Virtual NeighborI was so shocked when my article “You’re The 1st Lady Of Your Blog So Act Like It” was read as many times as it was. So many times, we as bloggers, set double standards for our websites. We may want to work with certain types of companies, but then the material that we put on our website is contradictory to the fact.

This brings up another topic that revolves around blogging: blogging community.

Are you a good “virtual neighbor?”

How do you treat the people that come by your blog? Do you welcome them with open arms and tell them to make themselves at home as you would an in life neighbor? Or do you kind of nod your head and grumble a quick “thank you for stopping by” before closing the virtual door in their face?

Do you take the time to thank those who stopped by?

So many times I hear bloggers whining about not getting enough visitors to their website. Or when someone does stop by, they never return. While they were at your “blog house” how did you treat them? Did you thank them for coming? Did you visit their “blog home” as well and return the comment love?

In real life, when a new neighbor stops by your house to introduce themselves you usually welcome them openly. You carry on a conversation to get to know them. When you see them outside you wave and say hello. You extend a hand of kindness, neighborly love, and let them know  that if they need to borrow a cup of sugar to stop on by.

Now, let’s translate these same actions into a way in which we can welcome our “virtual neighbors.”

When someone leaves a comment on your blog, return the friendly gesture. Step foot onto their “blog porch” and let them know that you were glad they stopped by and you wanted to say hey. Everyone loves to receive comments and you have thus placed the ball in their court. If they reciprocate the comment love and stop by your blog once again, you could potentially be forming an online friendship with someone. (Or at least showing some “neighborly” love.) Everyone loves to feel like someone cares about what they are writing. I know that I do.

Once you have started building up your relationships with your “virtual neighbors” try connecting with them on social networks.
(This is the equivalence to joining the same mom’s playgroup or bumping into them at the local grocery store in real life.) Are they twittering? Then follow them. Are you both a part of the same message boards? Then interact with them there as well.

No one likes to feel alone, and the internet is so vast one can easily feel lost in the crowd.

Just as much as there are do’s of being a good “virtual neighbor” there are also some don’ts.

Don’t ignore your emails. It’s just like someone knocking at your front door and you don’t answer. They know you are there, they can see your silhouette through the window. Then you try to top toe away and you trip and fall hard, right by the front door, or your children yell out “mama, what are you doing?” (Hey, it happens.)

If you are one of the few “lucky” bloggers that get inundated with massive amounts of emails every day then leave a disclaimer somewhere near your contact form. It could be as simple as saying that you love receiving emails , please be patient with you as you try to personally return all of your emails.

There is nothing like getting a personal email back from a blogger you admire and you could very easily be that person to someone.

No one likes a mooch. Don’t stop by someone’s “virtual house,” see that they get a decent amount of traffic and then try to sponge off of that by offering to do a link/button exchange with someone you haven’t even interacted with. That’s just like asking your new neighbor to watch your children. They don’t know you so why would they do that? It’s all well and good that you want to build up your traffic, but it’s called “hard work.” Once you have formed a relationship with a fellow blogger, then a button/link exchange  could possibly follow. (Maybe even a collaboration on a new project.)

This article was meant as a guide to show you a few simple things that you could do to welcome a new blogger to the “neighborhood” and to show your blog visitors that you appreciate them. (The neighborly analogies were used for fun examples.) These aren’t the rules that one “must” follow“, but after being on the blogging scene for a few years, as well as stumbling around and learning from plenty of my own mistakes, following these simple rules could easily make or break your blog.

Do you have any tips to share on how to be a good “virtual neighbor?”

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  1. LOVE IT! Not everyone thinks that way. I am always big on confusing on my readers and trying to interact with them in my comments (nested replies) and on Twitter, etc… and of course, like you said, visiting the people who visit me 🙂 Great post – definitely food for thought. It’s easy to get wrapped up in numbers, but you’re right – we should take time to think about someone other than ourselves and spend time on blogs other than our own 🙂

    Thanks for the inspired post – awesomeness.

  2. It’s hard to keep up with so many blogs but when people take the time to come to my personal blog and comment, I always go back to their blog and return the favor. I have found many cool blogs that way. On my review blog, I always thank the readers for participating in my giveaways because I really do apprecaite them coming by and entering. I try to follow my followers on twitter and try to engage someone new every day. Not everyone responds but if one person does and I have a new virtual neighbor then it’s worth it.

  3. Hey chica, I love to talk to my audience which im sure are mainly girls, atleast thats what the names read on my comments as if we are girlfriends. Girls like details and pics so I make sure that i get every detail of an event that i cover. I tell them how somebody smelled, and what they wore head to toe. My readers really like my details. I tell them if im having a bad day or if Im busy and cant say much. I tell them to check back for more info and always try to follow up on give a ways and free things. So far so good but I can still step it up a knotch or two. We all can do better in many ways, we are all a work in progress.

  4. I do try and visit everyone that leaves a comment on my site. It may not be in the same day but it does happen within the same week. If they took the time to visit me, I can definitely do the same.

  5. Great, great tips! Wonderful food for thought. I think that everyone wants to be acknowledged and by sending them a short “thank you for stopping by”, that’s a great day to do that.

  6. Great article! as always! As I am just considering blogging it gives me a lot to think about. Thanks and keep up the great work!

  7. Awesome article! I recently talked about Blog Karma on my blog and think it is the same thing you described. Everyone loves a comment!

  8. Wonderful post!

  9. These really sound like good tips for nurturing a neighborhood type feel with your blog. I’m new to blogging, so I really appreciate the advice!

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