What are blogging communities?
Are you a member of any blogging communities?
Are there any advantages and disadvantages of belonging to blogging communities?
When I started blogging, I had no idea that blogging communities existed, but it wasn’t long before I found myself a part of them.
What are blogging communities?
There are many different types of blogging communities. This post features my experiences with what has become known as ‘Facebook blogging communities’ – a name I recently discovered. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to belong to one of these communities.
How it all started
Within a few weeks of becoming a blogger, I was lucky enough to attend an online blogging course that WordPress ran. It was an online, live event rather than something you could do at your own pace.
Along with over 50 other new bloggers, I soon became a part of a blogging community that gradually built up. We helped each other out by reading, liking and commenting on each other’s blog posts.
Not everyone on the course became a member of the community. By the time the course finished, around 15 of us had kept in touch by reading, liking and commenting on each other’s posts.
It didn’t matter what we published or what comments we left for each other; the main thing was that all our posts got read.
During the first year, three things happened.
- I built my own blogging community.
- I became a member of other blogging communities.
- Some people gradually dropped out of the first blogging community for various reasons.
What are the advantages of blogging communities?
The most significant advantage of being a blogging community member is that all my blog posts were getting read and commented on.
Apart from whoever first visited a newly published post, visitors saw my posts had ‘likes’ and comments.
I had an audience. I was not writing (speaking) to an empty auditorium.
I always found it sad reading excellent blog posts with no ‘likes’ or comments. But then I asked myself if the bloggers publishing the posts belonged to any blogging communities. Probably not!
However, regardless of what I was writing and publishing, my posts were all read and commented on. I was delighted!
Friendships formed with many of the members of my blogging community, and as more and more people joined, those friendships spread.
The same thing happened in other blogging communities. When we struggled, we all helped and supported each other. When things were going well, we all celebrated with each other. These communities were like brand new worlds outside of my everyday life.
My blogging community encouraged me to put my short stories and pieces of flash fiction into a book. If not for their support and encouragement, I’d never have self-published my books.
A few years later, I became one of the founding members of ‘The Bloggers Bash’ – an event where bloggers met up in person. Five events took place in London between 2015 and 2019, all a big success.
I can’t express enough how delighted I am to have met many blogging friends at these events. I’d never have met these bloggers if it had not been for blogging communities.
Sadly, I’ve lost touch with some of the bloggers who attended those events. Some stopped blogging, while others moved away from WordPress into areas of blogging that were much more exciting. Some stopped responding to comments on their blogs, while others left blogging communities I belonged to.
Blogging communities are a big triumph.
They are places where you can talk, and people will listen (if that is what you want). They offer help, support, guidance, free advice and friendship.
I witnessed many blogging community members meeting up all over the world. These were all people who would otherwise never have formed friendships and met up had it not been for them to start a blog, many on WordPress.
When the pandemic struck in 2020, blogging communities were even more critical, especially for bloggers who lived alone.
Of course, not every blogger wants to be a part of blogging communities. It’s their choice, and I fully understand why they may not want to participate.
Are there any disadvantages to blogging communities?
Yes. But only if you create problems.
During the first years of blogging, reading, liking and commenting on each other’s blog posts helps propel you on your blogging journey.
However, as you become a member of more and more communities (and your community grows), you’ll find you have less time to read and leave comments.
As blogging communities become more extensive, they can eat away at the time you have put aside for everything else outside of blogging unless you stick to a strict rule of how much time you spend reading and commenting. Adhering to any limitations can also create problems.
I’ve seen many bloggers forced to change the comments they leave because of a lack of time to read posts. Instead of leaving genuine comments that offer feedback and discussion and prove they have read the post, lazy ‘Facebook’ type comments appear.
What do I mean by lazy, Facebook type comments?
Short one-line comments. Comments like ‘Great post’ or ‘Great story.’ Comments that never explain why it’s a great post or a great story. In other words, comments that lack any feedback. Comments containing nothing but emojis (something I am especially not a fan of) can also pop up.
I noticed (and this is where the Facebook blogging community name comes from) that the comments I was leaving became much shorter as I joined more blogging communities. My time to read and comment became even more minimal with the increasing size of some blogging communities.
My comments were of no value to the blogger I was leaving them for other than to say that I had visited their newly published post (although not necessary read all or some of it).
Rather than read all of the posts, I skimmed over them because I didn’t have enough time to read and comment on everyone’s posts.
