7 Ways to Nurture Your Blog’s Community

Our host today is Kiesha Easley. If you're interested in getting in front of the readers of Site Sketch 101, check out our guest posting invitation here.

If I feel welcomed when I visit a blog, it’s almost certain that I’m going to return. If I feel as if I’m in the midst of a real person, then I find myself wanting to hang around and getting to know the blogger and the community. A blog’s community is connected by a body of united bloggers who visit each other’s blog – it’s beyond any one blog.

Within this community, the benefits are reciprocal. One blogger is not showered with all of the attention, but instead the owner of each blog contributes to the devlopment of that community and humbly shares the spotlight and benefits.

One day I received the best comment I’ve ever read in response to a blog post on my blog. That comment came from Robyn from Sam’s Web Guide. It was this comment that warmed my heart tremendously: “I can feel the love here at weblogbetter.com. Truly amazing. This is something that I hardly ever see anywhere else especially with so many bloggers just focusing on money. Keep it up guys! :D”

This comment was so wonderful because it let me know that my efforts to make my readers feel welcomed and loved was somehow getting through. It brought joy to my heart because it was evidence that what I have is more than just a blog, it is a community of bloggers. Each day, I do my best to follow these tips to further develop a growing community that includes my blog, but doesn’t end there. And yes, if I can do it, you can, too.

  1. Post an honest, friendly and engaging About Me page (with a real picture of yourself – smiling, of course) I’ve subscribed to blogs on topics I ordinarily wouldn’t have, all because when I read the “About Me” page, it presented a real person, in transparent and honest language. No suspicious-looking photos of a logo or someone who’s obviously a model, just a kind, friendly looking real photo. Then a brief bio. My favorite are those that admit to having made mistakes and to having affiliate links and other monetization on the blog.
  2. Respond to as many comments as possible. Of course every comment won’t need a response, for example, multiple comments left by the same reader won’t all necessarily need a reply. But if it’s a new reader, even if the comment doesn’t need a reply, I still like to take a moment to greet them, say hello, or thank them for stopping by. This let’s your readers know that you are present and you are listening. If they know they’ll be heard they are more likely comment,join the conversation and then return.
  3. Click on and visit your reader’s last blog post link. If you don’t have the Comluv plug-in enabled, you should still take a moment to visit their blog’s homepage and check out what they’re talking about. If you find something interesting there, take a moment to comment to let them know that you were there. If you really want to call your blog a community, then that means there is life beyond your blog, get out and check out your readers’ blogs.
  4. Retweet your reader’s blog posts. If after checking out their blog, if you enjoyed one of their posts, be sure to retweet @their-username. It will let them know that you’re not just soaking up all of the benefits from them visiting your blog – you’re showing them that there are also benefits reserved for them, just for being a part of your blog’s community.
  5. Discuss your reader’s blog posts on your blog. If you find something that’s truly noteworthy in one of their posts, blog about it, and include a link back to their site regardless of their ranking. A low rank today can quickly escalate to a high rank in the future. It could benefit you both in the long run. But if nothing else, you’ll always have this loyal reader.
  6. End each post with a question to encourage comments. I don’t know it all, and I don’t pretend to – I ask questions that I want answers to – my readers may have insights on something I’ve missed.
  7. Leave a post undone and ask readers to offer their suggestions. This is similar to the last tip, except instead of a direct question, you’re stating that you’re looking for more information that they might be able to supply. Either way, will compel visitors to respond with a thoughtful comment. With that said, do you have any tips for nurturing a blog’s community?

In addition to the above tips, what do you do to make your readers feel special and loved?

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  1. April 7, 2010

    D'MarieF said:

    Bravo Kiesha!Β 

    Even with the recent shift to “everything social media”, I’ve noticed there’s an anomaly in the way people socialize with each other online. This is a powerful list of 7 and I hope it goes viral. πŸ™‚

    Hear, Hear!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Can Buying Your First Home Provide Financial Freedom? =-.

  2. April 7, 2010

    Joe said:

    Excellent list which includes things that I would naturally do but some nuggets of great info!

