The Biggest Lesson I’ve Learned About Blogging

During the 5 months or so that I’ve been actively blogging I have certainly learned a lot. I’ve learned that content is king and the importance of unique blog posts, the need for consistency, the value of social media marketing, and the need for reliable hosting. But the most valuable lesson I have learned is the importance of networking for bloggers.

Why is Networking Important for Bloggers?

1. New readers – Many of the people that you network with on social media sites, forums and at other blogs will sooner or later visit your blog and become regular readers. Best of all, these will be some of your most consistent, most loyal readers.

2. Inbound links – One of the primary reasons for networking with other bloggers is gaining backlinks. Bloggers link to other bloggers that they like, and if you are well-liked and well-connected you’ll get more links. After all, people can’t link to you if they don’t know about you.

3. Help and advice – Friends and networking contacts are a great resource when you need a qualified opinion. If you’ve already built a relationship with someone it’s much easier to ask for their advice and help, as opposed to approaching someone you don’t know.

4. Helping others – Part of being a successful networker is bringing value to others. If you expect or desire help from your contacts when you’re in need, be willing to help others too.

5. Becoming an authority – If you want to be well-known and respected in your industry, you need to be actively networking. The more people know you and know about you, the better exposure you will receive.

6. Drawing comments on your posts – A goal of almost every blogger is to have active, valuable conversations through the comments. Having a strong network with your readers certainly improves your ability to accomplish this.

7. Team projects – Many people prefer to work with others on new projects and ventures. If you have a strong network there are probably plenty of others who have similar interests that might be a good fit for a team project like a second blog for example.

8. Promotion for products and services – One of the best methods of promotion is a referral from a trusted source.

How Can You Start to Build a Network?

1. Be willing to help others – The bloggers that I know who have the strongest networking skills are also very willing to help others. Sure, it may take some of your time occasionally, but you’ll build strong relationships and people will usually be willing to return the favor later. In fact, some people will even look for ways to pay you back.

2. Use social media – Social media sites like StumbleUpon are great for meeting other bloggers and networking. Most users of social media expect to meet others there, so it is a natural place to get to know them. Also, by using social media you have the ability to send traffic to other bloggers, which is always a great way to get noticed and make friends.

3. Link out to othersUsing outbound links to get the attention of other bloggers is a common method. If you’re hoping that those you link to will notice you and visit your blog, focus on linking to smaller blogs as the larger ones get so many links that they are unlikely to really notice and appreciate it. Links can also be a very powerful tool once you have begun to network with another blogger. Show them that you appreciate their work and that you want to help them by giving a link every now and then.

4. Email bloggers to introduce yourself – Most bloggers appreciate hearing from their readers. Simply take a moment to email someone and tell them why you read their blog and what you appreciate. Briefly tell them a little bit about yourself as well. Most bloggers will respond positively to this if you don’t seem pushy or spammy.

5. Be proactive in general – Most of the methods mentioned so far have one thing in common, you taking action. Try to develop a more proactive mindset and approach. Being proactive will certainly lead to meeting more people and better chances to develop your network.

6. Participate in group activities – Some of the best and easiest exposure I’ve received has come from participating in a few group writing projects and contests. In most cases they won’t require much extra work for you, but it will provide you with a convenient way to meet others.

7. Use forums – If you’re looking for a quick, easy place to network with other bloggers forums like Authority Blogger are a great solution. While it is difficult to drive much traffic to your site through forums, they are one of the best places for networking.

8. Write guest posts – Several of the best contacts that I’ve made over the past several months were initiated when I contacted other bloggers about the possibility of guest posting for them. If you can offer a high quality article to another blogger they will be sure to remember you and you now have an instant connection.

9. Comment on other blogs – Commenting is probably the most common form of participation with other bloggers. Not only can you get the attention of the blogger, but many visitors also take time to read through the comments.

What are some of the methods that you use for networking, and what do you think are the most important reasons to network?

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21 Responses

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  • ZHereford, December 5, 2007

    Thanks for putting these excellent tips in a helpful, concise post!

    Much appreciated.

  • Background Search, December 4, 2007

    Wow, great post. I run a blog and one of the things I neglected for a long while was the networking with other similar sites. Once I started doing that I really did start to receive a lot more traffic, and also found it a lot easier to come up with new content for my own blog. So yep, I have to agree with you on this one!

