Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Five Ways to Build Blogging Goodwill

Nobody blogs in a void. Blogging is a community activity, and how you treat your readers and fellow bloggers can affect your success. Be good to your readers, and you'll build a loyal audience. Be good to your fellow bloggers, and they're sure to help you out with links and positive mentions. This is great advice for those just starting out, but it can benefit anyone, no matter the size of their blog. Here are five ways to generate the type of good blogging karma that brings more than spiritual rewards.

Respond to your comments. I'm not always vigilant about this, but it's a good idea to show up for the conversation that takes place after you post something. Readers want to interact with you--that's why they comment in the first place. If you show you're listening, you'll attract a loyal readership more quickly.

Be liberal with the link love. Every blogger values links on other blogs, and if you're generous about linking out, you'll definitely make friends. If you get inspired to write something based on a post on someone else's blog, always link back to that post. If someone sends you an email letting you know about their new blog, link to them in your blogroll--they're sure to appreciate it. If you link to other bloggers, they're more likely to link to you as well.

Be accessible. I get emails from readers asking me about how to hire writers, start a freelancing business, handle client issues, and other questions all the time--and I try to respond to these in as much detail as possible. This can bring you more than goodwill--a few of these folks have become clients.

Give referrals. A while ago, a client of mine asked me whether or not I had experience doing a type of writing project I usually don't handle. I told them I could do it, but I knew someone who could probably do it better--and I sent them the email of a fellow blogger who specializes in that area. Referrals can be risky--if the relationship doesn't pan out, it could reflect badly on you--but they can also pay off greatly.

Take advice. Every so often, a reader will email me directly with a suggestion for something they'd like to see changed on my blog. If I can't make the change, I'll explain why--and when I can, I do it. Being willing to make changes for your readers is a great way to show them you care about their experience, not just your traffic.

Being a font of blogging goodwill isn't just a feel-good activity. It's also a great way to build your blog. Even if you're new to the community, other bloggers will return to your blog if they know you like them and talk about them--and if you're responsive to your readers, they'll stick around.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious, do you notice people linking to your post when you're using Blogspot?

Jennifer Williamson said...

Sure, all the time. I don't think it makes much difference which platform you use.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, on my to do list is to thoroughly peruse your blog from A to Z. You have the best advice. Thanks. E

Jennifer Williamson said...

Aw, thanks, Ellen!

Anonymous said...

I've had some interesting conversations about responding to comments lately--as to whether to do it in the comments themselves or via e-mail--and I find the dichotomy fascinating. I've had a knitting blog for years now and the rule in that world is to respond via e-mail, but then in the more business-oriented blogging rule, commenting in the comments is most-often used. The reasons given by both "camps" are good and valid, but the one thing everybody is agreed on is that, if it's at all possible, you should respond to your comments!

Jennifer Williamson said...

Hi Deb,

My rule of thumb is that if the question is posted in comments, I respond in comments. If it's sent to me directly, I respond directly. Usually I'd rather do it in the comments because that way everyone can benefit from the exchange, but sometimes people want to keep their questions private for whatever reason.

Jaclyn said...

Hi Jennifer,
As a journalist and freelance writer, I'm thrilled to have come across your blog! What a great and relevant resource.

I love the tips you included in this post. I added them to my blog post about starting a blog. Feel free to link additional items that you have written about that might apply.

Jennifer Williamson said...

Hi Jaclyn,

Thanks for stopping by--and the link! I hope to see you here in the comments section regularly.