Whether you want to someday write a book or just reach more than your mom, you’ve probably heard the term ‘platform’ before. This post won’t tell you how to make a six-figure income in three months whilst selling your soul to the devil. I can’t even tell you how to bring in thousands of followers each day.
This post WILL tell you how you can make each visit to someone else’s blog a genuine interaction that builds friendships. After all, deep down, most of us care more about community than we do about pipe dreams of laughing all the way to the bank.
Set the Stage
First of all, when someone other than your mother pays a visit to your blog, you’ll want to have a few things set up ahead of time so that you can easily reciprocate the visit.
If you use a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can install a plugin called Comment Luv. This handy plugin leaves a friendly little link at the bottom of your visitor’s comment and makes it easy for you to return the visit.
If you have a Twitter account, make sure you’ve set your tweet plugins to add ‘via @YOURTWITTERHANDLE’ so that you know when someone has tweeted something from your blog. You can sign up for my free “31 Days of Housekeeping Hacks” if you’d like to learn more about installing and using these two plugins.
The comments section and the tweetables serve as the butler to your website. They inform you if someone has paid a visit and remind you that you should return the favor.
Have Calling Days and At Home Days
The second step to building platform involves link-up parties. These involve a hostess (or host) who provides the venue. Some people like to link and run. Don’t do that—it’s akin to toilet papering the neighbor’s house.
Once you link, take time to read what the hostess has written and leave a comment. Next, visit the blogger who linked up ahead of you. Tweet something from their post, or pin it. If you think your friends might enjoy the post, share it on Facebook.
Leave a comment! You might want to include a little introduction, “I’m your neighbor at Five Minute Friday” or “I’m dropping by from Inspire Me Monday.” I’ve met some wonderful people through link parties, and even met some of them in person!
When you link up at the parties, remember that it’s not a masquerade. Leave your profile picture, not a graphic from your blog. When I link up, I visit the people before and after me, and then I start looking for familiar faces. I click through to visit my friends and see what they’ve written—and that builds community.
Make sure you have an about page. If I really like a writer’s style or what they had to say, I extend my visit by clicking on their about page. I’ve discovered a lot of kindred spirits out there.
Keep the House Clean and Uncluttered
No, not your real house, your blog house. In other words, proofread your posts. Tidy up the prose and keep the toys picked up off the floor. (I refer to the excessive use of the passive tense and music that blasts out when the visitor opens the door). Go easy on the knickknacks (paragraphs of quoted material, everything centered, and a different font or color on every line).
You want your house to provide a calm canvas for the word pictures your paint. You don’t want people to feel like they just paid a visit to Aunt Henrietta the Hoarder each time they stop by.
If people like what they read, they will want to share it and stop by again another time.
What tips would you add?