Please welcome the very lovely Jenny!
It's so exciting to be over at Southern Lovely today! In case we haven't met, my name is Jenny and I blog over at The Southern Institute. I am a wife and mother who likes to dabble in all sorts of creative pursuits. I have been blogging for just under three years now. My blog, The Southern Institute, has evolved from being a place to post my sewing projects to a place where I started sharing my heart about parenting and being comfortable with myself, then to focusing more on crafting. Now it has grown into an inspiring community with over 3000 readers.
When Lindsay asked me if I would be a part of her What I Know series I agreed because I totally wanted to be a part of it, but then I had a really hard time coming up with something! I wanted to wow everyone with a great post about something awesome that I know how to do really well. Well, nothing came to mind. I have learned a lot about myself over the three years, and one of the things I have learned is that there are other bloggers out there that do a lot of things much better than I do, and that's no joke! I started to think out of the box a little and realized that there is something that I think I do well, and that is...
Creating a warm and welcoming community!
As I have blogged over the last three years, and went from blog identity crisis to blog identity crisis, there was one thing that was important to me as it grew. That was making sure that people felt welcome when they visited, and that they didn't leave feeling like crap. You know the feeling! You read a blog full of amazing ideas, unreal DIY projects, gorgeous photos. You go from post to post, eyes wide with amazement at what one woman can do, and before you know it, you feel terrible about yourself. It has happened to me many a time. I didn't want my readers to ever feel bad about themselves after visiting The Southern Institute (not that I am amazing, unreal, or gorgeous by any means!!!). I set out to make The Southern Institute less about me and more about the community, and it has been so much fun!
Here are Five Ways to Make Your Blog a Welcoming Place:
- Invite people over. When you want to welcome people into your home, you have to invite them, don't you? A blog is an online home of sorts, and people love to be invited!
- Have a linky party. Every one loves a party. Have you tried creating a linky party? It can be about anything or everything. Once you've thought of a great idea refer back to #1 and invite people.
- Visit other blogs and leave some comment love. If you blog, then you know how nice it is to receive comments (as long as they're nice, right?) Why not make someone else's day? Say something nice... you'll make their day.
- Feature other bloggers. One of my favorite things to do is to have a guest bloggers post at The Southern Institute. In fact, I love it so much that I have added five regular contributors and have one or two guests in addition to that every month! It's fun to add variety or projects, writing styles, and perspective. I'm always having guests over to my blog. In fact, if you are the creative type and would like to be a guest, you can email me (thesoutherninstitute(at)gmail(dot)com) and we'll talk!
- Make your blog easy to navigate. Show a list of recent posts and/or popular posts. Add a navigation bar to the top of the page. Add a search box. Keep it simple and uncluttered. Your readers won't feel welcome if you make it hard for them to get around your blog.
The proof is in the pudding, ladies. I have been doing these things and it's working. I recently asked my readers to take a survey and I asked them "What keeps you coming back to The Southern Institute?" Here is what they answered. The #1 answer was the tutorials, but numbers 2 and 3 were...
... and that makes my heart happy!!!
So come on by The Southern Institute and say hello! Link up with our weekly party, Creative Me, Sunday night through Thursday night. Let me know if you'd like to be a guest, I'd love to have you. Most of all, just enjoy your visit.
Thank you for having me here at Southern Lovely, Lindsay! It's a honor to be asked to share another blogger's space.
Now these are just wonderful tips! Thanks Jenny, we can all learn so much from this. And I definitely feel very welcome in your space. :)