In April, I’ll be celebrating the 9 year anniversary of my blog, SlingWords. Once I had 2 other blogs that I published nearly every day. I also guest blogged for clients for a number of years.
I really have no idea how many posts, all total, that I’ve written. I do know on SlingWords, that I’ve published over 2,000. I guess one could say I know a little about blogging. I also know that a successful blog is one of the best marketing tools a writer can have in her toolkit.
To help you achieve success in 2014, I’ve come up with 12 Blog Tips for the New Year. Take 1 tip each month and work with that tip. You’ll be surprised how much your blog will improve and how your audience will grow with just a few changes in your blog habits.
1. Start a blog if you don’t have one or if you have learned that the one you have doesn’t serve you well. If you already have a blog, then give it a makeover. A blog, when carefully structured, will draw in visitors who are not just other authors.
2. Make a commitment to blog a certain number of times each work. More is better.
3. Write about things that stir your passions, not things that you think you should cover.
4. Set up an editorial calendar that lists the topics you’ll cover. You can keep this private or post it on your blog. This will keep you from wondering what you’ll write.
5. If you want to keep expenses low, then use a free blogging platform. Blogger is easy to customize and maintain. Others say the same thing about WordPress. I use them both.
6. Use your name as your blog URL. Example: http://JohnDoe.blogspot.com. I learned this lesson the hard way. By the time I realized I should have used my name for my blog title, SlingWords was already too well-established to make the change over. I tried to switch it over to my name, but I abandoned the effort when I realized how many portals run my blog feed.
7. If you want to shell out a few bucks, buy your own domain name and set it up to point to your blog. Make sure it’s your name, not something descriptive.
8. Be consistent. If you say you’re going to blog 3 days a week, then follow through. Consistency builds a blog audience.
9. Although the bar is set lower for blog posts, do proofread your posts carefully.
10. Interact with your audience. Always respond to a comment left on your blog.
11. If you have Comment Verification turned off, then check every day to make sure you’re not getting spammed.
12. Avoid using elements on your blog that are listed as “most annoying” by web visitors: music, wacky fonts, black or very dark backgrounds with white or light-colored fonts, broken hot links, and content that isn’t formatted correctly for web reading.
Blogging should be fun. Adopt that attitude. Never look at blogging as a chore. It should be like sitting down with a friend for a nice chat. Build your blog that way, and you’ll build an audience fast.
I’m offering a free copy of A Book of Sunshine for Writers to all who leave a comment today. Just leave your email address (written out not as a hot link), and I’ll send you a PDF of this little book of inspiration for writers.
(Joan Reeves writes Romantic Comedy. Her books are available at all major ebook sellers–audio books at Audible and iTunes. Joan publishes Writing Hacks, a free newsletter for writers and her blog SlingWords . For more information, visit Joan’s Website.)