Blogging is possibly the most difficult aspect of a writer's platform. It takes commitment, work, and a constant flow of ideas. There are a number of points that I believe are important in keeping a successful writer's blog: Posting regularly, Choosing a topic, Staying on topic, Linking, Short length, and including your blog on your website.
When keeping a blog you can't just write a couple of posts one week, not write anything for two, write a post, then another a few days later… I doesn't work that way. Set yourself a schedule and try to stick to it (do as I preach not as I do). Pick a day of the week and try to ensure you post on this day. By doing this your regular readers will know to expect a post on this day and it may become a part of their routine to check in on your blog each week.
Choosing a Topic
As writers, we are generally trying to target potential readers for our books. You should choose a topic for your blog for which you can keep supplying posts and that are aimed at your target audience. What's the point in having a blog which is mostly based on what's on television, or gardening, or craft if these are not what your ideal readers are interested in.
Staying on Topic
Other writers will have different views on this point than I, however, I believe that you must attempt to stay on the topic you have chosen but with a little room to move. Changing your topics continuously could lose the interest of your target audience. Despite this however, I think that it is also important to include some posts that give insight in to your life, allow your readers to learn a bit about you as a person. In my case my main topic is the craft of writing and writing tips although I occasionally throw in a post which reflects what is happening in my life.
This is a point I too need to work on. It is a good idea to link to external sites from your blog posts. It is also productive to link to your post from your social media networks. This is a great way of bringing traffic to your blog and by doing this often you will see a large jump in the number of page hits you receive. Whenever it is logical also link to other pages within your website, including other blog posts, so that your readers may begin to browse to see what else you have to offer.
Have you ever opened an article, seen the number of words on the page, balked and closed it almost instantly? I'm pretty sure a lot of people do. Hence, try to keep your post around 500 words give or take. If it is a pretty long and comprehensive post then perhaps think about putting previews up on the main blog page. This will allow the readers to gain an interest from the preview and then open the full article to read its entirety.
Including your Blog on your Website
You will see many authors with blogs that are either on their personal website or are separate such as on Wordpress. I believe that having your blog on your personal website, as I have, is the best way to utilise its marketing power. My reasons for this are that, when readers come to your site to read your blog, the rest of your site and the information it provides is already there on the screen for them to access. Wouldn't it be best if those readers decided to have a read of your book excerpts or have a look at your books just by them being a single click away?
I hope this post alleviates any questions some of you may have about blogging. Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below, I'm sure others will be wondering the same things.
Scarlett Van Dijk
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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