How to Make Money Blogging: 10 Ways to Build & Increase Your Readership (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed it.

9. Network with other bloggers.

Back when I first starting blogging, if you blogged semi-consistently and were even remotely interesting, you had no problem getting readers. Nowadays, there are so many more blogs and it’s a lot harder to build your readership. One of the key components — aside from so many of the other things we’ve discussed in this series — is to network with other bloggers.

I’ve learned everything I know about blogging from more experienced and wiser people. They’ve given me counsel, they’ve taught me things I would have never figured out on my own, they’ve encouraged me with I was feeling burnt out or discouraged and they’ve challenged me to better myself as a blogger and writer.

Find bloggers you can connect with (either online or in your local area) to bounce ideas off of, to keep each other accountable and to share new things you’re learning or experimenting. These friendships can be invaluable — and it’s also nice to spend time with people who “get” what this whole blogging thing is about!

Partner with other bloggers to create series (see Honoring the Man They Call Daddy for an example), team up with other bloggers to raise awareness about issues you care about and guest post on each other’s blogs. Always be looking for ways to join forces with other bloggers in a way that will benefit your readers — and theirs, as well.

10. Create a community.

Finally, if you want to build your readership, you need to be there for them. Don’t just write a post and then disappear and let readers talk amongst themselves in the comments. Respond to questions asked and interact with your readers on a regular basis. In fact, when you are first starting out, you might to try to respond to all comments left. It encourages people to stick around and it makes them feel a part of a community.

Even if you can’t respond to every comment, whatever you do, don’t just show up to respond to commentors. As Jon Acuff says, “If you only respond to jerks on your blog, eventually you’ll create a blog that only jerks read.” It’s totally okay to explain yourself to those who misunderstood your post or are offended, but it’s much more important to respond to the faithful, encouraging commentors. They care much more deeply about you than a fly-by-night nasty anonymous commentor ever does.

In addition, listen to your readers: ask for their advice, welcome their input and let them know how much you appreciate them.

A Word of Caution

People always ask me, “How do you do it all?” I think the important thing to remember is that I’ve slowly added new things — Facebook, Twitter, email newsletter, etc. If I had tried to set it all up all at once, I would have been completely overwhelmed.

Pace yourself when setting up a blog. Challenge yourself to try new things little by little, don’t go and implement all these ten things at once. Pick one or two to focus on for the next few months. Set goals for each month, break these goals down into weekly goals and then work on them for 10 or 15 minutes each day. Over time, it will likely start to become old hat and you can add new goals and experiment with new ideas.

However, remember to compare yourself with yourself only. There will always be another blogger doing a better job of this or that or the other. Don’t let it discourage you. Look at the progress you are making towards your goals — even if it seems very slow and miniscule — and be encouraged by that.

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh Thanks, I needed to hear those things. I have been working so hard and maybe short sighting myself. I love doing this. I love to save money and I love helping others to save money also, its gratifying. I have read many of your tips & want to say thank you, your awesome! That’s why I RT UR Tweets when I see them, sort of paying-it-forward…

    Thanks for everything! Kristen @ffandfn

  2. says

    These last two have been the real key to my blog really taking off. It probably will never come near the level of success of “big time” bloggers, but it’s coasting along pretty nicely and I really think it’s the relationships I’ve built with other bloggers and with my readers that has helped it flourish so much (crazy run on sentence!).

  3. says

    One of the best decisions I ever made was to build a website and start writing eBooks when I just had 3 kids. That was almost 5 years ago. Now I have 6 kids, homeschool, have no time to worry about producing income, but enjoy the blessing of several hundred dollars’ worth of passive income trickling in every month from content I wrote years ago. Here is the long version of my personal experience with that: http://www.childrens-church-ministry.com/about-sbi.html

  4. says

    Thank you, this will help me get my blog off the ground a little further. I love idea of bouncing ideas off of other bloggers, especially when I need encouragement. However, when I seem to email the blogs I follow the most, I rarely (if ever) get a response. It can get a bit frustrating.

