Building An Online Community

By guest contributor Disney.

The most important part of building a great online community is letting people know that you’re there. After all, the neighborhood can’t be close-knit if the houses are all empty! At first, getting followers can seem really intimidating and even a little hopeless. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to boost your traffic and get people to notice you. Here are three tips to get started with:

1) Provide great content

While it may not seem directly related to gaining followers, the first step is making sure you have great content. Find out what you excel at (it will likely be what you enjoy doing and sharing most) and perfect it. Do your best to take interesting photos with lots of light, and aim for a simple, uncluttered blog design. When people see that you have something of value to offer, they’ll tell their friends!

2) Spread the word

There are several different ways to put yourself out there in the blogging world. When I first started Ruffles and Stuff, I joined a couple of crafting community sites that allowed me to share projects and tutorials with a link to my blog. Another great option is linking parties. Many blogs have one day a week dedicated to allowing everyone to share their latest project or recipe. If you don’t know of any blogs with linking parties, just Google: “(sewing, décor, cooking, etc.) + linking parties.” You may also have luck with feature blogs, which allow submissions at any time. Don’t be afraid to email a feature blog to propose your post - they love getting new content and artists to feature!

3) Build relationships with bloggers in your field

I found this terrifying at first, but I quickly realized that there is almost no sweeter group of people out there than bloggers. See a blog with a great interface? Ask them what design programs they use. See a blogger who’s great at sharing her style? Ask her if she has any tips for you! One thing you should never do, however, is take advantage of another blogger’s success. Don’t ask them to promote you or put your link up on their blog. They worked hard for their success and you can too! And once you have, the pay off will feel incredible.