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10 Guaranteed Ways to Never Run Out of Blog Post Ideas (#6)

Missed the first posts in this series? Check them out here.

#6 Build Community

If you want to build a successful blog, can I encourage you to stop focusing so much on building a platform and instead throw your efforts into creating a community?

Listen to Your Readers

A community is where people feel welcomed, heard, accepted, and a part of something. You have a voice. You have worth. You have influence.

The worst thing you can do as a blogger is to write a post and then disappear and never come back to interact in the comments. Blogging is a two-way street.

I’m not saying you have to respond to every single comment, but do take time to engage with your audience. Let them know that you appreciate them, that you care about them, and that you’re reading what they have to say.

This blog has changed a lot since its early days. I’m no longer a one-woman show. In fact, I have some of the best and brightest people working for me. I’ve delegated a lot of tasks so that I can have a healthy balance in my own life and have margin to invest in my own health, marriage, and children.

But one thing I’ve chosen not to delegate is reading and responding to comments and managing my FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest accounts. Yes, it takes time to keep up with all the comments on the blog and on my social media channels (and I don’t always get to respond to every one like I’d like to!), but it’s so very worth it because you all are my community. (Please note: I’m not saying that everyone should make the decisions I’ve made here, but I know that this is one decision I have yet to regret in the least.)

This might sound a little weird, but it’s true: I love you all. I care about you all. And I want to know what you all are saying — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If dozens of you don’t like a post, I want to know that so I can step back and ask myself, “What did I do wrong?” and “What can I learn from my mistakes?” If a number of you found a post really helpful, I want to know that to so I can keep it in mind as I contemplate future post ideas and series ideas.

Ask for Your Readers’ Input

Reading what you have to say has taught me so much. I’ve grown as a person, my mind has been expanded, my understanding of the world has been broadened, and I’ve picked up more frugal tips and suggestions than I could ever count.

Truly, you all are so brilliant and amazing. I learn something new from you each and every day.

And that’s why I love asking for your input. I want to know your ideas and suggestions — because they are often a hundred times better than I could ever come up with on my own.

Best of all, your comments and emails provide me with a never-ending stream of blog post ideas. If you ever run low on blog post ideas, try asking your readers for suggestions — either for post ideas or just asking for their input on a decision you’re trying to make, even if it’s something rather small (like what to do with all my canned biscuits). This makes your readers feel like they are more a part of your life and it helps to provide you with blog fodder, too. 🙂

Value Your Readers’ Suggestions

Don’t just ask for your readers’ input; really listen to what they have to say. Learn from them. Engage them in discussions. Ask for their advice and input.

If your readers know they are valued, they are much more likely to interact in the comments, send you emails, and stick with you for the long haul. And this will guarantee that you’ll have an endless string of new blogging ideas coming your way for years to come!

Just a Little Thank You

It’s only fit that I end this post with a thank you note to each and every one of you who read here regularly. You have no idea how much your comments and emails mean to me. I don’t always get to respond to each of them, but I read and appreciate every one.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a part of this community. As always, if you have suggestions or ideas for how we can make this an even better community, I’d love to hear and consider them.

I’m blessed by you every day. You’ve enriched my life more than you’ll ever know. Just thank you.

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37 Comments

  • NickiS says:

    You are really inspiring Crystal! Thanks for sharing from the heart. 🙂 So appreciate the value you bring to my family and our own frugal savings, but also what you are doing for working and SAHMs everywhere!

  • Sarah E says:

    I can’t tell you how much your blog inspires me! When I quit work to stay at home when my daughter was born a couple of years ago (and try to live on a teacher’s salary), I needed all the help I could get to stay motivate and inspired to make it work! Lately, I’ve been spending a ton of time on your site trying to brainstorm ways to help supplement my husband’s income from home and you’ve been an enormous resource (especially regarding trying to make a part-time income blogging)! So, THANK YOU!

  • Kimber says:

    We, as readers, can tell you care about us. You are by far my favorite blogger. Thank you so much for all that you do. You are a shining example to us of a Proverbs 31 woman.

