Thursday, April 18, 2013

The importance of networking as a blogger, and how do I do it?

the importance of networking as a blogger
Line of Women In Pink by  K Whiteford
You may think, why do I need to network? It isn't like I am trying to market something. Why can’t I just rely on the search engines to get me the readers I am looking for?

If you are writing a personal diary and you don’t care if it is shared with anything, or if you are producing a family blog and only your relatives are the ones allowed access to your blog – then you are right, networking is not something you have to do.

If you want your voice to be heard, if you want to market something you are selling (Etsy, Avon, etc.), if you plan to monetize and make a business out of your blog – then you MUST network. Depending on your key words in your posts to boost your search engine rankings will leave you disappointed. There is something called ‘back links’ that is weighted far more heavily than key word density in each of your posts. Besides the added benefit of developing great relationships with other bloggers, you will more than likely start developing back links just by creating a community with in your own blog. If you write relevant, well thought out articles and you have developed relationships then other bloggers will want to link to you and reference your work. Look at my blog for example, even if you take away the link/button swapping I do you will also find that I reference other blogs in my posts as well as my pages. I value this information, and I think you will too as my reader. By networking, and developing loyal followers, you will begin seeing where this is also happening to you.

So I have convinced you to network, but you don’t know where to start? Here are a few things you can do and places you can visit; and if you know of more ideas – please leave them in my comments – I love learning new things!

Visit Other Blogs

Not just random blog, you are more likely to develop a follower if you visit a blog that is of a similar topic to yours. Do a search in Google (or Bing, what ever you prefer) with your key words and ‘blog’ and you should find a list of similar blogs to peruse and enjoy. For example, if I were looking for similar blogs I would search for: parenting blog or blogging tips, etc. Once you find a blog you relate to, be sure to leave a comment and include a link back to your blog. Perhaps they have a post similar to an article you published, leave a relevant comment and let them know about your post. What do I mean by relevant? I mean offer a well thought out opinion, compliment them on their writing, etc. Just like off line – people aren't that likely to visit if you go on and on about how much better you are, etc. Just because you are on line doesn't mean you can check common courtesies at the door.

Blog Hops, Link Ups or Link Parties 

This is a powerful way to create a following quickly. To explain what this is: This is where one or more blogs post up an ‘add your own link’ script to their blog, usually lasting for a set amount of time (1 day, the weekend, one month, etc.) with a set amount of rules. Since you are trading on the traffic the hosting blog has already developed and honed, then you generally are required to ‘follow’ them and co-hosts. Sometimes there are sponsors you will need to visit and follow. In return it is also reasonable for you to expect those same hosts, co-hosts and sponsors to also follow you back, kind of an ‘I will scratch your back if you scratch mine’ deal. Some of the parties also require that you visit other bloggers (around 3) that are on the list as well – to keep up the networking aspect of these link parties. Now, as you may have guessed, a blog hop is expecting you to do all of this on the honor system; however, if you do not follow people back or visit other people and are just adding your link to get one of those ‘back links’ I mentioned earlier – it will become obvious. Just as I mentioned before – just because we are online doesn’t mean it is ok to check your manners at the proverbial door. You can find some of these link parties right here on my blog. Several other bloggers also maintain a list, keep an eye out as you network through other blogs.

Groups and Communities 

If you have a Facebook and/or Google Plus profile, then you also have access to the groups within that network.  Do a search for 'bloggers' or 'blogging' and you will find several groups in which you can network with other bloggers.  To find a community separate from these social networks, do a search for 'blogging communities' in your favorite search engine and you will find where a blogger has listed a bunch for you, or the actual communities themselves.  You can also visit my 'Memberships' page to see what communities I am a part of and if they will fit you and your blog.

It is important you understand that you will need to participate in these communities or groups beyond just posting links to your blog posts.  If you do only that you will be relegated as a spammer, which will have a negative impact on your networking efforts.  Take part in the community, answer people's questions, give comments about other posts, etc.  Participate and you will find the traffic flowing to your blog.

