- HubPages Tutorials and Community
How To Build Community and Make Friends on Your Favorite Get Paid to Write Website
Introduction - What is Community ?
Community in the real world can mean any number of things. Some are, the state of being held in common; identity; a number of individuals associated together by the fact of residence in the same locality; a number of persons having common ties.... etc, etc, (Websters Dictionary).
On writer's websites the community consists of its members. The interaction within the website's community helps to define and build it.
There are ways to build community from within the community (leaving useful comments is one example) and externally (such as bookmarking your favorite articles back to that website).
I write for a number of sites and each site has a different level of community. Think about the ones to which you belong. If you belong to a site that has a never been able to build community, you'll know it. You'll feel like your articles are just parked in some remote lot in the back of the mall. Sitting there dead, just hoping for Google to someday pick it up. You won't find any human interaction. No comments, no forums, no support, etc.
I used to never participate in community. I used to think that it wasn't very worthwhile and that linking, commenting, asking questions was just something that people do when they want to rant. Now I try to actively participate and it actually pays off.
Benefits of Building Website Community
Being an engaging member of your favorite website will help build community brick by brick. This is not a completely selfless act, and honestly, probably shouldn't be. Your own legitimate ambitions have a number of good consequences for you and for others:
1. You'll get more exposure to your own articles and links.
2. You'll help others promote their work.
3. You'll promote the site itself.
4. You'll make more revenue.
We'll look at this more below as we delve into how to build more community on your favorite websites. Let's look at some really easy ways to get involved.
Comment on Other Articles
Commenting on other writer's articles is the easiest and surest way to build website community. Personally, I think that the amount of comments a website generates is the surest indicator of its level of community. Do you below to any sites that generate virtually no comments? I'll bet little else is happening on those sites as well.
Set aside time for reading the work of others and commenting when relevant.
Comments are great for a number of reasons:
Self promotion: When you make an interesting and constructive comment, you are also advertising yourself. I'm not suggesting going out there and spamming within comment fields, but if you like an article or have something to say, say it! Typically, if you are a member of a site and leave a comment, your username automatically links to your profile page. Leaving a constructive, interesting or witty comment might lead others to check out your own profile.
You Promote Someone Else's Article: Leaving a comment makes the article more engaging. A lot of people follow comment threads. If you leave a comment or respond to a comment it is very likely that users will revisit that article to see what you have said. A well placed comment can generate a lot of buzz. The person who wrote the article can benefit directly with more exposure from your participation
I've also noticed that comments can help in search engine optimization. Have you ever Googled a topic and the keywords that get you to that article are the words found in the comment threads? In other words, the comments had more influence on the Google search than the article. It happens to me all the time. Sometimes it stinks because the comment threads have evolved into topics that the article isn't about or not exactly what I was looking for. Other times I wind up finding a good piece that I wouldn't normally have come across without the comments influencing the search engine.
You'll improve the articles: Comments equal higher quality articles. If you are writing articles and you know people are watching, you'll consciously produce better work. Better articles equals a better website. Better website, more traffic, more revenue, etc.
You'll promote the website: Websites with lots of comments and activity just seem more naturally appealing than ones that don't. It makes sense, build community and the community thrives. Even when I don't feel like being active on a particular site, I feel better about posting on a site with a buzzing community. Sites with useful comments help give the site credibility. Visitors to the site will be more inspired to sign up.
Websites have different names for it but friends, followers ,buddies, you name it all mean the same things. You are basically requesting another member to recognize your existence on the site and vice-versa. There typically isn't much more of an obligation beyond that, but it can have good consequences.
Making friends on a website is an excellent way to building website community and there are advantages:
Promote your own work: Typically, if you friend someone, that person is going to want to see what you are all about. They'll check out your articles and maybe your profile. They will often comment on your work, which further promotes community (see above).
Promote the work of others: Adding someone as a friend almost always involves reading at least one of their articles. Don't just blindly request friendships, check out their articles. If you like what you are seeing, make the first move.
Provides Support: Some of those I've added to my list of friends have some really great stuff out there. Reading a body of articles that one person has wrote reveals expertise. You can personally benefit from that expertise. For example, if you want to draw more traffic to your articles but know nothing about SEO, key in on one of your friends who has demonstrated SEO knowledge. If you are a Hubber and noticed that "A" next to your Hub title you can find that out means from fellow writers. Tons of great questions and answers available from great community support. Ask questions and post comments. You might even inspire a new article topic.