    One question I do have though, when I see a deal on another blog and post it on my own blog, I always give reference back to whoever posted it (such as “Thank you Money Saving Mom!”). Do these bloggers know I am referencing back to them? I would love to get to the point of bloggers referencing back to me as well.

    Thanks again!

    • says

      Tracy,
      I don’t know the answer to your question but I agree that it would make me feel great to be the blog being referenced. I would love someone to bounce ideas off of. Feel free to contact me if you need encouragement. I’ve only been back at this for two months but I’m happy to help where and when I can.

    • says

      Tracy, most blog sites have tracking information, so they should be able to see the source of the traffic for a certain post. I always credit the source as well, I know several bloggers that don’t. I’m a fairly new blogger and started because my list of friends that requested I send them my savings emails grew a little to big. I wish I got more comments on my blog, It would help to know that someone is reading it :)

    • says

      This can take an extra minute, but sometimes when I post a deal or a decor idea and link back to a blog, I shoot them a quick email to let them know that I did.

      I have had several “big” blogs email me back and built a relationship that way.

    • says

      Truth be told, I don’t check who references my blog (but I do see if it leaves a trackback), but many bloggers do.

      I always welcome deal submissions through this link:
      http://moneysavingmom.com/submit-a-deal

      I love to promote other bloggers who find great deals, so please feel free to share any spectacular deals you find through that link.

      Don’t give up! The best way I’ve found to develop relationships with bloggers is to genuinely care about them — leave encouraging comments, send encouraging emails, be a cheerleader to them. They’ll likely reciprocate in kind and you can forge a great relationship.

  5. says

    I just shared how I help to bring in an income, even though I’m a homeschooling mom of six. However, when my husband wants to boost our income, he mows yards, picks up painting contracts, does floors at nights (like waxing/buffing, etc. with a floor machine), puts together pool tables & exercise equipment (handyman-type stuff); and he’s studying now to become a piano tuner. I have taught piano lessons in the past and taken in babysitting kids. We have also cleaned a local Sears dealer store at nights (we took our kids and let them watch a video/put the baby in a playpen). When I was a teen, our family cleaned local offices at nights, and my college roommates & I cleaned a furniture store for 2 hours on Monday nights for $125 each time. Just think about the skills you have and the things you enjoy doing and find a creative way to produce income with them.

  6. says

    So far, I haven’t even tried to earn money through blogging, but I do think about it, because of course it would be nice! I also think it would be motivating. Here’s a question: Is there a certain point (number of readers, or something else) where you think it would be worth it to start trying to make money? For me it would mean switching to a self-hosted blog.

    I love the feeling of community in blogging! That is one of my favorite things. :-)

    I have thought about trying to network more with other bloggers with similar content, but I need to get over my fear of rejection!

    • Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic says

      I have been wondering the same thing. My blog is about 10 weeks old. In the past month I have had 2500 visits and 6000 pageviews. I have no idea if that’s good or not and I what point I should start to monetize. I really want to focus most of my time on content and growth right now.

      • says

        Definitely focus on content and growth, but I’d also encourage you to begin experimenting with win-win ways to monetize. Maybe just devote an hour a week to this and focus the rest of your time on content-building.

          • says

            As in, a way that you earn revenue while also helping your readers out. For instance, when I pass along a really great deal, there will sometimes be a kickback on it. So it’s a win-win, since it’s a great deal to save people money, but I earn a little in the process. Make sense?

  7. says

    Going along with the “building a community” point…I think it’s important to be genuine in blogging. In the “I know I’m not perfect…here is what I struggle with” kind of a way. Few people want to read a blog where someone appears to have it all together because it makes us feel as if we can never measure up. Of course, we have to balance that as well…because nobody wants to read what an utter failure we are either. But admitting failures and struggles helps us to develop more of a sense of community with one another, knowing that we’re all in it together!

    • says

      Excellent advice! And your readers love it when you ask them to help you solve a problem or share about something you’re struggling with.

  8. says

    Thanks for sharing! I love your comment “pace yourself” because when I first started my blog I wanted to do it all. However, I quickly learned that it is impossible to do everything at once. It is nice being able to add new items whenever possible, but I made a decision to hold off on a couple new items until after the summer especially with the kids being out of school. Plus, we have several summer road trips planned for work and fun so my schedule needs to be a little more flexible. The family has been enjoying some extra time “exploring” new places!