    Thanks very much

  3. April 7, 2010

    Ed said:

    Great post. I have been trying to build an engaging community and these tips are reall useful. I try to visit my readers blogs and try to comment. Now I know to Retweet their posts. Thanks again
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Five Awesome Electronic Gadgets For 2010 =-.

    • April 7, 2010

      Kiesha @ We Blog Better said:

      Hi Ed!
      I think it’s great to let them know that you’ve RTd their posts – the benefits are actually 2-fold: you compliment the person and you create an opportunity for them to RT one of your posts. It’s a win-win really! πŸ™‚
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Real Reasons to Enjoy Your Single Status =-.

  4. April 7, 2010

    Richard Scott said:

    Excellent points. Works great if you have a blog. Having a static html site like mine is a little more difficult to get this interaction. πŸ™‚

    • April 7, 2010

      Kiesha @ We Blog Better said:

      Hi Richard!
      You have a good point. Have you thought about adding a blog to your site?
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Real Reasons to Enjoy Your Single Status =-.

      • April 7, 2010

        Richard Scott said:

        I have. I’ve also toyed with turning the whole thing into a blog. It’s such a huge project though. I have almost 1000 pages that I would have to transfer over and then redirect for Google. It’s almost easier just to start fresh. πŸ™‚

        • April 7, 2010

          Kevin Muldoon said:

          Converting the site could take a lot of work. It could be worth it though, guess you would have to sit down and look at the pros and cons.

          Though you might not have to setup redirects. Your pages would be the same if you used /category/postname.html as the permalink structure.

          Alternatively, you could add a blog and make it separate from the rest of the site (but still link to it from the main site).
          .-= My Latest Blog Post: WordPress 3.0 Preview =-.

  5. April 7, 2010

    K. Praslowicz said:

    When my RSS count tipped 100 subscribers for the first time, I made those readers feel special and loved by creating 100 prints from my photographs, and gave them away for free to whoever asked.

    It went over rather well, and I got to finally see who a bunch of my non-commenting subscribers were.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: TIME-O-LITE – 1947 Advertisment =-.

  6. April 7, 2010

    Robyn from Sam's Web Guide said:

    Awesome post Kiesha and thanks for mentioning me. I’m glad that my comment had such a wonderful effect.

    One more tip that can be added is to always try to write blog posts as though one is talking to a human being in a natural conversation while keeping it professional. I personally don’t stick to blogs with articles that sound like a stiff technical manual.

    Keep up the good work Kiesha! πŸ™‚
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: My Blogging Journey So Far – March Blog Statistics =-.

  7. April 7, 2010

    Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing said:

    All ofthe above! And they work great. πŸ™‚

    OK almost all. While my about pages are personable and engaging, I do not currently use a real photo. Nor do I use a logo there, although “suspicious” is a bit harsh, especially if you’re KNOWN by it by using it EVERYWHERE you go.

    (It’s also my initials, close enough to a photo, lol)

    Also, OK I’m a wee bit lax in clicking over on comment links sometimes. I always say I’m going to do it once I finish replying, but usually forget by then.

    Luckily most, not all but most, of my commenters are coming to me because I already commented on them. lol
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Will DEDC Comments Remain Do-Follow? It’s Up To YOU! =-.

    • April 7, 2010

      Kiesha @ We Blog Better said:

      Hi Dennis! Your logo is pretty well-known and I have seen you out commenting around the blogosphere – that’s a great thing. Your “About Me” page is also very engaging – but I’d bet if you included a picture of yourself, you’d see an even greater level of engagement. People want to see you – even if you’re not the best-looking – we don’t care! (I’m sure you look fine πŸ™‚ ) We just want to know there’s a person behind all the words. That way if we see you on the street we can get excited and greet you!

      Of course, I’d never say that these tips are a requirement and that everyone must use them all the time or that they’ll even work for everyone – they are mere suggestions!
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Real Reasons to Enjoy Your Single Status =-.

