Whether you realize it or not, the blogosphere is a community, and you do have blogging neighbors. This does not refer to the people who physically live in your neighborhood. It instead refers to bloggers who blog about the same thing that you blog about, or whose blog topics are somehow relevant to your topics. These are your blogging neighbors, and they face many of the same trials and tribulations that you face when it comes to your topic.
It is a good idea to find and get to know your blogging neighbors. It will probably be impossible to get to know all of your neighbors, but you definitely need to get to know the most influential and popular bloggers in your particular neighborhood. Its sad to say, but even in the blogosphere, you need influential people on your side.
You can find your blogging neighbors by doing keyword searches in the blog search engines, using keywords that are relevant to your own blog. Using Technorati, you can not only find blog posts that relate to your topic, but you can also see, in the results, how many other blogs are linked to that particular blog.
Remember that your blogging neighbors are important even if you wish they were not. You have to avoid viewing your blogging neighbors as competition, and instead work with them to improve the neighborhood and make it a more desirable place to be, even if they are in fact your competition from a business standpoint. Just remember that the blogosphere didnt start out as a commercial marketplace, and it still isnt. It is just that business owners have found that there is also profit in the blogosphere.
Once you have located your blogging neighbors, and determined who the important ones are, you need to become a regular reader of those blogs. Add them to your feed reader, and make sure that you visit them on a regular basis, or each time they are updated.
Now, there are two reasons for doing this. First, it is important to leave comments on these blogs whenever you can, as long as what you have to say is relevant and of importance. When you leave comments, make sure that you leave a link to your own blog at the bottom of your comment, or refer to an entry on your blog, providing the permalink, within your comment if that blog entry is relevant to the blog entry that you are commenting on.
By leaving comments, you will be building your own readership, and providing inbound links from what search engines consider to be authoritative websites back to your own blog. This will take you a long way in raising your own search engine ranking.
The second reason for reading these blogs on a regular basis is to find entries that you can refer to in your own blog entries, for which you will then provide Trackbacks. Those Trackbacks will appear on the other blog owners blog entry, and will help you build traffic to your site. The other blog owner may also return the favor and Trackback to your blog entries as well, increasing the popularity and importance of your blog.