I found myself leaving the types of comments seen on Facebook. Many bloggers refer to them as guilt-tripping comments because you feel guilty for not proving that you have visited the blog post if you don’t leave a comment (regardless of whether you’ve read the post or what the comment says).
Along with other bloggers, I began to find blogging become stressful. It made me feel guilty, and blogging burnout hit me because I could not keep up with reading and commenting on other community members’ blog posts. I was overwhelmed and wrote and published the following post.
Let’s Keep Blogging Fun
Is blogging making you feel guilty or stressing you out? Let’s make blogging fun again.
Back to blogging communities.
It was not long before I realised that belonging to large blogging communities stopped other members and me from expanding our horizons by discovering new blogs and bloggers. We didn’t have the time to search. It usually happens when blogging communities reach a certain number of members.
I began to see community members’ blog posts lacking comments from new bloggers/followers. Instead, the comment sections of their blog posts were full of the same short comments from the same bloggers.
But it wasn’t always short comments. Sometimes, the comments section was full of longer comments, but always from the same bloggers. Rarely did comments from new readers appear.
You may think there is nothing wrong with that, but one blogger recently told me that close-knit blogging communities often look like uninviting scary places, so they never left comments. ‘It was like being a new kid on the block, where outsiders would not be welcomed’ — my heart sunk when I heard that.
Duplicated blog posts filled my WordPress Reader and email box because some community members keep reblogging each other’s blog posts.
Some of the blogs of close-knit communities had conversations in the comments section that had nothing to do with the blog post’s subject (usually something much better discussed offline or on Facebook).
When I realised that I was suffering from blogging burnout, I had to change how I was blogging. The most significant action I took was to step back from many blogging communities.
Instead of skim-reading and leaving lazy comments on every blog post of other community members, I selected which of the posts I was going to read and comment on.
If the blog post’s title was of no interest or did not entice me to click the ‘read more’ link, I did not read it.
If a community member published more than one post daily, I selected one or two of their posts weekly, although the titles had to be enticing enough to make me want to read them.
I stopped leaving comments on all posts I read. If I did not have anything of value to add, I clicked the ‘like’ button and moved on to the next post (although if I had enjoyed reading the post, I shared it on social media).
I stopped feeling guilty for not reading all the blog posts community members published.
I cut back on some blogging communities by leaving them – something I have never regretted.
Balancing writing with reading and commenting on blog posts should never be a problem.
Some blogging community members may feel frustrated or upset that you are not reading and leaving comments on all their blog posts (especially if they read and leave comments on all your blog posts). Never allow it to become your problem or make you feel obliged to read and comment on their posts. That’s not what blogging is about.
If any blogger realises you are not reading and commenting on all their posts and sees it as a problem (as a handful of community members have told me in the past), ask yourself if you should be following their blog.
Final thoughts on blogging communities.
Being a member of blogging communities offers many incentives. Many bloggers are happy to have the same readers leave the same comments week after week. Some won’t care about gaining new followers or promoting their writing elsewhere, especially if what they are doing gives them a lot of fun and enjoyment.
Some bloggers don’t care about feedback. They see their blog as a place where people can pop in and say the occasional ‘Hello.’
Some bloggers are happy with their close-knit blogging community and won’t care if nobody else joins in.
Yet, seeing the same short comments on all blog posts of a particular blog day after day doesn’t inspire me to want to leave comments, especially if it’s a close-knit blogging community.
Should you join blogging communities?
Yes! I recommend that every blogger be a member of at least a couple of blogging communities. However, everyone should beware of the pitfalls blogging communities can bring (if you allow those traps to open).
Stick to no more than a handful of blogging communities, otherwise, you’ll find you will need to spread your time thinly between them all.
Do you belong to any blogging communities? What are your experiences with blogging communities? What advantages and disadvantages have blogging communities bought you? Join the discussion by leaving your comments.
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113 thoughts on “What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being A Member Of A Blogging Community?”
That’s such an interesting post, especially for a person just starting their blogging journey like me! I am very grateful Hugh, thanks for it! I was thinking about ways to grow, and it came in handy! After reading the comments, I believe that every starter is struggling to draw traffic to their blog. This post combined with another post of yours “Are You Struggling To Get People To Your Blog? These 7 Free Methods Will Help” give a good start.
I’m glad those posts have helped. I remember being a new blogger and how difficult it was to get people to my blog. I learned a lot of this stuff, so I enjoy sharing it.
Hi, Hugh. I just found your site and enjoyed this post. This is the first I’ve heard of blogging communities, so thank you for sharing.
