How To Build A Loyal Following Online
By: Taylor Davies

How to Build a Loyal Following
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Building a loyal following is a lot like making good friends: you want to be kind, be yourself, and spend time with these people celebrating and talking about the things you have in common. You might have more readers than you have friends, but that doesn’t mean you can glaze over important the relationship-building steps that require individual attention.

Another way to think of it? You’re a reader too, aren’t you? Put yourself in the place of the “customer” and think about what keeps you coming back. Incentives? Attention? Egagement? I felt inspired to explore this topic a bit more after talking to newbie blogger Megan about how she used her professional experience to build her blog readership. How do bloggers build a loyal online following for their site?

Keep up with commenting, personally.

 

The etiquette and effectiveness of commenting is a hot topic amongst bloggers. When you’re looking to create a readership that cares enough to come back again and again, it’s absolutely invaluable. Your readers want to know you’re not a robot – that there’s a beating heart behind the blog. Commenting thoughtfully on the blogs of your peers is a great way to encourage them to do the same, and build relationships in the community. Odds are, however, that most of your readers are not bloggers themselves. Taking the time to respond to comments, questions and emails is a personal and genuine way to keep your daily readers coming back (and look attractive to new visitors!). The little ways you go above and beyond make all the difference.

Engage actively on social media.

 

Engage, engage, engage! We’ve said it before, and probably can’t say enough how important it is to be social on social media. Remember that you’re not just tweeting and posting into outer space: actual people are reading what you’re saying, taking it in, and hopefully sharing and responding to it. It takes time and diligent attention, but responding to questions, giving thanks for compliments and taking part in conversations is a critical element to building a loyal following.

*Bonus tip: Don’t forget about Instagram! Leaving comments and responding to the ones on your images is a little effort that goes a long way!

Give readers what they want.

 

After reading the comments on my post on blogging for someone, not about something (as well as this one about pleasing your readers vs. pleasing yourself), I know many of you out there have mixed feelings about pandering to your readers. The truth of the matter is, you cultivate the audience you want by the type of content you produce, and those readers will come to expect a certain thing from you – and that’s not bad. Studying your analytics and paying attention to your comments will give you a great idea of what your readers want, and it will probably be content you like, too. I don’t want to say you’re “training” your readers, but by rewarding them with exactly what they want to see, you encourage them to keep coming back for more. Customer satisfaction builds loyalty!

*Bonus tip: Readers also love incentives! From giveaways to promotional codes and exclusive content, offer something unique that they can’t get anywhere else.

Be consistent.

 

Routine and planning are two of my least favorite words, but two of the most important in building a loyal blog following. People repeat actions when they know they can expect results, including your readers. This also builds trust, and helps you build a reputation for reliability. Your readers want to be able to count on you. Using an editorial calendar is one of the most effective ways to create a routine on your blog that your readers can follow along with. From planning out your months and weeks to posting consistently at the same time of day, the more strategic you can be (in a reasonable way that you can actually keep up with) the better.

How do you keep readers coming back to your site? What kinds of engagement and consistency are most important to you as a blogger?

 

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Comments

  1. Jenny says:

    For me, I think responding to comments, and commenting on other blogs is the best way to build relationships and to build a loyal following. I know that I’m definitely more loyal and engaged with people who respond to my comments, so I try to do the same. It also feels really odd to me not to thank someone who gives me a compliment, so I respond to every single comment on my blog. It can be time consuming, and I might be a few days behind, but I always respond. I’ve received a ton of comments saying how much people appreciate it, so it is something that I will always do.

    xo Jenny

  2. Avatar of
    Barbrah Tanyongana says:

    I think it’s always beneficial to be very responsive to those that comment on your blog because it will keep them coming back, which is how relationships are built. I know I dislike it when I comment on someone’s blog and they fail to acknowledge it at all so I’d hate for my readers to feel that way :) x

  3. Avatar of Lauren - Slowburn Fastburn

    I love forming relationships with other bloggers and with my readers. I have several blogs that I comment on and receive replys to and I know how good it feels to be noticed. I always love commenting on my readers’ blogs and letting them know I read it!

    x lauren
    http://www.slowburnfastburn.com/

  4. grunhauser says:

    It’s pretty much impossible to sustain on any meaningful level unless that’s all you do. You hire someone else but then it’s fake.

  5. Miloveda says:

    I’m so happy you guys posted this because I’m really shy when it comes to talking to other bloggers first, it can be a little scary at times. But after you guys said just be yourself and be open it makes me want to go and makes friends with my favorite bloggers. So thank you guys.

  6. Avatar of CynthiaCM
    Cynthia says:

    I’m a little hesitant about coupon codes. I find them a little bit tacky for editorial-focused blogs that focuses on a bit more than fashion/personal style. Thoughts?

    Cynthia
    http://www.delectablychic.com
    http://thecloset.delectablychic.com

  7. Taylor, this post has the perfect timing! I’ve been pondering readers loyalty quite a lot these past few weeks: I do a lot of commenting on other blogs (I always leave thoughtful and sincere comments, I simply hate “follow me I’ll follow back” comments!) and I try to be consistent (I’m having a monthly and weekly editorial calendar). However, I’m only beginning to appreciate the value of Twitter (my biggest problem being carving out enough time to engage in social medias while keeping up a day job and a daily blog), it’s such a perfect tool to communicate with people who inspire me as well as with my readers. I definitely need to work on number 3: analyze my stats is something I should do more often.
    Thank you so much for this inspiring piece!

    xx Ivana
    Macarons and Pearls

  8. Avatar of anhesty
    anhesty says:

    i always check out other blogs especially if they leave me comments. and then i will find more blogs to comment and follow from their blogs. great post!

    http://anhesty.blogspot.com

    xoxo
    anh

  9. Elle says:

    This is great! Taking in a lot of great advice from this– hopefully I’ll see some great results :)

    HAPPY BLOGGING! <3

  10. Avatar of Sam Dingen
    Sam Dingen says:

    Building a loyal following is something I have found very, very difficult since I started blogging about two and a half years ago. I try to respond to comments, comment very thoughtfully and personally on other bloggers’ posts and I am more or less active on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. To me it just seems that lots and lots of bloggers are just visiting and commenting in the hope they will get a new GFC, bloglovin and twitter follower, resulting in me still not having a real following. Lots of visitors stop by just once, in order to grow their numbers.

    I find this article very helpful though, because I think there definitely are things I can and will improve.

    Sam
    http://www.justsammthing.com

  11. Belinda says:

    Great post! I always reply to my lovely followers who comment on my blog or send me emails and I always say thanks to compliments on my outfit/hair etc I think it adds a nice personal touch, plus I love speaking to people and I’m grateful to those who have taken the time to read my posts and comment. I’m defiantly trying to be more consistent, but juggling a full time job & other commitments isn’t easy but it’s one of my new years resolutions!

    Belinda @ fashioncrossing.blogspot.com

  12. Belinda says:

    Great post! I always reply to my lovely followers who comment on my blog or send me emails and I always say thanks to compliments on my outfit/hair etc I think it adds a nice personal touch, plus I love speaking to people and I’m grateful to those who have taken the time to read my posts and comment. I’m defiantly trying to be more consistent, but juggling a full time job & other commitments isn’t easy but it’s one of my new years resolutions!

    Belinda @ http://www.fashioncrossing.blogspot.com

  13. This is definitely a good article. Another thing I would say is that if you post something on social media, engage your audience with something that relates to the image your sending out.

What do you think?