use the Reply feature of Commentluv Premium! Thanks for the awesome tips.

  42. Hi Tom, these are great ways to create community and I can also get more traffic following tips above. One of the mistake I’m making is that I haven’t left a comment on blog that commented on my yet, gotta do it.

    Thanks for sharing – Ferb

  43. Yes, creating community among your readers and friends is a good way. Asking your readers to join your social profile is good. I think give your social profile link on your blog so that interested reader will add you there. Good post.

  44. i agree with all the tips u shared above nd specially the commenting one if you comment on other blogs it will automatically fetch comments on your blog

  45. Excellent tips here! When I first started blogging, I joined a few blog challenges and this really helped to get the word out about the blog and get people to read it. I also made great friends and new clients on social media.

    Commenting on a few blogs helps a lot too. If it feels overwhelming to comment on lots of blogs, just pick 5 or so and subscribe to them so you get notified when new posts are published. It really helps in time to build your own audience!

    • Yes Delia. I agree with your focused strategy for commenting (or for social media for that matter). You get noticed so much more by being consistent. Thanks for stopping by!

  46. Its a nice post
    Its really hard 2 get Good bloggers to write guest post for your new blog, can you share more tips on how i can be succesful with this?

    • Derek,

      I think they’re more interested when they see there’s an audience or other people guest posting. So your quality has to be high and you need to build community. One short-cut is to establish a relationship with bloggers at your level or slightly higher and exchange guest posts, interviewing them (almost like a guest post) or asking the favor of a guest post.

  47. I find your suggestions a little unrealistic but nonetheless very productive. Some of them would be hard to chew since I have not started generating income from my blogs yet But Hopefully someday I will get there!

  48. Creating community around you is very good in blogging. When you build community then you get so many blogging buddies with whom you can share and discuss things at times. Really a great thing.

  49. Feeling like a super star here as I’ve got all these bases covered. :-D
    My only recommendation is to be willing to go a bit further and schedule some time in your schedule to help fellow bloggers. Invite them to ask questions and take the time to answer and explain the answer. As a wordpress blog designer who offers her services from her mom blog, I’ve had a few bloggers reach out to me when they’ve broken their blog. I’ve shared info on how to find the issue and how to fix it. It’s good karma. It’s helped to build my little community and my community is amazing about promoting my services and referring new clients.
    Great list here. Definitely needs to be shared.

  50. This is such a terrific list of tips on how to create a community on your blog. I was definitely missing some of the points. I am going to use your guidelines in the future to get my readers more involved with my blog. Thanks a lot! I find it very useful!

  51. I have just really started up my blog, and am trying to build up a community like you are talking about, so I found the article very interesting. I guess that one other thing that it takes is time and lots of hard work.

  52. Hi there!
    It’s not easy, but I agree with you! And this is exactily what I’m needing to my blog.
    I’m having 10.000 visitors per month, but I don’t have any commenting on my posts…
    I think I’m giving a try to CommentLuv, thanks for the Tip!
    One ask for help, do you think better to visitors arrive at my home static page, or should I make the Homepage the Blog?
    Thanks in advance for your answer!
    And thanks for the tips!
    RC
    Portugal

    • Renato – about a year ago, I switched my home page to a view of the blog that you see now at RightMixMarketing.com. I felt that exposing more of the content was the way to draw people in so I de-emphasized the website pages. I think that’s a formula to grow your blog. I hope this helps!

  53. Of course, a large part of this success comes from the readers a blogger attracts. These readers turn into subscribers, turn into loyal members of your community, turn into “brand advocates” for your blog.
    Thanks for share this post.

  54. Useful tips, connecting with your audiance online is so important these days. That’s why a lot of people are using sites like Klout and turning to Twitter.

  55. All the methods provided by you in your post are absolutely acceptable by me. If we want to form a community with the visitors on our blog, we should take the initiative to interact with them through our posts and comments. Commenting back to the readers keeps them motivated and makes them feel important.

  56. Hey Tom,
    Useful and handy tips!! A blog readers community seems to be an enticing affair. Comments surely can aid in building rapport with the audience and commenting on the blogs of your commenters, surely create a sort of community. Thanks for the share.

  57. Hello Tom
    Awesome post. Thanks for share this post. All you need to do is create a custom domain name and start writing and publishing posts. The tricky part of blogging is getting people to not only read what you’re writing, but also to respond to it.

  58. Thanks.I find that with these kind of post,some of the best ideas actually come from the comments so I am learning it as well.

  59. I think i want to try plugin commentluv premium. With notification feature, twitlink and anti-spam, i think we can reduce plugin used.

    And thanks for sharing.

  60. Graywolf

    Nice post. I’m still trying to come up with more ideas on how to create a community though. My niche is preppers and survivalists and there are already a few gigantic forums out there. Whenever I try to come up with an idea that would make the forum unique, it narrows the scope so much I’d never get readers. Maybe I need something else.

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