08 March 2009

Blogging Tips : Offer Readers New Ways to Connect with Your Blog

Today we continue to look at ways that blogs which have got past the launch phase can take their blogs to the next level.

In this post we look at something that I touched upon two posts back when we looked at building community on your blog - expanding the connecting points that readers can make with your blog.

As a blog grows you will begin to notice that you’ll be connecting with a wider and wider range of people. Some will begin to feed back to you that there are things about your site that they don’t understand or features that they want.

For example - I found I went through a stage on DPS where I got a lot of emails from people asking ‘what is RSS?’ and sharing that despite my best explanations of it that they didn’t ‘get it’ (or didn’t want to get it). I also had people asking for a ‘forum’ area.

What was happening here is that people were expressing to me that they wanted to connect (with the blog, me and each other) in more familiar ways to them. At this point I began to offer RSS to email, developed a forum area as well as starting to produce a weekly email newsletter.

While adding a forum and newsletter meant a lot more work for me and my team (my Aweber newsletter takes a couple of hours a week to write and the forum area has a team of 10 or so moderators working hard on it) the benefits have far outweighed the costs and have enabled me to make ongoing connections with a wider range of people than if I’d just remained as a blog with an RSS feed.

By offering different ways to connect it has made DPS more accessible to people of different levels of tech savviness, personalities, demographics and learning styles.

I’m not arguing that every blog needs a forum and newsletters - however in most blogs there comes a time where your readers will begin to ask for more and want to connect in different ways. Different topics and audience demographics will lend themselves to different tools to use.

For some it might mean starting a Twitter account, for others it’ll mean a group on Facebook, for others it will mean a forum, a chat room, your own in-house social network (using something like Ning) or a newsletter etc.

How have you expanded the ways that readers can connect with your blog?

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