  • Vandelay Design, December 4, 2007

    Hi Monika,
    Thanks for your feedback. I’m glad to see that these things are also working for you!

  • Monika @ The Writers Manifesto, December 3, 2007

    It is interesting to see, that you are touching on exactly the same methods I have used to build my own blog. Therefore I can 100 % confirm that all these methods are great to grow your network and therefore also your blog.

    And the best part is, they are all free. :-)

  • Achieve financial freedom, December 3, 2007

    Excellent points! You’ve done a great job identifying the most common motivational drives of bloggers (hmm, people) at the start with the “Why …” headline.

    So most visitors were able to find “What’s in it for me?” part.

    That way you were able to keep their attention long enough to go through the whole article and read “How …” to actually achieve their goals.

    So this is what I learned from your post and being a blogger. ;)


    Tomaz Mencinger

  • Vandelay Design, December 3, 2007

    Yes, relevant links are better then others.

    Agreed. Actually that was covered in a post from last week 5 Steps to Becoming a Better Blogger.

    Coach Kip,
    I don’t have experience driving traffic from Facebook or MySpace. I would imagine it’s difficult to directly drive a lot of traffic from those sources, but they can be great for networking, which can open up new opportunities and drive traffic in other ways.

  • Matt, December 3, 2007

    Very good principles to blog by…and live by really. Nice to see you realize that quality content is key, like many others and myself you want to just pump out post/ after another. Focus on quality posts and quality relationships and everything else falls into place.

  • Coach Kip, December 3, 2007

    Thanks for the great information. Being a new blogger I am interested in how to grow a large social network organization around my blog. It just seems easy to do, and hard at the same time.

    I see my blog gets a lot of traffic from StumbleUpon, but my second most is from reddit. I do get a lot from Digg and finally I get the rest from commenting on other blogs.

    How do you feel about using Facebook and/or Myspace to generate traffic? I seem to be finally getting some from Facebook, it has taken a while but it is starting to trickle in.

  • Madhur Kapoor, December 3, 2007

    Right said Steven. With a good network, you can build a good community around your blog which will always help you.

  • TigerTom, December 3, 2007

    I’d suggest thinking about what your readership might want (not necessarily need), and giving it to them. Write for their interests.

  • Matthew Griffin, December 3, 2007

    This is a great list. I think you hit on some of the most neglected aspects of successful blogging. Blogging isn’t easy and the loyal audience doesn’t flood in overnight. I’ll make sure to reference this post the next time I’m asked why a particular blog isn’t working.

  • George, December 3, 2007

    I am learning how to blog and this post was help. Thanks for the post.

  • telecom, December 2, 2007

    Nice post. also please note that 100 links from relevant blogs is better than 1000 irrelevant links.

  • Krister, December 2, 2007

    An excellent article. I’m learning as much as I can in prepapration for starting my own blog. I think it rings true in face to face networking just as much as online. It seems easier online to network, help and be helped though. The real reward is no doubt when one of the major aims of keeping your blog is fulfilled by someone new.

  • TyCat, December 2, 2007

    Wow nice post. It opened my eyes. Mainly because a few of the ‘professional’ designers were stuck up and didnt want anything to do with others, I kinda shut the door, but I now realize, I need more blog buddies.

  • Dustin Brewer, December 2, 2007

    Great article about networking, these kinds of article are really helpful for bloggers to understand the dynamics of the blogosphere. There are a lot of misconceptions about just writing excellent content and expecting visitors to magically appear.

    Networking is one of the primary ways to grow your readership and the de-facto standard for creating free word-of-mouth publicity for your blog.

  • pablopabla, December 2, 2007

    You’ve pretty much covered it all here Steven. Networking does not come automatically. It takes effort on a blogger’s part. And a lot of that! :D

  • Vandelay Design, December 2, 2007

    Hi Ange,
    Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. I’ve had similar experiences as those that you have mentioned. Yes, networking does take time, and I think that’s why a lot of bloggers don’t take full advantage of it.

  • Buzzing with Ange, December 2, 2007

    Hi… this is my first visit here. I am experiencing a slight technical hitch and cannot post on my blog, so I ventured into Bumpzee to make some connections… and, here I am!

    Great advice! I have been networking for about the last four months and have noticed an incredible increase in traffic to my blog and also in comments left on posts so your points here are all valid. It can take time out of your busy schedule, but it is time well spent in my book. It brings about good karma for your own blog.

    Hope to see you around :)