How to Build an Online Community

community: the people living in one particular area or people who are considered as a unit because of their common interests, social group, or nationality.

How exactly do you build an online community? What does it even mean?

It’s not just about traffic, about having a large number of followers, but also about engagement.

Also, it’s about the following things:

  1. Freedom of discussion – Offer folks the opportunity to interact with one another, to bounce ideas off from one another, to argue, to disagree with one another (and you)
  2. Be human – Bloggers should create their own voice and style – the more you inject your own personality into a blog the better it tends to go over with readers.
  3. Give people something they can be proud of – offer readers/commenters a space to be creative with. Like a cool party that everyone wants to be invited to.
  4. Decision making – If you are a self-published author, ask your readers to vote for the version of your cover they like best, or create a poll to decide your next topic. Or maybe even select new categories for your blog, or a new theme.
  5. Guidelines not rules – Rules can get you into real trouble. Readers usually take their lead from the blogger – the tone that you blog in is generally picked up by others, and if it’s not, you’ll find that your regular readers will often step in to situations and police them for you.

The truth is that building an online community requires time, effort, patience. It requires your ability to empathize with your target audience, to be able to admit more than one view of things, and to think in terms of depth, rather than width — to be able to build strong relationships rather than focus on numbers.

What do you think are the secret ingredients to building an online community?

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16 thoughts on “How to Build an Online Community

  1. Honestly don’t know anymore. I have tried a number of things since 2012 and I have had ups and downs but 5his go round I get odd one off hits of popularity, then back to 6 to 12 views, no comments, no engagement. It’s like everyone knows something they are hearing but not saying what it is. I have discussed it with several these last months, along with a horrifying lack of employment interviews, or call backs, after dancing all thecsteos, optimizing everything up to mynfarts, but no breaks in the inengagement
    Frankly I am mystified…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said! 🙂

    Every point you stated is essential to serving your audience (aka: blogger friends). I view blogging more than expressing my thoughts, I view it as an invitation for a potential two-way conversation. Or more.

    I’m still pretty new to WordPress, but I’m slowly and steadily trying to reach like-minded bloggers/readers/writers by making myself available to befriend, encourage, and to support…in whatever ways I can.

    Awesome post, Cristian!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great advice! Quality over quantity through engagement. I try my best to follow all 5 of your rules and of course I try to interact and be inviting to all of my readers. Bloggers give up because they don’t see instant results but it takes time and eventually results do happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Working as a community manager on 3 of our private FB group I must say I totally agree with the things you listed. It’s nice to see when there’s a lot of the members who are active and making discussions on the group. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

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