Monday, July 18, 2011

creating blog community -- and party pinwheels

How do you increase community connections on your blog? This is a key question for successful bloggers. We try to create a feeling of camaraderie here on our blogs and recently I have felt very much befriended and involved with others on the web. One strategy that has helped me was joining blog events like this one, the Secret Recipe Club. My assignment this month was Jam Hands, written by Ali. She uses some incredible methods for improving the community on her blog--simple ideas that are effective, too. (Oh, and she makes some mighty tasty party pinwheels.)

I became a Jam Hands reader just one month ago when I was assigned Ali's blog for July's Secret Recipe Club. In that short time, I have learned a lot from her about building a blog community. For example, she writes a weekly post called Ali's Notepad featuring other bloggers' recipes and posts, which includes a photo montage and her own descriptions of the links. And she has provided a little "featured button" on her sidebar so that if you are one of the links you can add the button to your page. (I don't think there's a huge take-up; I only saw one of the most recent set of mentioned blogs had taken up her offer. But it's the availability that counts.) Each of these posts starts with the cheery intro, "Woo it's Friday! Time for me to feature your awesome posts" and contains about ten links.

Additionally, Ali produces a post called The Weekend Dish (here's an example), in which she recaps the week's posts and site news. But, more importantly for the discussion at hand, she mentions and links to the top five referring sites of the week and thanks them. She also writes a little profile about a "featured commentor", including a picture, a brief bio, and links to a few of the other bloggers' best posts. She thanks this person for their comments on her blog and adds, "Would you like to be my featured commenter of the week? All you have to do is leave a comment sometime during the week and it could be you!"

Wait, there's more. Ali has recently launched a Jam Hands community forum. And she posted a few weeks ago asking if anyone had reblogged any of her recipes because she wanted to link to them.

I really appreciate Ali's outgoing and friendly style. Strategies such as she is using create a really nice cooperative feeling on a blog.

What methods do you use to create connections on your blog?

Party Pinwheels
adapted from Jam Hands
makes 24 party appetisers

225 g (1 package) cream cheese
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
1 t dried parsley
1/2 t black pepper
2 green onions (spring onions, or scallions)
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
4 whole wheat tortillas

Soften the cream cheese in the microwave on low power.
Mix all the ingredients (except tortillas) with the cream cheese.
Spread a quarter of the mixture over the full area of each tortilla. Roll up and wrap tightly in foil.
Use a sharp knife to slice into 2 cm lengths.


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