web design and social networkingMaking connections is what the internet is about. The world wide web as we know it was invented to help computers and the people using them communicate over vast distances, and if you want to get the most out of your website you should keep this in mind. You probably already understand that you want to connect with the people visiting your site, or the people you’d like to see visiting your site, but have you ever thought about connecting with the people running sites similar to yours?
Networking is one of the most important skills in the offline business world and it might be even more important online. By communicating with other website owners you can learn how to improve your own site, get more links and become a more effective communicator.

They Can Help Improve Your Site

If you want to be better at something one of the best things you can do is learn from the people who have come before you. It isn’t necessary to try and reinvent the wheel when there are perfectly good blueprints available. By talking to experienced bloggers and webmasters you can get their advice and input on your you site so that you can.

You might think you can’t just talk to strangers and ask them questions but if you are humble and show a genuine interest in their work then you would be amazed at how many people will open up. Just keep initial messages short and sweet, if you ask too many questions people will feel overwhelmed and be less likely to write back simply because they don’t feel like they have the time or energy.

They Can Help You Get Links

Getting people to post links to your site may be the most important key to success online. Of course it’s important to create a quality site with great content, but if there are no links to your site online then people won’t be able to find it. So how do you get those links?

When you communicate with other website owners you are increasing the odds that they will link to your site. To begin with, if they visit your site they will hopefully find something worth sharing. You can also offer to write a guest blog post where you offer them free content in return for a link to your site at the end. Guest posts on popular sites can cause your own traffic to skyrocket, but the more popular a site is the harder it will be to land a gig like this so consider starting with sites that are a little more your speed.

While networking can be great for link building you have to be smart about it, given the importance of links you can bet that popular sites are inundated by requests for link trades and other schemes. Start out by showing an interest in the content of the site rather than potential just focusing on links. Quality content and one solid relationship are better for generating links than 1,000 spam emails.

They Can Help You Be A Better Communicator

Despite the fact that the internet was invented for communication using it can feel like very solitary work. Bloggers who are just starting out can spend hours, days or weeks writing to the people of the world with very little input from the few visitors they get. This can be frustrating, for communication to be productive and satisfying it should be a two way street.

While you won’t get responses from everyone you reach out to you are much more likely to hear back from people you contact directly rather than whatever random visitors you get from Google. If your communications go well and people say they like your site then you can bet you’re on the right track. If things don’t go so well then maybe it’s a sign you need to work on your communication skills. Writing well and being persuasive are crucial for crafting effective blog posts and emails so test out and learn from both.

How To Start Networking

Now that you know the importance of networking it’s time to get started, but that can be easier said than done. If you’re not the outgoing type then it can be difficult to reach out to people, even if you’re just doing it through email. Fortunately there are a few simple steps you can take to start building your network.

If you find a blog you like comment on it. Bloggers appreciate thoughtful comments; don’t just spam your site’s URL. Join Twitter, follow sites you like, share their better tweets and start connecting with them when you see an opening. Don’t be afraid to connect using more direct options like e-mail and phone numbers just make sure you have what it takes to make a strong impression.

To improve the chances of your communications turning into true connections try and offer them something of value and/or ask them one question. You don’t want to overwhelm them or sound like a spammer, make sure your message is personalized. It only takes a few friends to open up a world of opportunity so get out there and start making connections. You might be surprised at how far a short message can take you.

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