How to Start a Blogging Network

The following post is from Angela of Homegrown Mom:

blogging network
source: crazykidschicago

Sometime last year I was asked to join a group of women in a blogging network. I’m so glad I said yes. Besides getting to know some awesome ladies I might not have met otherwise, my blog has grown in traffic and quality because of shared wisdom.

The Benefits of a Blog Network

Ask and Answer Technical Questions. We’ve shared questions like how to make a button, how to store files, how to change a comment section, how to move from blogger to wordpress.

Get Feedback. I recently made a button for a series I’m doing and posted a couple images for critique. After several comments and suggestions, and one member even photoshopping the changes she was suggesting, I came up with a button I was happy with. We’ve asked for feedback on new designs, ideas, content, and just about everything blogging you can think of.

Advice. How much to charge for ad space? When to break ties with a sponsor? What to put in a newsletter? All of these questions and hundreds more have been asked and discussed at length in our group over the year.

Motivation. Setting goals “out loud” in a forum is always good for motivation.

Differing Viewpoints. When you ask a question to 21 women, you’re going to get a wide range of views and insights. My initial opinions on some matters has been challenged and shaped by thoughts some of the women have shared.

Get a peek at other blogger’s stats. We’re all curious about traffic and how to get more. Much more is shared in a private group than people are willing to post online.

Share exciting news and vent frustrations. Face it, sometimes people who aren’t online much don’t understand why you need to jump up and down because someone you recognize left a comment on your blog. Likewise, they may not get why you’re feeling bogged down by lousy comments. Other bloggers get it.

Friendship. We have asked each other for prayer, shared health issues, personal setbacks, and major life decisions in our group. Several of our members have even met in real life. I live across the country from most of them, so I haven’t yet been able to meet up, but I hope to someday!

How to Start Your Own Network

If you’re wishing you had a network like this, why not start your own?

Angie Kauffman set our group up by simply emailing some women and asking if they’d be interested. She’s the brains behind our network, and the one who brings the ideas we all toss around to fruition.

Before you hit send on your email, give some thought to how you see the group functioning and consider these questions.

Where Will You Meet? Here are just a few suggestions:

On A Private Blog. You can set up a free WordPress or Blogger blog and make it private, and add members as administrators so they can add posts. Though it won’t be as easy as in a forum site, members can respond and interact in comments section.

Ning Network. Our group uses a Ning network, and it works very nicely.

Yahoo Group. You can set up a private Yahoo Group for free.

Will you require anything of members? Do they need to check in regularly? Promote others?

How many members will you cap off at? Our group has 22. When it first started, we had around 12. Start on the smaller end, you can always add more members later on. When settling on a number, keep in mind that a smaller group is usually easier to manage and develop intimacy. If the group gets really large, you might find members lost in a sea of bloggers. And the internet is already kind of like that.

Will the group be open? Invitation only? Private? Our group is private and by invitation only. This keeps it small and manageable.

Find common ground. Though none of us are exactly the same, on a whole our members have an awful lot in common. Several of us homeschool, though not all do. We’re all women. We’re all mothers. We’re all very generous with any knowledge we’ve gained over the years. Think about the group you’d like to put together and what shared interests you might have.

Get started on getting your group together and getting to know one another!

Next month, I’m going to share Ideas for Your Blogging Network to use.

Do you belong to a networking group? Are you thinking of starting one?

Angela is the blogger behind Homegrown Mom, where she writes about creating family times, being a homeschool freak, and trying to be a wife to rush home to, all the while admitting that she isn’t quite a domestic diva. Yet. She’s hopelessly addicted to her family, sour patch kids, and blogging, in that order.