I’ve been blogging for a few months (I only use this account for commenting), but I’ve been frustrated with the difficulty I’ve had connecting with other bloggers in my niche. Few fellow bloggers comment or reach out. Half the time, I can’t even get a like. It’s depressing and discouraging to say the least. Other bloggers don’t seem to have this problem. Normally, I’d assume my blog must be pretty low quality to be drawing this response, but I’ve had some initial success SEO/Google-wise, so I’m not convinced that’s it.
However, the social and interpersonal aspects have proved the most challenging. I wish I knew why. But now I’m wondering if blogging communities could help. I’ll have to look into this. Thank you so much for covering this topic.
I’m glad this post has helped.
The early years of blogging are always tricky when gathering comments and likes on your blog posts. Many bloggers give up for lack of engagement. However, you can do a few things to help generate comments and likes on your post. This post may help.
I also have other posts that deal with building an audience and getting more readers to leave comments and engage with you. You’ll find them under ‘Blogging Tips’ on the menubar of my blog.
I hope they help. And happy blogging.
I have no idea because I’m not in one but feel free to connect !
You are probably already in some blogging communities, but just don’t realise it. Likewise, feel free to connect and join my community here on my blog.
Thank your for sharing your insight with us. I never knew there blogging communities out there until reading this post. I took online classes where we shared discussion posts, and the rules applied, your post had to be engaging, not just a short answered post. Another thing I enjoyed about this post, is that the community met up in London, one of the places on my bucket list. If they ever have another one, I’d love to attend and experience it with you all. Again, thank you for this post, it was very inspiring and exciting 😊😊😊😊😊
You’re welcome, Gabrielle.
Most blogs will have a community of bloggers who read and leave comments on each other’s blog posts. Unfortunately, some of those communities don’t get into any discussion and only leave short comments of no value to anyone. These comments tend to be guilt comments where the blogger who has left them just wants to prove they’ve visited, although they may not have read the post.
Communities where the comments left get into a discussion about the post’s contents are much better and are what most bloggers desire. I’d recommend joining these communities rather than the communities where little if any discussion takes place.
I agree with you. Facebook comments are usually one line or two lines, we do not get exact responses. Can I be a member of your blogging community?
Anyone can be a member of my blogging community. The door is always open.
I am very happy you and I are in the same blogging community!
Congratulations Hugh! Your post won the Inspire Me Monday Linky Party. You’ll be featured on my site tomorrow.
Me too, Janice.
Thanks so much for the great news about winning the Inspire Me Monday Link Party.
Have a great week.
Hi Hugh W Roberts! By reading your blog, I revived my interest in writing the blog and it is inspiring me to join the blogging communities too. As you also run a blogging community, I request you to include me in the same.
Blogging communities are open doors, so anyone can join them whenever they like. No need to ask for permission. Welcome to my blogging community.
Having started my blog just a few days ago, I find myself so grateful for blog posts like this that aim to assist and educate those who otherwise know nothing about it! So thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.
I now find myself feeling a little less intimidated by this platform, and a little more confident as a result. If I ever wind up in a blog community, I’m sure my future self will come back to this post and keep me in check.
You’re welcome. I remember when I started blogging and how the first blogging tips post I stumbled upon was like finding a piece of gold.
Welcome to the world of blogging, Georgina. Remember that blogging should always be about fun and enjoyment.
I love your honesty and sharing of your discoveries through blogging Hugh. I remember when you and I would talk about being overwhelmed with having to read too many blogs – years ago. I have adopted much of same policy as you when it comes to reading blogs. Some I like to leave my two cents, and if I have nothing to say, I’ll hit the ‘like’ button and still share. Not every post is going to appeal to us but yes, ‘great post’ doesn’t say much. Also, I’m thrilled to be part of a great community of writers and friends on WP. I know for myself that community here has gotten me through many lonely and insane moments. Hugs xx
Hi, Debby; I think being honest with ourselves about blogging is the best policy.
I’ve witnessed far too many bloggers leave blogging because they felt guilty for not reading blog posts or leaving comments. They felt obliged, but couldn’t do it, so they left rather than change the way they blogged.
Even today, I still get bloggers telling me that they feel obliged to read and comment on the blog posts of all those who read and comment on their posts, even if they have no interest in the content of those posts. That’s not what blogging is about.