  9. says

    I think the first few months with any blog is the hardest…you don’t have a name, you’re by yourself in it, and you don’t know the ins and outs of blogging. It seems like everything takes 3x longer the first few months when you’re learning the ropes. A lot of people give up at this point. But, the key is to be organized, pace yourself, and not let it run your life. Take time-outs. Keep a notebook with you all the time to write down ideas. I’m just getting to that point where I’m set in my own blog enough to reach out to other bloggers. I know it will take some stress off, and also offer encouragement…something I’ve found is not very readily available online. You definitely need thick skin for this job…

    • says

      You do need a thick skin. Part of why I’m hesitant to put myself out there much more. I’m comfortable where I am now and would be content to kind of chill here for a bit. I see some of the larger blogs come under attack and I think that would make me go cry in my closet! LOL

      • says

        This is so true! After we had a harsh comment or two, I sought out some support from fellow bloggers, one of whom likened negative blog comments to “walking into a home and insulting your host.” It hurts!

        • Guest says

          I can definitely see how hard it would be to have negative things said but I don’t think a blog that someone has set up to make money is really a fair comparison to your personal home. If it’s a personal blog to keep the family connected, yes, that would be very weird and rude for someone to be overtly rude but if I disagree with something on a for-profit blog, I don’t feel badly *respectfully* stating my opinion.

  10. Jodi Hughes says

    I do not currently have a blog, but have been thinking seriously about starting one. I am a stay at home mom and feel like I am on the internet a good portion of the day anyway, trying to find every way possible to save money since we are living on my husbands income only. I started following your sight about a year ago, and I love it. I am on and off your site all day long!! Is there any suggestions on starting from scratch. I would not even know where to begin to create a blog. My mom has suggested this to me many times, but I’m a little nervous about it. Thanks for any suggestions and God Bless you for everything you do Crystal!!

  11. Pamela says

    I have a suggestion for bloggers. I do not blog (don’t like to write) and am technologically challenged, but here’s my request: when I’m reading a blog post and I click on a hyperlink, I want the new screen to open as a NEW TAB. This way, I don’t lose my place on the original blog. Does this make sense?

    Is there a term for this? Is it something you can change in settings???

  12. says

    I just started my blog last month, and appreciate reading tips from other bloggers! I consider myself pretty savvy with high tech stuff…but geez, there is a steep learning curve in trying to implement everything I’d like to! It’s a challenge I enjoy though. It is a difficult balance, especially starting a new blog, of writing new material AND trying to make improvements to your site.

    I’m looking forward to when things seem to run more smoothly…when does that typically happen?

    • says

      I’d say it takes at least 3 months to really start getting the hang of things. Keep at it and you should turn a corner very soon!

  13. says

    I just wanted to say that I LOVED this post! I have a new blog and it’s been pretty hard when I’m trying to do everything myself all at once. I’ve been looking for fellow bloggers to bounce ideas back and forth, maybe host a giveaway together, and just build a sense of community. I actually emailed a few blogs and never heard back so I got discouraged b/c my blog is so small in comparison. Anyway I’d LOVE for you to be my mentor! You’re blog is great! Or if there are any new bloggers I’d love to hear from you too!

  14. says

    I just put up my blog a little over a week ago. I know it is going to take a long time to get it to look like I want and be what I want it to be. Right now my goal is to just be consistant with my postings. I also want to try and put in a little work every day on how it looks and to develop images and such. I find your articals encouraging and I look forward to reading them.

  15. says

    Thank you for posting this article. I have read the whole series and it has helped me greatly. I have just started a new blog after taking a break from blogging for a few years and I am in the process of building back up my connections and followers. I think it is crucial to have a blogging mentor and a group of fellow bloggers to connect with. You are just one voice in a sea of bloggers. “Friends don’t let Friends blog alone.” :)

  16. says

    I definitely agree that interacting with other bloggers is important. I have joined a couple online ” blog.communities” and hope to get myself out there more. I would LOVE to oneday make it to Blogger or another large.conference. Are conferences a must to get to be a “big blog”?

