1. Read other blogs
Just reading other blogs - any other blogs - will help you grow as a blogger - although it helps to read other blogs on topics you blog about. You'll start to learn about what makes a compelling post. You'll also see what other people are writing about - what are the hot topics? what hot topics might you want to join in on? You can also find sources of inspiration when you're running dry. Other blogs also present the opportunity to discover new bloggers and readers related to your topic - start visiting them and connect.
RSS readers will help you subscribe to blogs (and any other website with RSS feeds) you want to check back in on regularly and see what's new whenever you have time. Check out Google Reader for a simple RSS reader.
2. Comment on other blogs
Did you know that commenting on blogs is a frequent way that bloggers learn about each other and connect? Go comment on other people's blogs! And when someone comments on your blog, you should view it as an opportunity to make a connection. Answer when people comment on your blog posts - especially if it's a question. If someone comments on your blog post, get to know them - add them to your network, and if they have a blog, go visit it and comment in return on one of their posts.
Learn more about the etiquette of commenting on blogs and how to handle comments on your own blog.
3. Guest blogging
Guest blogging is one key way that bloggers connect with each other and gain exposure to new audiences. Guest blogging can happen several ways:
Invite others to guest on your blog - Are you going to be busy for a couple of weeks and can't blog? Consider inviting some other bloggers to do a guest post on your blog. This is a great way to keep your blog alive and kicking in your absence and introduce your audience to some of your favorite blogs. This is where it helps to already have some favorite blogs you regularly follow and comment on, so you have someone to ask! They should be bloggers who blog about the same topic and you'll probably have more success reaching out to smaller bloggers who are still growing their audience.
Offer to do a guest post for another blogger or ask if they'd be interesting in exchanging - you do a guest post on their blog and they do one on yours. Again, it should be a blogger who blogs on similar topics. When you contact them, you should demonstrate that you regularly read their blog, understand their audience and share what topic you'd like to guest post about.
There are many ins and outs to guest blogging and this Guest Blogging 101 post on PROBLOGGER is a great resource.
Look at a good example of a guest blog post - note the intro to the guest blogger at the beginning of the post and the paragraph with more about him at the bottom of the post.
Do you have any other ideas for connecting with fellow bloggers? Share in the comments!
*image via mckaysavage