Recently, I came across a blogger who said in the comments section that she closed off comments on her posts after 14 days because that was enough time for her followers to read and leave comments. I couldn’t believe she was demanding that was what her followers had to do. It’s no wonder that some bloggers feel they must read newly published blog posts straight away.
I agree that the blogging community can be very supportive and helpful. It’s a shame that some community members set demands or get upset if we don’t read and leave comments on all their posts. Likewise, the same for those who feel they have to read and comment on all the posts of other community members. Hopefully, this post will help those who feel obliged, stressed or feel guilty for not being able to keep up.
Thank you for joining the discussion.
Agreed on all counts Hugh. We just have to get ourselves in a ‘blog groove’. We get to know who likes to post many times per week and those once or twice a week (like me). We cannot possibly keep up with so many blogs so I prefer email notifications of blogs I follow, and particularly for those who post daily, I pick a few that resonate and read. I always enjoy your blog talk. Hugs ❤
Thank you for a true and insightful reflection on blogging. I love writing on my blog (I’m the passionate one), and I equally love reading the posts of the bloggers I follow. Keeping up with reading and commenting is hard- I feel guilty if I read and comment a few days after their post. I teach full time, and I admire those who can juggle both work and blogging in a timely manner. I can’t. Still, the positives and friendships far outweigh any negatives. A fellow blogger is coming to town next week! I’m as excited as you must have been at the Blogger’s Bash. BTW, I have sent cards that my preschoolers wrote to Ritu’s class. We are both so excited! See, blogging is a real community. Best to you, Hugh.
You’re welcome. Jennie.
Why do you feel guilty if you don’t read someone’s post for a few days? After all, that post isn’t going to go anywhere, is it? I’m sure the bloggers you’re referring to won’t mind if you read their posts weeks or even months after they were published. After all, that’s why posts remain online until the author takes them down.
It can sometimes take me months before I read a post; plus, if I am doing a search for posts on a particular subject, search engines bring back posts that could be years old. There aren’t any rules about when you have to read a post. Read at your own leisure. That way, you’ll replace the guilt with fun and enjoyment.
You are exactly right. It’s just me, and my self imposed guilt. So now I will dust off my feathers and move forward. Thanks, Hugh!
Good to hear, Jennie. Reading blog posts should never be a race. It’s all about enjoying them at our own pleasure.
An online blogging course sounds amazing where you could learn and meet other bloggers. I wonder will they do that again? Enjoyable post as always Hugh!
Thanks, Wayne. The course is still available to do, but no longer live. It’s something every user on WordPress can do at their own pace.
Thanks Hugh, that’s great to know.
Hi Hugh, as always an interesting post about blogging. I belong to a few blogging communities and have specific bloggers I like to interact with. These are all people whose posts I really enjoy. I only read posts I enjoy and I always comment. I only have time for a certain amount of blogging and I try to keep up with various people but never expect to read all their posts. Some people post a few times a day and I couldn’t possible read them all. I just do my best to read what I enjoy. For me blogging is discussions and knowledge sharing with like minded people and that is more important to me than meeting new people. That being said, I do meet new bloggers through shared posts and sometimes I incorporate new people into my blogging community. I read and comment on some blogs who never visit mine. That is because I enjoy them and I don’t see blogging as an equal and opposite relationship. It is about learning and growing.
Thanks, Robbie. I’m delighted with the discussion this post has generated.
There is discussion, and then there is discussion. What I mean by that is that I prefer the type of discussion where questions are asked or where the discussion is more than just a few words that don’t add any honest discussion (lazy comments), the types of comments best suited to Facebook. When I see comment sections of blogs full of pointless discussions that add no value, it never makes me incentive to leave comments on those blogs. Comments such as ‘Great books and Authors, thanks for sharing.” There is no discussion in comments like that. However, I know that some bloggers don’t mind those types of comments being left time and time again by the same bloggers.
From what you said in your comments, you do the same as me. It’s good that you don’t feel under any pressure to read all the blog posts of the members of the communities you belong to. I despair when people tell me that they struggle to keep up with reading and commenting or feel obliged to read and comment on posts that don’t interest them. It should never be like that.
However, I’m always on the lookout to follow new blogs that write and publish content I’m interested in rather than trying to stick to reading the same blogs. It’s why I cut back on reading and commenting on blog posts in some blogging communities and why I unfollow blogs I’m no longer interested in reading. It’s also why I stopped leaving meaningless comments that add no value to blog posts. But that’s me. I know some bloggers don’t mind meaningless comments being left. But, it’s not for me anymore.
Thank you for adding your voice to the discussion.