    • says

      No, conferences are not a must. I’ve actually learned a lot more from interacting with bloggers than I’ve learned from the two conferences I’ve attended. But it IS fun to get to meet so many other bloggers in person!

  17. says

    Thanks for the advice, Crystal, and especially the closing section on “a word of caution”. You do such a fantastic job of responding to comments, I think, and I love how your blog sends an auto-email to the commentor when his/her comment has a reply. I want to add something like this to my blog – because right now people have no clue when I reply to their comments unless they come back and look at the post again! Frustrating! I’ve got a tutorial on how to add the feature, but the time…? We’ll see! :)

  18. says

    Crystal,
    I, too, have really enjoyed this series. As my blog has just turned the 3 month mark, I’m anxious to increase my readership. We desperately need to supplement my husband’s income as I am a SAHM. So, I look forward to the next series of how to make money blogging.

    My question is, how do you get into the blogging network/community, find a mentor, share ideas, etc? I think I have some good ideas that would benefit a larger audience, but don’t know how to get it out there (and vice versa w/ other blogs). For example, I’ve just started a new series “Frugal Food Allergy Living” and I’d like to share it with other bloggers, but I don’t want to bother them with my “small” blog. Do you have any advice on how to build this network when you’re still small?

    Thanks again for your dedication to your readers!
    Michelle

    • says

      Here’s what you need to do: you need to stop limiting yourself by thinking “you’re only a small blogger”. You’re not! You’ve got incredible information to share — people just need to know you exist! I always welcome people emailing me their links to posts/series they think my readers might be interested in. I don’t always have a chance to link to them, but I find some real gems to pass on as a result.

      Don’t be shy! Yes, you’ll get some people who turn you down or don’t respond, but you’ll also find many people who are very willing to share your posts/blog. Here’s what I suggest: approach bloggers with win-win ideas — maybe a way for you both to partner up and do a series, or swap guest posts or swap Facebook links, etc. Pitch it to them in a way that it will benefit them first and foremost and they’ll be much more apt to take notice.

      In addition, if you want to build relationships with other bloggers, I suggest picking a few you’d like to develop relationships with and then going out of your way to encourage them, be their cheerleader, etc. Most people will appreciate that a great deal and it often fosters a strong relationship.

        • says

          You are right. There is one consistent commentator (is that the right word?) on my blog who is so encouraging! I don’t even know her but she always says the sweetest things. That has really helped me to keep going. I think her blog is A Heart From Home. Thanks A Heart From Home!

  19. says

    Thanks for all the great advice, Chrystal. I especially liked the “Word of Caution”. There are many technical things I’d like to do to my blog, but right now my main goal is to post 5 times a week and respond to commenters. There will be a time to add in those other things, but now isn’t it for me.

    Since this series is finished can you think about reviving the “Writing an ebook” series from a few years back? I can never find the last couple of posts, so I’m wondering if they go lost in the transitions or if the series didn’t get comepleted.

    I really appreciate all you do to build community in the blogging world.

  20. says

    The hardest thing for me is taking it slow and not trying to do too many things at once. I see all these great technical things other bloggers have going on and I want to incorporate them, too, but that can be overwhelming. I know my main goal right now is to build content, though sometimes it is hard to stay focused. Thanks for reminding me that it’s ok to start slow. I know that content, not fancy technology, will keep readers coming back. It’s become my mantra. Your series has been amazing, Crystal. The advice is doable and clearly written. You’re encouraging spirit is very apparent.

  21. says

    I’m constantly afraid that I will run out of things to talk about in my blogs! I have had my blog for over a year, and I haven’t run out yet, but it is a constant fear! I also get discouraged sometimes because I get a decent amount of page views, but I get very few comments. I would feel much more relevant if people actually had something to say about my blogs. Did you have that problem when you were starting out?

    • says

      Are you encouraging people to comment by asking questions of them/requesting their input? Consider presenting a dilemma you’re personally struggling with (related to money, frugality, etc.) and ask your readers to share their opinions. People love to give advice and opinions!

      I always have a long, long list of post ideas so if I ever feel like I’m not inspired, I can consult that list for inspiration!