So by now you know it is vitally important to network if you want to get what you are saying 'out there' and read by others.  If you are serious about developing a readership base quickly, I would suggest spending at minimum 8 hours a week networking other blogs.  I personally spend 12-16 hours each week networking, more if I am not paying attention, because my blog is new.  If you do not have the time to do that, try to spend at least an hour each week day networking, and you will start to see results quickly.

melanie miller: content writing mom



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20 comments:

  1. good stuff Melanie. It's good to remember to leave comments when you read posts. I have many blogs I read a day but no one will know that unless I comment and build relationships! :)

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    1. Exactly! And I found us bloggers LOVE to champion the blogs we love ... it is just all interconnected, a great community!

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  2. Great advice! Thanks for these. :) I'm currently in the process of establishing my blog, and I spend about 15 hours a week networking. Eventually I'd like to get down to about 10ish...but that'll be after I have a great group of supporters and followers established.

    I'm so glad you wrote this post! Thank you!

    Amanda | Living in Another Language

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    1. I am with you there - I want to get to my recomended 8 a week - and I may not have a choice when I start working again ... but for now I am doing my 12-16 until I get the daily page views I am looking for :-)

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  3. I try to definitely put in some work on these. Sometimes, it does get a little overwhelming to participate in all the groups and communities, but it is fun. I'm a firm believer in visiting other blogs and leaving a relevant comment. What can you say about blog hops? They are great to participate in and you definitely meet a lot of new people while on them. As a matter of fact, found this one on the TGIF.

    Sharon
    http://makeitorfixit.com

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    1. I agree it can be overwhelming. The TGIF hop is great! I actually don't do searches anymore, because I find most of the bloggers I want to find via the hops ... hopefully that will continue.

      And thank you so much for choosing to visit my site - I am headed to yours right now!

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  4. Great advice. This is the most challenging part of being a new blogger - networking but maintaining a balance so it doesn't take over my life.

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    1. I so know what you mean - I have started setting a timer - because if I don't I could wander around the blogosphere for hours until my poor daughter comes in, "Mommy, when is dinner?" and I thinkg, "Oh shoot! it's 7, I better get on that!" LOL

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  5. Thank you for offering such valuable information. Same with Dana - trying to find a balance.

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    1. LOl I struggle with balance every day - I think as bloggers we tend to be a passionate set of folks (otherwise we would feel the need to write about it - hehe) so we go all in .. timers are the key for me! LOL I learned that from FlyLady.net :-D

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  6. Thanks for the tips on the groups and communities as well as the hops. Didn't know about some of them! I find that when you do the same ones week after week, you start to run out of blogs you haven't already seen, lol. But Dana and Krystie are right - the balance is what I struggle with most.

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    1. I agree Melissa, after a bit it seems it is all the same blogs. That might be the time to take a break from that hop for a couple of weeks - I think new people start on the hops often - we just network so much, we have already visited them :-D

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  7. Great article. I try to visit at least 10 blogs every day. I normally do this in the mornings. It is a good time to sit and really have time to read other blogs.

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    1. I like that - especially if you are starting to get busy - just make sure you visit X # of blogs. I really like that.

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  8. Love this article...and great reminders/tips...my blog is also new, so I need to do more networking and building relationships. I am finally going to do a plan and editorial calendar; so, I will make sure that networking is in there.

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    1. Sounds like a GREAT plan. Non-bloggers often don't realize the work involved ... but if you are writing about a passion, it all feel natural - like a way of mingling through your own party. I love it!

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  9. Excellent information! It's hard work this blogging gig but so worthwhile when you meet fun people..
    Thanks for hooking up with the Hump Day Hook Up

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    1. It is my pleasure Molley! I agree - the peeps I meet make all this hard work so worth it!

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  10. Great tips! I'm visiting via Hump Day @ A Motherlife. I must admit, I spend WAY too much time networking. It's a full time job! Nice to meet you. ;-) xoxoxo Lucy

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    1. You an me both, Lucy - especially when I feel like I get behind! I have an issue with an inability to just let the past posts go and focus on today posts for the people I follow. Believe it or not, BlogLovin really helps me with all of this.

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