1. Start by making a Google search of the blogs in your niche.
When I did this, I found a Chicago Tribune article called, “These financial blogs are worth your time.”
From there, I found a couple blogs, specifically Poorer Than You and Notorious D.E.B.T., and wrote some comments on them. So far, I’ve gotten responses from both of them. As I build my site more and more, I’ll reach out to more and more sites, as well as Sam from Financial Samurai, considering he inspired me to start this blog.
2. Comment on a regular basis. In each comment, be sure to include a question or statement that proves that you actually read the article.
This is even more important if you use your website title as a name, which is something I would recommend — although that was against the comment policy at Poorer Than You. If you forget to include your website in the comment, having it as the title is just as good.
Ideally, you’ll be able to determine which blogs garner the most traffic and comment on those more often. However, if you want to build a community of like-minded people, the smaller, less-popular blogs are the way to go.
But strictly in terms of the bottom line, who gives a shit about community?
If that’s your attitude, go ahead and ignore your fellow “smaller” bloggers (who might be making just as much — if not more — money than the bigger bloggers who don’t know how to set up their website for max revenue). I’ll argue, though, that since you’re both engaging in the same activity day-in and day-out (working hard and blogging), the smaller bloggers probably have more to offer you.
3. Comment on articles with controversial topics. Take a side.
The idea is simple: you want your blog to stand out in some way from everyone else’s. People are inherently group-oriented. If you take a stance on a controversial topic (that could arguably be seen as reasonable by an even 50/50 of the blog’s audience), you establish an ingroup-outgroup bias. We determine who’s part of our tribe in a number of ways, but on the internet we tend to do it in one specific way. We ask, consciously or unconsciously, “Is this person part of a group that agrees with my ideals?”
Sometimes that distinction can be — and usually is — completely arbitrary. Take, for example, sports rivalries. If you’re a fan of the Cleveland Browns, you probably hate the Steelers. The same is true with the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. If you’ve ever met a die-hard fan of one of these teams, you know that rivalries aren’t just friendly competitions. Some of these fans legitimately hate the others.
Again: people are group-oriented.
When you boil it down, the hard-core fans of these teams have the exact same interests and passions. They love to watch sports.
If, in a historic — and completely bat-shit crazy — trade, every player of the Boston Red Sox was traded for every player of the New York Yankees, the rivalry would still exist. Red Sox fans will certainly not become Yankee fans, nor will Yankee fans become Red Sox fans. The fact remains that, in this example, both teams will have taken on every single quality, and every single member, of the rival team. The same one that the die-hard fan hated only moments ago.
Their loyalty is based off of nothing of substance. Only years and years of brand identity.
It works because it’s human nature. Something happened along the line to convince people who identify with the Red Sox to believe that the Yankees are fundamentally different. And they do believe it. Both teams cash in on that belief.
In the same way, and more practical for our purposes (unless you’re running a sports blog), something happened along the way to convince you that people should only work forty hours a week, even if they want to get ahead. I disagree. There are definitely people out there who also disagree, and I want to attract those people since they’re part of my “group.” Eventually I’ll comment on articles that talk about the “appropriate” amount of hours a person should work a week. I’ll take a side. And hopefully attract some like-minded people.
I strongly disagree with Sam that taxes are a form of charity. I’ll be commenting on those posts, too.
Whenever something controversial comes up, take a side. Preferably take the same side as a majority of the blog’s readers. That way you’ll get a lot of people agreeing with you.
With that said, don’t sacrifice your values for a few more readers.
None of this matters unless you . . .
4. Write great content that helps others.
I shouldn’t say “none of this matters.” That’s probably an overstatement. There are plenty of blogs on the internet with great content and almost no readers because the site’s author is doing *nothing* to expand his audience. In that case, none of what he’s doing matters.
On the other hand, there are actually a lot of blogs that garner a ridiculous amount of traffic and provide almost no value to readers. People are lazy. And they like to be distracted. That means they’ll click on the first thing that pops up on Google regardless of whether or not it’s a good way to spend their time.
I’m no different.
But I have a theory regarding SEO: the smart folks at Google want sites with great content to show up first in their search engine, not sites that highlight and repeat certain phrases because the authors think they can outsmart the people who work at fucking Google.
So write great content that people want to read. Then, to be sure, market the hell out of that content.