  8. April 7, 2010

    Kevin Muldoon said:

    Nice list Kiesha. Engaging with people who take the time to leave a comment on your site is a must (unless you have a large news type blog). It shows that you value their input and encourages them to comment again.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: WordPress 3.0 Preview =-.

  9. April 7, 2010

    Sally said:

    Nice post! As a new blogger I am inspired by this list. It really is all about making folks feel welcome and building real human connection.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to work on the picture and about me section of my blog.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    • April 7, 2010

      Kiesha @ We Blog Better said:

      Hi Sally! You’ll be surprised how far an engaging About Me page and pic will get you! I’ve gained new clients offline all because they were impressed with my About me page.
      Let me know what you come up with. πŸ™‚
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Real Reasons to Enjoy Your Single Status =-.

  10. April 7, 2010

    andy said:

    Very nice post Kiesha! I especially like that you mentioned visiting the readers’ blogs and commenting there as well.

    I started blogging only recently, so I am not sure that I want to include a question at the end of posts yet as there have not been all that many comments left at this point.

    Thanks again for posting your thoughts. They are very helpful to me.

    Have a great day!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Local development part 4: Apache web server (httpd) =-.

    • April 7, 2010

      K. Praslowicz said:

      I think a lack of comments so far is more of a reason to ask questions instead of not. As someone who reads a lot, and comments infrequently, I find that posts that do ask a question are more likely to get a comment out of me.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: TIME-O-LITE – 1947 Advertisment =-.

      • April 7, 2010

        andy said:

        Hi K –

        You raise a good point, and one that I had considered. I have made quite a few mistakes so far, and it seems that is one that is easy to rectify. Thanks for pointing that out!

        Have a great day!

        – andy

    • April 7, 2010

      Kiesha @ We Blog Better said:

      Hi Andy!
      K. is right – sometimes readers just need something to respond to. Asking a question let’s them know you’re actually talking to them and not AT them. Give it a try for a week or two and see how it well it works.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Real Reasons to Enjoy Your Single Status =-.

  11. April 7, 2010

    Ron Leyba said:

    Kiesha, what a good first post you have here at SS101. Actually, this tip of yours:

    “Leave a post undone and ask readers to offer their suggestions.”

    really plays an important role for reader interactions. It’s like what some great blogger says:

    “Useful but a little bit incomplete”

    This way, comments, interactions and conversation will follow.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Webthesurfi Rugs Webdesign =-.

    • April 7, 2010

      Kiesha @ We Blog Better said:

      Hi Ron! Thanks your compliment means a lot.
      I used to try to say everything and make sure my post is in tip top shape, but really no post can ever be perfect, so rather than see the bad in that, I’ve decided to embrace the good and see it as opportunity to hear from my readers.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Real Reasons to Enjoy Your Single Status =-.

  12. April 7, 2010

    Suresh Khanal said:

    Great Kiesha, after all the joint effort makes the hardest destination easy accessible. Nobody is Hercules. Trying to run alone is nothing more than predetermined to enjoy majestic failure.

    Your tips are great and I appreciate.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: An Example of Perfect SEO – BloggingJunkie =-.

  13. April 7, 2010

    Jasmine Henry from System Fail News said:

    I’m exactly the same, I only ever come back to some sites just to chat! I talk a lot anyway and so to be able to have a discussion with a lot of the bloggers who I follow is really nice. Readers like to be noticed and so when we respond to them they feel special. No one likes being ignored so we should all encourage acknoledgment!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Hands-On : First Play (The New Interactive Service for PS3) =-.

    • April 7, 2010

      Kiesha @ We Blog Better said:

      Hi Jasmine! You’re right readers do want to feel special – me included. We all hope that were are able to stand out in the crowd. So I do my best to let my readers know that for me, they do stand out and they are special to me.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Real Reasons to Enjoy Your Single Status =-.

  14. April 8, 2010

    SBA said:

    Don’t worry,I do have a real photo on my About page, but like Dennis, I’ve used the spider since I started blogging. It’s part of my business website’s logo (a bit old-fashioned and due for a change anyway). As you suggested, I try to visit a new reader’s site before I respond. That way I can throw in something about them. My co-founder writes a personal email to new readers (rather than just impersonal plugin.

