When I started with what I’d learnt in over two years of blogging, I hadn’t intended to have a series of three more ‘how to’ blogs. However, from some of the comments these have been well received. In this final blog on the subject (at least for now) I’ll cover some of, what I consider, to be the important points around getting started with blogging itself rather than the blog.
What to write about
It sounds simple but to me this is, ‘anything you are interested in’. My blog is mainly science fiction and writing based i.e. I’m a science fiction author. However, it will expand beyond that to science in general, the future of the earth/human race/civilisation. Also the world of publishing, e-publishing and self-marketing etc. And other times I’ll go a little ‘off piste’. So you see what starts as a relatively narrow brief can go in many directions. It has to. With nearly 130 blogs already I need to keep it interesting for my own sake and that of the reader. I’ve read that you should concentrate on your books and their subject matter. I think I would have a) bored people silly, b) run out of material long ago, if I’d tried to do that. I don’t pretend to be an expert in everything I write about, but I’m interested, I have an opinion and if I can get people thinking about the subject then great.
Blogging, patience and discipline
Unless you are a) famous b) some legendary guru (which I suppose doubles with a)) c) have some psychic powers, or d) very lucky, you are not going to attract hundreds of hits straight away. When I started I read that you have to give it six months to start building an audience i.e. you need to be patient. It may seem like you are talking to yourself for a while, but unless you stick at it you’ll never know.
I also believe you need to be consistent. I blog every Wednesday and I think blogging on a regular basis, whether once a week, every two weeks or whatever is important. I’m sure there are successful blogs that run on a more random timetable, but unless you fit with a), b), c) or d) above I don’t see that working.
Treasure your readers.
Remember everyone who visits your site is taking time out of their busy lives to read what you’ve written. So, give them interesting, varied, proofed (I know that the odd typo will creep through, but I do try) and well written content. Encourage them to leave comments, these show people are engaged. Then if people are good enough to comment reply, show you’ve read it and appreciate them making the effort, even if it disagrees with your point of view (I prefer contrary views to no comments).
Read other people’s blogs
You can learn so much from other blogs. Not just in relation to their content, but also style and construction. And if you find it interesting leave a comment. As indicated above, these are precious gifts for the blogger.
Few people will discover your blog unless you tell them about it. Also the more you blog, the more you advertise it and the more it is read, the better known it becomes. OK it sounds obvious, but it does go back to the patience bit. Because the longer you are at it the more hits you get and the higher up search engine rankings you become. So do tweet it (but not so much that it becomes boring). By doing this for a couple of years I have regular retweeters, which means my tweet reaches many multiple times my own number of followers.
I also regularly advertise my blog on relevant (key word ‘relevant’) facebook and google+ sites. I have a google blogger site which redirects to my main site (I believe this helps with google ranking). The key here is again patience and blogging regularly. I like to think that some people now recognise my name and hopefully appreciate my blog enough to be regular visitors. One result of this, and being patient, is that my blog is now picked up by various on-line news sheets.
I have blogged before about doing guest blogs, which is a great way of getting yourself out there. This is something I must do more of.
I hope if you are thinking about blogging these series of blogs have helped persuade you to start and if you have started to stick at it. If you’ve been blogging for some time I hope they’ve helped as well. And if you have other suggestions/ideas please share them. One of the great things about the blogging community is the generosity of people in sharing what they’ve learnt.
As always comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated. I promise I will reply.