Putting up a blog or some other kind of website, and then writing fresh content regularly is an important thing, right? Well, indeed it is. But, to really raise yourself and your site to the “next level” requires that you do even more. One thing that I find very important when it comes to raising my profile and the profile of my sites is “community building.” What I mean by this is that I want people to come back regularly and be part of the community. I want people to feel a sense of connection to the site. They aren’t just a reader, they are PART of the site or part of the community on the site. I personally feel that this is one of the most important things when it comes to gaining success or even “fame” on the Internet.
A little less than a year ago, I really decided to make a push toward creating a community on one of my sites. Today, I have to say that my effort has been quite successful. People on this particular site comment on almost every article that is written. Not only they comment, those who comment usually interact with each other! In other words, reader John knows about reader Jim, and they interact with each other in the comments section of the site.
Another important thing about this is for you, as the site owner, to become a friend of your readers. How do you do this? Well, you interact with the readers. If a person leaves a comment, you should reply to it and show that you care about your readers and the topics that they bring up. Be friendly with them. Don’t belittle your readers. Be humble. These things are all very important in building a community online.
Guess what… unfortunately, there are also downsides to community building! I’m sorry to say that, but it is true. If part of your purpose of the site is to earn money, becoming a community makes it much more difficult to earn money from the site. This sounds like it should be wrong, but believe me, it is correct. Why? Well, if you get people who come back to your site every day, sometimes multiple visits per day, they generally become blind to the ads on your site and tend to ignore them. New visitors or infrequent visitors click on ads a lot more than a regular reader does. Still, I believe that building a community is valuable, and is the way to go, though. There are ways to combat this “ad blindness” and still capitalize from your site. Do things like changing the ads from time to time. Change the color of the ads. Put up different types of ads. Move the location of ads from time to time. All of these things will tend to catch the eye of visitors who are used to the “old look.” When you catch the eye, you have a better chance of an ad click too.
So, I really encourage you to build a community on your site! I know that it is something that makes me feel good, and helps me enjoy my blogging even more!
Good point, Bob. I found that taking ads off one of my sites that is about making money actually boosted my rate of return on a couple other sites … and there is nothing more powerful than that community when you need it. It gives newcomers a headache at times when they start to get the message that just one site isn’t enough to do everything with, but believe me, the next one and then the next one get easier … it’s often well worth having several different sites for different purposes.
Hi Dave Starr – Yep, I believe that community building is an important part of getting a website going!