    I also pick a couple of reader sites to include in posts (e.g. thumbnail of what their sites look like ‘above the fold.’; or in a list of best quotes).

    Don’t forget the comment form needs to be nurtured by responding promptly. You can also write a post about a question, identifying the reader if they are okay with that.

    Thanks for the way you presented this list and for the lively discussion!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Customized Feedburner Subscription Box =-.

  15. April 9, 2010

    Reza Winandar said:

    About Me page and Contact Me page must be developed seriously because that’s the portal of blogger and their readers.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: This is blog is now Do Follow =-.

  16. April 10, 2010

    Eliza said:

    As a brand-spanking new blogger, I found this VERY helpful. I definitely need to take a second look at my About Me page (I HATE writing about myself). And now I know the best way to engage readers as they start to find my blog. THANK YOU!

    • April 10, 2010

      Kiesha @ We Blog Better said:

      Hi Eliza!
      I’m glad you found this helpful. I can totally relate, I wasn’t exactly enthused about it, I didn’t think anyone would find it to be interesting. I’m so glad I was wrong and that I went ahead and wrote it anyway.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Throwback Thursday: Perseverance =-.

  17. April 10, 2010

    K. Praslowicz said:

    Regarding point #1: I’ve had someone ask if they can use a photo of me on their own about page this week. Not as their own main smiling picture, but just later in the content to illustrate a concept they are explaining on it.

    I just find it interesting that I’m not only on my own About page, but someone else’s as well. πŸ˜€
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Chocolate Milk = Black Baby =-.

    • April 10, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      K. Praslowicz Β» That’s actually pretty cool. Where’s that about page? I really want to see it.

  18. April 10, 2010

    K. Praslowicz said:

    Right over here
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Chocolate Milk = Black Baby =-.

  19. April 12, 2010

    Michele said:

    Thank you for a much needed reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing. When things get busy, sometimes it’s just easier to reply to a comment and not take it further.

    Another thing I try to do is to send emails to first-time commenters, ones who ask specific questions and folks who said something really insightful.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Label Your Work =-.

  20. April 13, 2010

    Aaron Darko said:

    Hey Kiesha this is an excellent blog post – i really enjoyed reading it. Its funny to see how much stuff I already did without even knowing! Its all about having that community.

    When you are replying to people’s comments, visiting their site, retweeting their posts they start to love you and want to comment even more.

    I try to leave a question at the end of each blog post to encourage comments too. Otherwise they may not comment!

    Also I tell them to retweet if they liked it!

    I thank them for commenting too.

    I think that being able to subscribe to the comments increases the community because they will be notified when a response is made.

    Fantastic Post!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Michal Birecki – How To Think Outside The Box =-.

  21. April 13, 2010

    designfollow said:

    thank you for the great info

  22. April 14, 2010

    Mario Cisneros said:

    Excellent read Kiesha.

    On my blog I created a section in the sidebar that lists posts that I’ve commented on in an effort to share with my readers articles, such as yours, I considered informative, valuable and useful.

    Although retweets are an excellent way to promote a great post, not everyone uses Twitter therefore, this is just another means to help promote a fellow blogger and a well-written post.


  23. April 15, 2010

    Jerry Lafferty said:

    I am not a blogger at all. I enjoy reading what others have to say. I am the kind of person that keeps his mouth shut if I don’t know what I am talking about. I will say this. I feel appreciated now even though I usually do not leave a comment. Thank You!

  24. April 17, 2010

    Sylvia Hubbard said:

    enjoyed this post. As a fiction author while i’m in the middle of writin my story i like to ask my community for a name or situation to throw in the story and whosever i choose gets to read some parts of that story first before anyone else. My blog community loves those rewards

  25. June 14, 2010

    Jean at The Delightful Repast said:

    Kiesha, I really enjoy your blog. You do a great job of conveying your personal warmth along with your great content. I’m going to try your tips to encourage more comments on my blog.

  26. September 22, 2012

    Jayla Fox said:

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