In a recent post, I talked about making friends as an adult. This week, I’m going to chat about making blogger friends. The first time you write a post and hit the ‘publish’ button is a scary thing, but finding other bloggers to support, who will in turn support you, is great because it makes you feel as though someone is reading what you’ve written and enjoying it. Collaboration and mutual appreciation is good for everyone and it’s something that I am learning more about as I spend time on this new blog.
The top two things you can do to develop your own blog and find blogging friends (and an audience) are pretty straightforward; make your own blog as good as you can make it, and be sure to visit other blogs you like and leave comments. But you might feel as though you’ve been doing that for ages and not getting anywhere. So here are a few other ideas for you…
Find other bloggers in the same ‘place’ as you.
This doesn’t mean geographical location—although I’ll get to that—it means the same moment in time. In my experience, ‘big name’ bloggers, although inspiring, are less likely to be in a place to help you—they’re madly busy and getting loads of similar requests. Bloggers at a similar place in their blogging life are a great source of support. Having shared problems and concerns as well as successes means that there’s always someone who understands why you’re tempted to throw your laptop out of the window because you don’t understand how to install a particular plug-in. If you find a blogger who you seem to get along well with, be brave and get in touch. You never know what friendships might emerge. I love it when people get in touch with me!
Join in ‘linkys’.
Linkys, linkups or ‘linky parties’ are something I’ve only recently started to join, and I’m really enjoying them. They’re basically a way of sharing posts and therefore links–usually on one particular subject or theme— from the host blogger back to your own blog and vice versa. You add your linked post to the host site, take the coding for their badge–as a way of both advertising that you’re taking part and creating a link back to the host—and leave a comment on the host’s site too. I really enjoy ‘How Does Your Garden Grow’ hosted by the inspiring and incredibly kind Annie at Mammasaurus. As well as creating those links for search purposes, the real joy in these is in finding new blogs to read and comment on, who will in turn find your blog too. It’s helping you all to develop a sense of community and conversation in a positive way. And in the case of HDYGG, learn more about gardening too!
If you’re interested in hosting your own ‘linky’ there are a couple of places you can sign up to. The most popular ones seem to be Inlinkz and Linkytools. I’ve not used either of these as a host yet, but maybe I should turn Three Good Things into a linky and give it a go!
Join a blogging challenge.
There are lots of challenges out there, all of which might give you the opportunity to both test yourself and build your audience and community. Last November, I took part in Elizabeth from Rosalilium’s ‘Blog Every Day in November‘ challenge. Even though I didn’t quite manage every day, it was lots of fun, took me out of my comfort zone because I wrote posts according to the daily prompts, and helped me to find other blogs to follow and vice versa. There’s another month-long challenge happening in May—why not give it a go?
Look for local events and meet ups.
Along with the bigger blogging conferences, (which I still haven’t managed to get to, because I’m feeble and intimidated!) there are so many smaller meet ups and events happening all over the place. In Leeds, my home town, there’s something of interest happening all the time. All it takes for you to pluck up the courage to attend the ones you think you will enjoy. I speak from experience when I say that the worst thing that can happen is that you’ll be on your own, completely out of your depth and fleeing for an early bus home. Which at the time feels like the absolute end of the earth, but, once you get past that, will make you realise how brave you’ve been! Keep an eye out on Twitter and Eventbrite to see what’s happening close to where you live.
Take up a course.
In January I did Elizabeth at Rosalilium’s Big Blogging Bootcamp course, which has increased my confidence, taught me lots more about blogging and different ways to build my blog and connect with people. If you’re quite new to blogging or looking to refresh your site, renew your enthusiasm and meet new blogging folk, it’s a good thing to try.
Look for people with similar interests.
Inevitably where there are people, there are cliques. It can be intimidating, even ‘virtually’, to join in a conversation for the first time when it seems as though everyone has known each other for ages. What I’ve found to be a useful way to overcome that barrier is to find a subject you share an interest in; it gives you a bit more confidence to join in, especially if it’s something you feel experienced in.
I hope that this list has given any new bloggers out there some useful ideas—is there anything you’d add to it?