On Monday, I shared 5 ways to build community without commenting.
But today, I want to share a personal story with you that speaks to another important dimension of community building that shouldn’t be overlooked.
At the end of last year, I was bemoaning the lack of visitors I was getting to KludgyMom. People just weren’t coming by – and I could feel it. I couldn’t pinpoint why, though. I just knew that something was fundamentally changing about my blog. All of the things I talked about on Monday to keep my community going? I was still doing all of them. But yet, the community was leaving.
In January, I decided to do a 2011 “Year in Review” post, that would allow me to share some of my favorite posts from the prior year with readers.
In order to do that, I had to spend a large chunk of time going back through my archives and reading through a whole year of posts.
It all started off well enough. I clicked through January and February’s posts, and thought, “Wow, I was really on a roll back then! Great content, some really well-written humor posts, helpful blog tips, right on!”
March through June were pretty good, too. I continued to mentally pat myself on the back.
But as I started to look through July through September, I spotted fewer and fewer posts that made me go, “Oh yeah! I remember that post! That was really good!”
October through December was a veritable blog wasteland.
In a few short months, my blog had gone from excellent to meh to OMG lousy.
My blog was dying – and I didn’t know it before it was almost too late.
Think of your blog as a delectable treat you give your readers – an ice cream sundae with a bunch of amazing toppings.
All of those toppings – the whipped cream, the sprinkles, the hot fudge sauce – are awesome. They make the sundae better. But without the ice cream, there is no sundae.
And you know all those ideas on how to attract and keep readers? They are awesome, too. But they are only the toppings of your blog.
The ice cream of your blog is your content. Without the ice cream, there is no delectable sundae . Without awesome content, there is no delectable blog.
And when your blog is no longer a tasty treat for readers, your community will go away. No amount of paying it forward, retweeting, answering questions or bestowing of blog awards can fix it.
The only thing that can fix it is to add the ice cream back in.
So if you’re feeling like your blog has stagnated, or that you are losing visitors, consider taking a long, hard look at your content and determining whether you’ve stopped giving your readers the ice cream sundae they came for.
I’ve tried to refocus on my content this year. The best compliment I recently received was from my friend Tracy of Sellabit Mum. who tweeted me: “Good to see you blogging like you used to.”
Give ‘em the whole sundae: ice cream, toppings and all.