The Value of a Network

Every successful blogger is part of a network of other bloggers. The community aspect is extremely important for a number of reasons that we’ll look at below. Building a strong network is not difficult, but it does require you to be proactive.

What can a network do for me?

First of all I should clarify that networking means people helping each other. If you are willing to help others you’ll most likely get a lot out of networking. If you’re only interested in what you can get out of it, you’ll have a harder time building real relationships with other bloggers.

1. Links. Most bloggers use a lot of outbound links in their posts. Being part of a network means you’ll be much more likely to be the recipient of those links.

2. Referrals. Taking it one step further than just a link, a referral involves other bloggers actually recommending you to their readers.

3. Help, advice, and encouragement. Most bloggers are happy to help others when they are able to. With a string network you’ll always have people that you can contact when you have a question or if you’re just looking for some advice.

4. Motivation. Many of us are motivated just by seeing others in our network succeed. It’s nice to see your friends do well and it can serve as a driving force to keep you moving forward.

5. Opportunities for guest posts. Writing guest posts for other blogs is an excellent way to quickly reach a new, targeted audience. Those who know you are more likely to publish your guest post than others who may not know you.


Why is networking effective?

A strong network leverages the power of everyone in the network. You may have certain abilities that others do not have, and others may have abilities that you do not have. Successful networks allow people to find ways to work together to put everyone in a better situation.

Not only to people within a network have different abilities, but they also have different opportunities. Your blog may have a totally different audience than the blog of someone else in your network. If you are working together on something you both have the opportunity to reach a much larger audience than you would on your own.

Things I do to build my network

1. Comment on other blogs

2. Thank other bloggers when they link to me

3. Respond to comments on my blog

4. Send a personal email to readers as they leave their first comment

5. Link to others

6. Write guest posts for other blogs

7. Participate in competitions and contests

8. Group writing activities

What methods do you use to build your network, and what have you had success with?

I’m always looking to add new people to my network, so if you would like to be in contact or if you have written something that you would like me to check out, leave a comment or use the contact form.

I wrote a post for Freelance Folder that you may also be interested in: 5 Keys to Better Networking.

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21 Responses

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  • TDavid, September 19, 2007

    Just testing #3 and #4 on your list. I’m particularly curious about the wording of #4.

    “4 – Send a personal email to readers as they leave their first comment”

    Do you manually email people who leave a first comment or use a plugin/script. If it’s a script with an automatic message, that’s not what some folks consider “personal.”

    I subscribed to the comments by email so I won’t miss a response :)

  • Vandelay Design, September 19, 2007

    TDavid,
    No, I don’t use a plugin, I actually send an email. Usually when I see a new visitor I click-through to their site, email them to say thank you and mention something about their site that I liked. Since you didn’t leave a link I obviously can’t comment on a blog or website, so I’ll make up for it by saying you’re a great guy for leaving some feedback and I hope you come back again soon. (I won’t send you an email since it would just be repeating this). I’ve had a number of people tell me that they like the personal touch. I won’t be able to do it forever (and I miss 1 here and there currently), but if it helps get repeat visitors, I’ll gladly do it.

  • TDavid, September 19, 2007

    Cool plan. It’s unfortunate a friendly plan like that doesn’t scale very well, but you could always hire a moderator when you hit the big blog time to check every first time commenter’s site and still leave the personalized reply.

    As for the absence of a URL? I don’t always leave a URL to one of sites, but perhaps another time. If you or curious, you can always Google my name :)

    I think sometimes commenting and not leaving a URL is more effective than commenting and leaving one.

    Have a good day!

  • Vandelay Design, September 19, 2007

    Leaving a URL or no URL is your choice. It doesn’t make a difference to me, but it does make you a little bit mysterious :).

  • pelf, September 19, 2007

    I have done everything from #1 to #6 in your list. In fact, I respond to every single comment by email, not only the first time somebody comments on my blog. I find it a very good way to further know my readers =)

    As for #7 and #8, I try to participate whenever I can. Sometimes I have other priorities than getting a post up before the deadline. And sometimes I get writer’s block! LOL.

  • Vandelay Design, September 19, 2007

    Pelf,
    Thanks for your feedback. Yeah, 7 and 8 aren’t everyday things like some of the others are.

  • Felix Ker, September 20, 2007

    I comment on blogs, respond to comments.

    But never tried emailing my readers. Some of them use fake emails, which bounces – e.g gbx@gmail.com and obviously, gmail emails are > 5 letters.

  • vincent, September 20, 2007

    These are precious advice that I shall start to follow.
    Are there lots of contest out there?

  • Alex D., September 20, 2007

    Those are some great tips, I definately will use the advice, thank you so much!

  • Vandelay Design, September 20, 2007

    Felix,
    Yes, some do use fake email addresses. You can’t get to everyone, but so far the efforts have worked well for me.

    Vincent,
    Yes, there are a lot of contests right now. You may want to check out Contest Blogger. They announce some of them.

    Alex,
    Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

  • DrOpShIpMaN, September 21, 2007

    yae i used to be skeptical about 7 & 8 cuz i thot they took too long and were’t really effective, but i think i have changed my mind since. thanks for the nice list

  • Rick, November 30, 2007

    I’m desperately trying to incorporate many of your ideas. We have a pretty large core following, but feel that many more people can benefit from our daily posts and our thousands of archived tips and podcasts…marketing is a never ending biz for sure. Thanks for your great articles. I read them as often as I can and you are on my “iGoogle” page too.

  • Petr, December 11, 2007

    verwolf130678