Blogging, over the long-term, is not for everyone. It takes patience, persistence, and careful planning. This week, we're addressing some of the issues that bloggers who decide to stick with it must deal with. Earlier this week, we discussed taking an extended break, and yesterday we talked about content planning. Now, let's address developing your network. Your blogging network consists if other blogs that you read and link to and other bloggers that read and link to you (hopefully, at least some of that is mutual). Here are some ideas for places to find those other bloggers.
In the course of developing your reading list, you will find blog posts and articles that you will want to link to. In most cases, the other blogger will receive a "pingback," or "trackback," notice, which lets them know you've linked to their site, which may encourage them to visit yours. Also, as you are visiting other blogs, you may want to occasionally link back to your site to a relevant post in the comment sections of those blogs (be careful not to over-do this, or you'll be thought of as a spammer). If you have a great deal in common with another blog, you may want to e-mail the blogger to discuss possibly "cross-posting," which is the blogging equivalent of "syndication." Finally, don't forget to also sometimes visit blogs outside your niche, or those with differing perspectives from your own - as long as you are not hostile, these bloggers can also be a part of a good extended network.
Social Networking Sites
When you first begin blogging, a great deal of your traffic is likely to come from efforts you have made through social networking sites. As you develop your page rank, your search engine traffic should eventually surpass your social networking traffic, but don't forget about your social networking contacts. Many readers use their social networks in place of feed readers, so consider continuing to post relevant posts to you profile on those social networks.
Newsletters, or E-Mail Groups
Over time, it is a good idea to develop an e-mail list of some sort. No, I am not recommending spamming your contacts (please don't - especially if I'm on your contacts list). But either publishing a newsletter, or asking people to join an e-mail "group," (such as through Google or Yahoo), or simply developing small lists of blogger contacts according to interest can be a good way to get the news out quickly about a story that is important to you, and maintain contact with that part of your network. Again, this is a technique that can be easily over-used, so be careful.
Also see: Blogging Law and Etiquette
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.