  22. says

    I totally agree with the “pace yourself” advice. It is soooo easy to become overwhelmed with all the things you could/should be doing. My rule is: If I have to make a choice, it’s the blog that can suffer . . . not my family.

    As far as income goes, it’s important to be aware that different kinds of blogs have different income earning potential. As a lifestyle blogger, it’s difficult to compare yourself to a deal blogger. People who read Deal Blogs are looking to save money, but in a strange way that means they are also looking to spend money, so affiliate links work well and they are more likely to click on relevant ads. I have 45,000 pageviews a month, and still make well under $100 a month. My readers are incredibly loyal, but they are not coming to my blog to click on an ad about hiring a maid or to buy magazine subscriptions or crocs. I’m working on ways to monetize that work for my blog, but it’s just a bit of a different game than some others.

    I’m not complaining, but it does help to be realistic and know that different types of blogs need different monetization strategies.

  23. says

    Great advice! Thanks for sharing! My blog is just a month old, and I’m in the process of moving (houses, with 2 young kids), but I look forward to implementing some of these ideas once I get settled!

  24. says

    Crystal (or anyone else out there for that matter!), in a previous post you suggested getting a professional to help you design your blog. For someone just starting out but is planning to continue for a while, how much would you suggest spending on this? Is $100 too much? I found a blog template I like but it is $100. Seems like a lot, but maybe that is the norm? Does anyone know?

  25. says

    I love the idea of networking with other bloggers! This is something that I’ve recently started doing and I’ve found that not only does it pay off but it is so much fun!

    Consequently, I’m going to be taking a leave of absence from my blog for “maternity leave” and I was hoping to get other bloggers to help me with it while I’m gone. *I’m three days past due so I could leave at any time* I would give willing bloggers their own author access to my wordpress account where they could create and publish their own posts. They are more than welcome to link back to their own sites and use their affiliate links if they wish. I’m trying to get a different blogger to take each day and post anywhere from 5-10 time sensitive deals, freebies, coupons, etc. (other posts are welcome too!). If any of you are interested please email me at MrsAshleyWalkup at gmail dot com for all the details. I think this is a win-win situation. :)

    Ashley
    http://EmbracingBeauty.com

  26. says

    I would love to respond to comments on my blog! Alas, I don’t have more than 2 comments on it :-) That’s okay. I just started and still use my own blog to reference recipes I made before to make again.

  27. says

    Thanks for all these great tips, Crystal. Learning from others and paying it forward are among the most important things when it comes to the online writing business.

  28. says

    Crystal,

    Thank you so much for these series and for everything that you share with us to help us become better at saving and managing our households. I have learned soooo much from your blog (even my husband knows your blog because of how many times I mentioned it these past few years :)
    I have started blogging few months ago after I had my second baby and started struggling with cleaning, cooking, managing our finances etc.. so I started looking into how I can still cook, clean, and save while taking care of a high need baby and I thought of many mothers who are going through the same struggle so I wanted to share with everyone what I am learning (and also to supplement our income) and that’s when I thought of blogging but truth to be told, I am struggling with that as well. bloggingwithamy.com was a big help to get me started and both Heather and Laura at familyfriendlyfrugality.com and orgjunkie.com were a HUGE help with all the advice that they shared.
    I am still struggling with the blog though and I am not sure what I am doing wrong?!
    Meanwhile, I am still taking it slowly and hoping that things will get better soon.
    Nisrine
    http://www.isavvymom.com

  29. says

    I have been blogging since Jan of this year. I started because so many people I know in real life asked me to. I am the mom of 10, and a lot of folks want help with mothering, homeschooling, etc. That is my focus. I do include some personal stuff for those who know us IRL.
    I am not looking to make an income from blogging…I just want to encourage as many women as possible!!

  30. says

    Respond, respond, respond! I get that some bloggers simply get too many comments to respond to every one but I still like to see them interact in the comments.

  31. says

    Crystal these have been very helpful. I’ve been taking your advice plus the advice of others, and of course combined with the power of prayer. My blog has grown ten fold!

    You are awesome! Thank you for everything that you and your team do!