Notes from Problogger Event – PART 3: BUILDING COMMUNITY ON YOUR BLOG – Darren Rowse

  • What was your best online/offline community event?
    • Make your site more useful; social proof makes it easier to promote; increased page views; more valuable to sell; more attractive to advertisers; communities become advocates; great for crowd sourcing user generated content
    • Interaction is very much about you and your reader – initial interaction very important; email first time comments – deepen the relationships with individuals
    • Get readers to interact with one another – projects where readers can show their stuff
    • Get readers to talk to others and get the wider community talking to each other à then you can start to hand over the community to the community and have less of a role
    • You need to be the community you want to have
    • Invite interaction: people respond to questions
    • Ask people to show their blogs
    • Polls for readers to respond to
    • On discussion posts: be the first to answer your own questions in the comments à can launch with no comments, gain interest and then open comments when people are ready to start talking
    • Consider off-site community area
    • Give your readers a taste of community
    • Add a community area
    • Use social media to reinforce and build community
    • Write in a personal and engaging tone – write like you speak
      • Show stuff in the blog/video from your life e.g. kids!
    • Use ‘you’ and ‘we’ when talking about community and the site – get people thinking about the site as theirs
    • Reader centred posts – start with the reader
    • Offer additional ways to join or ‘become a member’
    • Social proof – highlight interaction/community/numbers
    • Identify natural leaders – give them jobs, train and ‘pay’ them (will work for content!) – e.g. make them moderators/recognise their participation
    • Give people space to play (off topic interaction) – just talk and be yourself
    • Teach the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ to your community – communicate the type of community you want – get people to see the value of community
    • Invite reader generated content – guest posts, invite readers to create a video tip, ask questions on Twitter and highlight their ideas on your blog – show you value readership and community
    • Set homework and projects – ask readers to do something and come back and report
    • Give readers a chance to show off
    • Involve readers in decisions and change
    • Be accessible – go to places where you think your readers will be virtually e.g. Ustream, and in person
    • Think about policies and standards before you need them – if they’re on your site you can refer to them later if you need to. Sometimes communities will self-govern and point to the policies
    • Outline the rolls of moderators carefully and talk about policies, values, procedures
    • Marginalise the trolls – don’t ban straight away: ignore or be overly polite!; highlight their behaviour as ‘anti social’ without attacking them
    • Allow community to help you police
    • Be firm, polite, calm “thanks for your feedback, perhaps you should think about…” – often they will police themselves!
    • Use your own comments section
    • Follow up commenters (with email/comments)
    • Ask questions
    • Be open ended – ask for opinions rather than ‘what do you think?’
    • Invite questions
    • Discussion posts
    • Controversy/debate
    • Highlight hot conversations (SM)
    • Make space for self promotion
    • Ask for advice, opinions, examples, stories


  1. It’s a shame I only heard about the event after it occurred, but you’ve put down a great number of tips that I’ll hopefully use in my blog as time goes by.

    Thanks for putting the hard work in for the rest of us!

  2. Great content Kimberley. Thanks for sharing (and organizing) these notes. Sounds like a great event.

    – Steinar

  3. Glad you enjoyed the day virtually (and in real time) – love that social media and networking is all about sharing and passing around of valuable information. Thanks for your comments too! 🙂 k

  4. Hi Kimberly

    I am quite new at the community building side of things. I have started my own community at Seeker of the Way and it is growing slowly. I will be utilising some if not all of the tips here to help me grow the site and make it really something. Its a free community and I would love for you and your readers to drop by and check it out, leave a comment and make some suggestions.

    Thanks again for posting these notes for those of us who did not have the time to make it to the training day.

    Timberwolf HQ

    • Thanks for your comments and best wishes as you begin the exciting journey of building your own community and finding your way into others. It’s a wonderful thing this interconnected hyper world that is now. So much opportunity and potential to connect, share, build, and communicate.

    • Awesome! Thanks Luke – yes there was a wonderful community at the event with lots of new connections made and online relationships taken into the offline world. It’s amazing how much value online + offline can have for a community. Best wishes in building yours.

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