  • Jo Lynn says:

    I really appreciate that you really appreciate your readers. Before I read this today I was thinking about blogging and about how you are so active in your comments section. I knew that you delegated some stuff out but I was thinking I don’t think interacting with her readers is one of them, it just feels like you’re really involved and then this post showed up answering that question. Your genuiness radiates through your blog and I think it has a lot to do with how much you value the people who read your blog. It really shows and makes reading your already amazing content that much more special.

    • Crystal says:

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Your comments have blessed me more than you know. Truly.

      I’m not sure if I’ve said it to you personally before so I want you to know that I’m so thankful for you and for how you contribute to this blog. You’re a blessing!

      • Jo Lynn says:

        Thank you Crystal :-). Hearing that from you really warms my heart. You’ve been such a blessing to me and so helpful in so many ways, tangible and intangible. My husband is a super huge fan of yours too, (although he’s not a blog reader) we’ve just implemented so much stuff you’ve shared here that he regularly asks when we’re trying to figure out a solution to something “Is there something about this on money saving mom?”. We’re in a tougher situation with our son and I’ve always really appreciated how you have a very compassionate understanding of families that may not have the typical situations and you present information in a way that is really adaptable to families with different circumstances in a grace filled, non-condemning way. Thank you so much for your comment, you’ve been such a blessing to us and it means a lot to me 🙂

  • Victoria says:

    And thank you for providing such a wonderful resource. I agree readers are a valuable resource for blog posts. I remember you saying at BEECH to turn reader’s questions into blog posts whenever possible and I have started doing that and I am surprised that their questions often make for the most popular posts. Chances are if one reader is searching for an answer many more are too.

  • Heather says:

    I really appreciate you taking the time to share your blogging expertise with your readers. I read your blogging ebook about 2 months ago when I was starting my own site, and I found it extremely helpful. I love your blog and find you very inspirational… so thanks! 🙂

  • I like your suggestion about listening to your readers. Recently I asked my readers if they had any questions they’d like me to answer. To my surprise they asked about some things I had thought about posting, but figured nobody really cared about knowing.

  • Shana Norris says:

    Crystal, I’m really enjoying this series. It’s so helpful and inspiring.

    Thank YOU for being a role model to other bloggers, and for running a top notch site.

    • Crystal says:

      Thank you so much for the blessing you’ve been to me. Your comments/tweets have brightened my day and encouraged me many a time. I appreciate you!

  • This is great, Crystal. I see so many big bloggers talking about the importance of building platform, platform, platform. But I’ve always felt it’s more about the readers — connecting with them, engaging them, and interacting with them. Without that, there’s no one to even care about your platform anyway.

  • angi says:

    Crystal, thanks for such a great series (and blog). I’ve loved watching it develop and change over the years. One thing that hasn’t changed is your generousity and presence here. By the way, I recently listened to your talk from Killer Tribes, it was really good stuff. Have a great day!

  • I totally agree! I have had several posts inspired by reader comments, questions, input, feedback…you name it. My blog may be small but my readers are the core and foundation and I want to make sure that they get the most out of reading my site as possible.

    • Kristi says:

      Crystal,

      After reading your ‘thank you’ statement at the end of this post, I feel compelled to say thank you to you, too.
      I’ve come across many blogs over the past few years and only a few has ‘stuck’, and this site is one of them. I started reading your blog about 4 or 5 years ago when my husband and I were trying to make ends meet on a limited income. While some of the money saving skills I have learned from your site will stick with me forever (I have no doubt), it is your kindness and faithfulness to your family, readers and Lord that keeps me coming back. Also, I truly appreciate your judgement free posts and for keeping this site so very positive and encouraging! I’m not a mom (not by choice, but we are hopeful), but it always pains me to see Mommy Wars in action.
      Thank you for being you— and for striving to be the best you that you can be.

      • Crystal says:

        Oh, Kristi, this comment blessed me so very much. Thank you for sticking it out here for so long, too!

        Also, I just prayed that God would bless you with a child and that He’d give you patience and joy as you wait and hope. {Hugs!}

  • Crystal, this is such a great post! Thanks!

    Honestly, getting readers to comment is one of the biggest frustrations I have on my blog. I’d love to build a community like I see on so many other blogs but it just hasn’t come in the three years I’ve been blogging. I ask questions at the end of my posts but rarely seem to get a reply. I’d love to know any thoughts you might have on this!

