16 success tips for your author blog
We’ve discussed whether you should blog and some of the benefits of blogging. Today we’ll explore 14 tips to help you become a successful author blogger. While some of this may be repeated from prior posts, each of these points is important to master if you want to see success with your author blog.
- DETERMINE YOUR GOALS FOR BLOGGING. Are your goals clearly defined or clear as mud? Why are you blogging? In addition to selling books, what do you want to have happen as a result of your blogging? Build business? Connect with your readers? Find a mentor? Gain exposure as an expert? Eventually write another book from all your posts? There are no right or wrong answers – there are only YOUR answers.
- IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. Who will read your blog? Existing readers? Prospective readers? Others in your industry? Your speaking audience? Others who share a love of your topic or relate to it in some profound way? Other players in support industries? Once you know who you’re targeting with your posts, it becomes easier to tailor your posts to them and their needs. What you write for a prospective reader will likely be very different than what you write for others in your industry.
- IDENTIFY THE IMPORTANT TOPICS AND THEMES FOR YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. Don’t overlook this step. Find out what YOUR readers want to know, and tailor your blogs to that information. This process will help you niche your posts so that the readers can find and follow your blog.
- UPON LAUNCHING YOUR BLOG, POST 40 TO 50 DAYS IN A ROW. Blogging experts advise that when you’re first getting started, it’s essential to post for 40 to 50 straight days in a row – weekends included. This seems like a lot – but JUST DO IT. Blogs generally do better in search engines than static websites because they are constantly adding new content, and search engine spiders love new content. When you’re first launching your blog, you’ve got to prove to the search engines that you mean business by showing up day after day and week after week with brand new content.
- DECIDE HOW OFTEN YOU WILL POST. After your launch, you want to post at least once a week, or more often if possible. Decide what frequency will work for your schedule, then commit to it and keep your commitment. Although the sweet spot for the length of a blog post is between 300 and 700 words, not every post has to be long. Break things up by posting a quote or commenting on an image you like. Offer a weekly tip. Just like sentence length in your books, mix short posts with longer ones to hold your readers’ interest.
- ALWAYS INCLUDE A CALL TO ACTION! Soooo many newbies and seasoned bloggers alike miss this one. At the end of every post, give your readers some instructions about what you want them to do next. Visit your Web site? Attend a reading? Download a special report on your site? Your readers need guidance, so guide them.
- USE AN IMAGE WITH EVERY POST. Images do two things for your blog. First, they make it more interesting, by breaking up long walls of text. Second, adult readers retain 65 percent more information when there is an image to help anchor the content in their brains. Be smart about it though, if you borrow your images from Google, credit them. Better still, use your own images, use Creative Commons images from Flickr or WikiCommons. Or, of course, you can invest in stock images from a site like 123rf.com.
- MAKE TIME TO BLOG. “I tried blogging, but I just don’t have time.” This is just an excuse! You do have time, if you make time. So make time. I’m not in your head and I don’t know what your schedule looks like, so I can’t tell you when to make time. I can only tell you, MAKE TIME TO BLOG.
- CALENDAR YOUR BLOGGING TIME. Once blogging time is on your schedule, honor that time just like you would time with a client or for your boss. Maybe it’s Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Weekday evenings after the kids have gone to bed. Saturday afternoons. When you blog doesn’t matter, just that you keep to the schedule.
- WRITE AHEAD AND POST LATER. Maybe you only have a couple hours a week for blogging, but when you’re in that groove, you are able to bang out a few posts at a time. One option is to save them in “DRAFT” form and post them later. Also, many blog platforms allow you to write your posts like you would regularly do and schedule them for future distribution. This obviously won’t work for time-sensitive things like statistics, holidays, or breaking news, but it will work with many other topics.
- LET YOUR READERS KNOW YOUR POSTING SCHEDULE. You can add this to your signature and call to action at the end of each post. “Look for regular installments of Chef Chelsea’s Charming Cuisine every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning.”
- READ AND COMMENT ON OTHER RELATED BLOGS. This is one of the most important relationship-building aspects of blogging. Make sure you build into your blogging schedule time for reading and commenting on other blogs related to your topic. This is a powerful tool for building your own readership, because when you leave a comment, you are almost always able to include a link … back to your own blog. Make your comments thoughtful, though. “Great post,” doesn’t offer anything constructive to the other blogger or say much about you.
- AVOID SENDING MIXED MESSAGES – AND FAILING TO STAY ON TOPIC. This is a big one. Consider email for a minute. Have you ever received an email on one general topic, and then noticed a sentence or two on a completely unrelated subject tucked in at the very end? I know it’s happened to me. A couple days go by, and the other person asks me about the email they sent, and I can’t recall seeing anything on that subject – because it was at the BOTTOM of an UNRELATED email. I wasn’t looking for that data, so I just inadvertently missed it. The same thing can happen with your blog posts. Make sure each post is about one subject, and that you stick to that topic.
- MAKE IT EASY TO SUBSCRIBE TO YOUR BLOG. This process is automated on many blog platforms. However, if it isn’t, you must make sure to install a Subscriber button on your blog ASAP.
- GET YOUR SEO KEYWORDS RIGHT. If you want people to find your posts, you must be strategic with your keywords. This means tagging EVERY post for the terms your readers use when they search Google, Twitter, etc.
- BE PATIENT – RESULTS TAKE TIME. It’s important to realize that just like with any relationship, your blogging will evolve over time. People seldom get engaged on the first date. First, you notice each other at the grocery store. You note the time of day and you go back next week at the same time. Then you smile and begin talking. One thing leads to another, and soon a relationship is underway. Blogging is exactly the same. If you’re strategic and committed, in as little as a few months, you will likely begin to connect with your readers, sell more books, and generate speaking engagements.
Listen, blogging is not rocket science. If you’re a strong writer who commits to posting regularly and adhere to the steps above, there is NO reason you cannot have great success with your author blog. Decide. Commit. And begin posting!
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