Yikes! People are reading my blog! Yay. But now what do I do? I have to keep it up or lose my followers. That is the problem with “popularity,” you have to fan the flames or the fire dies out.
So, how do you keep a blog alive? What do the “experts” say? In gathering links for my last post, and my Blogs and Links page, I read some advice on how to write for a blog and tips for bloggers. Some of it was for company bloggers, promoting a company, or personal blogs promoting something. Even though one day you may need to promote your work, I wanted to focus on tips for beginning bloggers and more specifically for writers/authors.
One blog I found made a distinction between general blogging and an author’s blog/page where you would be promoting yourself and your work: How to Start Blogging: A Definitive Guide for Authors. I think it is worth mentioning how important that can be for some authors, however, as Jane Friedman points out, it doesn’t produce much marketing for most authors. She goes on to tell you how to make it work for you as a fiction writer/novelist. Give it a read if that is your goal.
In my post, I am referring to the more general concept of blogging, but some of Jane’s tips can also be useful.
Here are some tips and posts I found helpful and inspiring.
- Stick to one general topic. Focus your blog on one area, field, or specialty. With writing that could cover a lot of topics, anything from writing tips to editing, publishing and marketing, and even snippets of your work.
- Focus on the blog and 1 or 2 social media outlets. Don’t get bogged down trying to do and be everywhere. Having a blog and trying to be on EVERYTHING just means you don’t have time to do a good job at anything.
- Answer a question. Focus on something your reads what to know about, something they are seeking an answer and then answer it!
- Make the title meaningful. Don’t throw keywords in the title to get Google hits. There was a lot of disagreement on this. Depending on who wrote the post and who the audience was, some bloggers said use keywords to improve SEO. In the end, if readers can’t relate to your posts, it doesn’t matter if Google finds them, your target audience won’t read them.
- Be authentic. Write what you know and what you feel. Just like writing a novel, the post, and the blog, will develop a voice. Readers will know when you are trying to be like someone else. Be yourself.
- It takes time. Give yourself a break. Most bloggers did not make it overnight. If your goal is to get an enthusiastic following, then speak to them. Be patient. They will come.
Here are a few posts that were very helpful:
16 Blogging Tips for Beginning Writers This post focuses on beginning writers, and is from grammarly.com, so you know it involves outlining, writing until you finish before editing, using bullets and numbers, images, and writing to your audience.
18 Tips for New Bloggers Another blog with great tips for new bloggers. Especially to not latch on to what other bloggers do! She says, “Don’t launch with something flimsy like “This is my first post!”” You were probably guilty of this one, I know I was. She says to have 2-3 “meaty” posts ready to go and 7-15 in various stages of completion.
Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle: How to Maximize Existing Content, Generate Quick Ideas and Cut Your Blogging Time in Half By Penny C. Sansevieri from the Huffington Post on how to use content from a post and create polls, checklists, quizzes, and even info-graphics or tips on pinterest, twitter, instagram, etc. Not so much for beginners, but helpful if you have a lot of existing content and would like to make some quick support posts or social media pieces.
Do you have any tips you found insightful? Share them.