Send Personal Messages When Relevant
Engage your website buddies from time to time on a personal level. Leaving article comments is great, but leave a personal message once in a while too. Towns that embrace that personal touch have good community. Websites are no different.
Visit your buddy's or future buddy's profile. Leave a personal message. On Hubpages you can do this via "fan mail" (after you have clicked on their "follow" link to sign up as a follower). Other sites have "guestbooks" or simply profile messages/email. Regardless, visit their profile and leave a constructive message, compliment or just a friendly holiday message or hello.
You'll promote your own articles and profile: Leaving a message on a members public profile gives you exposure. Again, don't spam here. Keep it all relevant. But your constructive post may inspire others checking out the same profile to visit your profile. It also certainly 'pokes' the person you are leaving the message for to look at your latest work as well.
You'll promote their articles: Whenever I visit a profile, I can not resist checking out some of their latest work as well. If I have something to say, I'll leave a comment (benefits noted above :-) and often I'll share the article (more on this below).
You'll make that person feel good (hopefully): OK, this presumes you aren't leaving a message like, "Hey, your articles make me vomit." or something like that. You comment on their profile, it makes them more aware that people out there care about their work and are taking time to visit their profile page, which is by far the most personal thing you'll post on any given site.
Good feeling is good karma so to speak. They'll pass it forward, more good feeling, more good community :-)
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Look to Others For Referral Links!
OK, let's cut right to the money. I am completely guilty of not doing this. Why? I just thought of it. Like a dope.
Most get-paid-to-write revenue sharing sites offer incentives if you get new members to sign up. Typically, if you refer someone, that website will pay you an additional percentage of revenue generated on that person's account, without actually lowering that persons earnings. The site actually pays your the bonus, typically forever.
Hubpages, for example, is filled with web savy writers who participate in many other revenue sharing / get paid to write sites. If you are thinking of joining other sites like Xomba or SheToldMe or ??? (yes, I did shamelessly link my referral URL's there :-) find a fellow Hubpages member who is a member of one of those sites. Check their profile for a referral link for that site, or ask them for it, and use that link to join up.
This definitely builds website community:
You'll help a fellow member to make more money: Isn't that the most tangible gift to give on the internet? Money. Take Hubpages for example, if all fellow hubbers (writers) searched each other for referral links before signing up with another site, think about all the extra loot that would be circulating out there!
You'll help Hubpages: Chances are, if you were thinking of writing for another site, you aren't leaving HubPages, you are just adding a new site to your repertoire. Plus, chances are you'll link other Hubs to those sites, bringing more traffic in from other sources, etc.
You'll help yourself earn more money: You've heard the saying "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours?" Reciprocity tends to happen in any transaction. You sign up using someone's referral link, chances are they'll try a site you belong to as well. Good things come when you pay it forward.
Communities that generate income are stronger: It's just the way it is in the world :-)
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Bookmarking and Linking Outside Your Website
This is one of my favorites. Promoting community from outside by linking back to your favorite site. Sure, it is important to take care of business at home, but you'll also want to reap the benefits from abroad.
It is sort of like the nations on Earth. No one nation is a vacuum. Bring readers in from other sites while promoting your own favorite 'abroad.'
You'll benefit: By doing this you are going to generate more of your own content on the web. Let's use Hubpages again as an example. You want to post fast content and you are having writer's block. You use a bookmark site like Xomba or SheToldMe and link to my articles (or another Hubbers articles) Two great things happen right away:
1) You get more content out there fast.
2) More revenue potential.
The author of articles you link back to benefits: Linking back to someone elses work is good. Their work gains more exposure. Of course, with exposure comes income potential. Outside exposure is also helpful for fresh comments, new friends, etc.
The site benefits: Driving traffic back to your favorite site (Hubpages for example) builds more community. There is potential for new members. New members contribute new articles. New articles lead to new comments. New comments lead to better work, friending, support, etc.
Take Part in Other Activities
Often there is more to do besides friending, commenting, writing, and linking. Many sites offer contests or challenges for you to participate in.
Many sites allow you to participate in the moderation of article content and other helpful 'get involved' activities. "Hub Hopping" on HubPages is a good example where you get the opportunity to judge content quality.
To Sum Up
Hopefully all that makes sense! Like anything in life, get involved, make connections and build community. You don't need to set aside a lot of time to do this.
Thanks for reading!