Social networking isn’t that hard. Anyone can tweet, leave comments, ask for link exchanges, or IM readers and blogging pals. These are all general networking ideas that can work. However, if you’re focusing on the wrong blog networking tactics for your specific blog you’re wasting your time.
In my mind we network for one basic reason, to draw readers to our blog. Maybe you’re networking for another reason; to get read for personal reasons, to promote a cause, to get a job, or to gain clicks on ads, but it really all comes down to getting people to your blog doesn’t it? Bloggers want traffic and with so many blogs around the competition can be brutal. Following are some tips that can help you fine-tune a plan for your specific blog.
Your blog comes first: You can network to your hearts content, but without a decent blog to back it up, you’re not going to gain any long-term readers. Write good posts often. Write posts your readers want to read (you can even poll readers about this). Showcase older and popular posts that new readers may have missed in the past. Other good ideas include offering easy access to rss and email options for your posts, making your blog easy to navigate, and creating an attractive blog that will entice people to look around. Taking care of your blog insures folks who land there stay and visit and hopefully come back.
Choose some, not all networking options: You can’t do it all, so you may as well choose some social networking options you enjoy. If you hate Twitter, it’s just not a good networking option for you because one, you won’t stick with it, and two, I think people can tell when you’re not really into what you’re doing.
Be selective about links: If you’re into emailing people for blogroll minded link exchanges, make sure you do your homework. I get link exchange requests frequently at Tree Hugging Family, which as you might guess is an eco-minded blog. However, I get link exchange requests from all sorts of bloggers who have nothing to to do with green. I’m not going to link a blog out of my niche so these bloggers have just wasted my time and their own. Make sure you send link exchange requests to blogs in your niche or at least in a sub-niche. Note – it’s also smart to send out link exchange requests after you’ve been blogging a while. I tend to not link brand new blogs (under 5 mos) because I have no clue if they’re in it for the long haul, and I hate having to change my blogroll.
Speaking of sub-niches: It’s smart to network with other blogs in your niche, but you can widen the field by networking with bloggers close to your niche as well. For example, if you write a thrifty blog, there’s a good chance readers of a DIY home project blog or a budget gardening blog might like your blog too.
Use the readers you have already to make networking decisions: If you have some stable readers, ones who leave comments, and also have blogs, head to their site, to see what else they’re reading. Check their blogroll and visit those blogs to leave comments. Often your readers will visit other blogs that might be good to network with.
Network with the bloggers on your level: Not to apply labels, but if you’re a less than B-list blogger (or new blogger) trying to get A-listers to notice you is a lofty goal. You might have better luck networking with less popular bloggers. We all start somewhere. You might be creating a long lasting networking relationship with a new blogger now, but who know where they’ll be in two years or less. Case in point, I became friends with a brand new blogger a couple of years ago, she had emailed me asking questions, and we hit it off. Then she managed to become way popular in under a year (rare but cool) and because we were pals she had all my blogs linked at her site, which tossed me some decent traffic. That’s not the only reason I like her, but it’s a nice bonus for sure, one I wouldn’t have gotten had I ignored her emails early on. An added benefit of non-A-listers is they get less email, usually have more time, and tend to be more open to new networking relationships.
Chill out: Online relationships, like offline relationships take time to build and grow. Asking favors too early on, frequently bugging a blogger you just met, using spammy behavior, and expecting too much is not chill behavior. Allowing relationships to grow naturally makes for longer lasting connections.
Of course when it comes to networking, there’s always more you could be doing. What are some of your best ideas for networking that meets your specific blog’s needs?