As we continue our series on Building a Successful Blog we are revisiting the issue of making sure we start with the right foundation to build upon. As part of the foundation are those activities you need to do even before you are up and blogging. The activities we are talking about here are some of the activities which will start to get you involved in the blogging community now. These are the activities which will get you noticed and move you closer to a successful launch and blogging experience.

Build Your Community

In Part 2 we discussed engaging in the conversations which are taking place on blogs in your particular niche or market. And we also discussed how this activity is so important to positioning you in this community of bloggers so you will get noticed too. Commenting on these blogs is a critical step in the engaging stage of building the foundation for a successful blog.

What is wonderful about becoming involved in this community and the tools we have available to accomplish this, we are really only limited by our own imaginations on how we can do this. The web is packed full of tools and services we can use to build our community and to get involved in the community other bloggers are building.

Community Tools

MyBlogLog – Even before you have a blog of your own, you should sign up for this service. There are a lot of bloggers out there using MyBlogLog on their own blogs to build their community of readers. This is a great way for you to connect with the blogger and to their readers. Part of MyBlogLog’s allure is this community feeling. And while you are checking out the widget on these blogs, you can also check out the readers.

HOW IT WORKS

•  Register with your Yahoo! ID, add a photo and set up your profile.

•  As you visit MyBlogLog-enabled sites, your photo shows up on the widget – a virtual calling card.

Clicking on your photo leads to your profile and all the stuff you share.

•  Add community to your blog. Check your stats, see what people read and where they went next. Play host to your most recent readers and the returning faithful.

Once your blog is up and going, you can then decide whether to put the widget on your blog or not.

Gravatar – As we have already discussed, commenting and engaging in the conversations is key to building a successful blogging foundation. It is also key to continuing your success as a blogger. Gravatar is another way to get noticed. There are a lot of bloggers who are using this service on their own blogs to once again, build their community.What is a gravatar?

A gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an avatar image that follows you from weblog to weblog appearing beside your name when you comment on gravatar enabled sites. Avatars help identify your posts on web forums, so why not on weblogs?

When you comment, your photo will show up in the comment area of the blogs you are engaging. I use my own photo as my gravatar and we also use this feature on this blog. It is just one more way to get noticed, while at the same time taking advantage of commenting as a means to get involved in the conversations. You will need to join and set up your own gravatar account to take advantage of this service too.

Disqus – Disqus is a similar service to gravatar in that it allows you to have an avatar follow you to your comments on blogs who use Disqus. This service also supports “threaded replies” so you can select a comment to actually respond too. Signing up for this is also very easy and takes no time at all.

Watch for blogs using these two services and when you can leave a relevant comment which adds something to the conversation, make a point to do so.

What’s Next

•  Sign up for all three of the tools mentioned above.

•  Make it a point to leave a relevant comment on at least 3 blogs this week who use these services.

•  When you are on a blog who uses MyBlogRoll, check out some of the other readers. Chances are you may have something in common. Visit their blogs too.

•  While you are building your community, continue to add to your RSS reader. Subscribe to some of these new blogs you are discovering which are in your niche or market.

In Part 4 of the series we’ll continue to share more information on Social Media.

Grant Griffiths, G2 Web Media president and founder, used a niche specific blog to promote his law practice. His blog was so successful as a marketing tool that he stopped all other marketing, including using the Yellow Pages.