If you really want your blog to be successful, make contact with other bloggers and your readers.

Whatever else you’re doing, chances are you’re not reaching out to people and making contact with them enough. If there is one thing I can point to that really separates successful bloggers from the rest, it’s what kind of contact-building and networking they do when they’re not blogging. Blogging is a conversation with other people, so try the following:

Email your commenters personally

Email commenters directly and thank them for commenting. Just say hello. Make sure they understand your email is not automated. I recommend you don’t use an automated email response plugin. People can tell the difference between an automated message and one you personally wrote. Guess which one they will appreciate more? Guess which one helps to build stronger relationships? Ask them to subscribe to your feed so that they don’t miss anything. Ask them if there’s anything they’d like to see you blog about. You can ask them how they discovered you (see, now you’re making conversation and conducting marketing research at the same time). Even if you get a lot of comments, you can still do this once in a while.

Email other bloggers in your niche or related niches

Email other bloggers directly via their contact pages to just say hello. Tell them you enjoy their blog and you just wanted to say hi. Be honest, and pick out some aspects to specifically mention. Send them links to other content online that they and their readers might find useful. Basically, just start a conversation.

Don’t do this unless you really like the other person and you want to put forth the effort to cultivate a professional long-term relationship with them. Think in terms of what benefits them and you will benefit, too, at some point. As with any successful relationship, you have to be a good match for each other. In this case, the match is going to be in regards to blog content niches and audience demographics.

Use social media

Participate actively in social media sites such as StumbleUpon and BlogCatalog. Add tons of friends, stumble or rate tons of sites from people you just added as friends, and they will likely reciprocate. Stop thinking about what you can get out of social media, and start thinking about what you can put into it. The more you give, the more you get with social media.

Join a forum

Join a forum for some camaraderie and help. Blogging Tips has a great forum here and there are other great forums, too, such as the Authority Blogger Forum. Join and participate. Help as many people as you can. Send private messages or emails to other forum members as a way to make contact and build relationships.

Go to meetups and conferences

The best way to meet people and engage in some powerful networking and relationship-building is to go to meetups and conferences. Personally, this is my weakest area, and I suspect this is true for many of you. One of my peak life experience goals is to speak at a big blogging conference (I have already spoken at a small conference, so I have gotten started). While meetups often don’t cost a thing to get in, conferences do, and that can be daunting if you’re having a hard time paying your bills.

You don’t have to do it all at once

Each one of these suggestions gets progressively bigger and requires more effort, time, and in some cases, guts. But you don’t have to do everything at once. Start with emailing other bloggers and your own commenters, and you will gain the confidence to engage with people in social media and forums. From there, the idea of going to a meetup or a conference doesn’t seem like as big of a deal as maybe it once did. You may be a little introverted or not have travel money, but you can start at the beginning and do something easy. The point is to do it, because that is what makes things happen and generates momentum. If you really want blogging success, make contact.