    Thank you for loving your readers – we sure do love you! ;o)

    • I would love to hear the answer to this as well. 🙂

      Thank you, Crystal, for being exactly who you say you are!

      • Crystal says:

        Kalyn: I was just talking to Ruth S. recently and telling her how I think you’re doing such a great job with your blog. However, if you’d like for me to give some input like I did to Tsh above, I’m more than happy to do so.

        • Please do – when you have the time, of course. 🙂

          Ruth is so sweet and I am so thankful to have met her. Thank you for your sincere compliments!

          • Crystal says:

            To be honest, like I said, I think you’re doing a fantastic job with your blog. I just spent 10 minutes on there, pinned one post, and could have spent a lot longer reading all your great posts.

            A few thoughts:

            1) Who is your audience? That wasn’t completely clear to me and I’d love to know if you have a defined audience in mind. Having a specific person in mind that I write to has been tremendously helpful for me.

            2) I’d love to see more of your personality/story/voice bursting through posts. I think you have so much creativity and a unique story — don’t be shy about sharing it confidently. Share your struggles, your victories… tell us your stories. I know you do this already, but I’d love to see more of this.

            3) Network with other bloggers. Share your DIYs & printables with me (see the submission form in my header) — I’d love to share some of these with my readers and on Pinterest. I’m sure there are many other bloggers who would love to share your great stuff — don’t be shy in letting us know when you have something posted that might be a good fit for us to share with our audience. In the same vein, are you writing occasional guest posts for other bloggers to get the word out about your fantastic blog?

            4) Keep at it & don’t give up. You’re doing a great job and if you’re seeing slow growth, that’s a good sign. Oftentimes, it takes years of sticking with something to really see the fruit of your efforts.

            I hope we get a chance to brainstorm in person in the not-too-distant future. I really think so highly of you and am so impressed with what you’re doing.

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks so much for your kind encouragement.

      One suggestion I’d have is that your blog name is sort of ambiguous. By just looking at it, I’d not really know what it is about. Nor will search engines. That’s one big thing to consider.

      Secondly, I’m not a fan of the magazine layout on blogs. I think it makes blogs seem website-y and not easy to engage with. I know it makes for more click-throughs, but most people I’ve talked to don’t like to visit blogs that have the magazine layout (where the posts are only shown in snippets versus the entire posts).

      Finally, what sets you apart? What’s your unique voice and story? What perspective do you bring to the table that no one else does? Your bio says, “You really never know what I’ll be talking about, and sometimes I don’t either!” That tells people they don’t really know what you’re able. Until you’ve established a strong voice and following, I think it’s important to be clear-cut in knowing what you’re about and being clear on that with your readers. That way, they know what they can expect when they visit your site. Once you’ve built a loyal following, then you can branch out and talk about some eclectic things. But in the beginning, I think it’s good to have a clear focus.

      I think you’re doing a great job of sharing openly and posting pictures — and don’t feel like you need to change anything at all. These were just some ideas I had since you asked. 🙂

  • Molly says:

    Crystal, you are such an inspiration. This post could not have come at a better time. I started my blog last month and today, before i read this post, i was looking at it and saying that i needed to make it more personable. I was unsure on how to do it, but, you answered my question. I even went to facebook page and asked my friends and family to give me any input they have. I really value your site, it was because of you that i started my own. It was because of you that i have been able to change my ways and live better. Keeping doing what you are doing and thanks for listening to us.

  • jennifer says:

    You are so right about community building. A few years ago I frequented a lifestyle blog where there were lots of pretty pictures but absolutely no interaction with the blogger at all. There were lots of readers leaving comments. Many of her posts would get over 100 comments but she never replied or answered any questions. So, I just stopped reading. If all I want is to look at pretty photographs, I can pick up a magazine at the drugstore. It’s really too bad because this blogger is gifted, so much so that a publisher contracted with her to write an actual print book. This blogger is fairly young so I’m hopeful that in time she’ll realize the potential she has at her fingertips.

  • MyCouponXYZ says:

    This is very inspiring! Especially the communication with your readers is so important!

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