Sunday, July 21, 2013

 

Blogging Basics

It’s hard to believe now, but I first came up with the idea to start a blog in October 2007, around the same time I decided that developing a website for my business was a necessity. As my writing career has evolved and had its share of ups and downs, so has the blog, titled Renee’s Pages.

At first I focused on freelance writing topics, being a work-at-home mom and sharing clips of my articles. Over time I gained a few regular followers, and it felt great to be involved in a supportive writing community. However, when I failed to post regularly, the followers slowly waned. I blame this on the fact that I had regular paying writing and editing gigs that took up a lot of my time, and some of it is a result of never having a clear vision for my blog. I never took the time to sit down and make a blogging schedule or brainstorm a list of what I really wanted to write about. I just sort of posted when I felt like it.

About three years ago I started dabbling in writing fiction and reading interviews with authors and agents that stressed the importance of author platforms, specifically blogging. I realized I needed to revamp my website and figure out where my blog was going. I also needed to think positively and figure out what the heck my platform was going to be on the off chance that I actually sell a book one day. I sat down and thought about the topics of my two works-in-progress, a middle-grade and YA novel. One focuses on a tale of time travel to the 1980s and the other is a coming of age story set in the 1990s. I’m also a celebrity gossip junkie and rely heavily on music as part of my creative process. One day I want to completely redesign my blog when I have more time and resources, but for now I use one of the basic templates in Blogger. I kept the name, Renee’s Pages, and added a subtitle, “The Writing Life of a Pop Culture Junkie.” It seemed fitting.

I spend a lot of time watching old television shows and movies through Netflix and on cable and I finally figured out I can write about how my favorites relate to my book and article topics. Voila! There’s my platform. I’ve also tried to study blogs I admire for more ideas on how to improve the blog. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1. You must post regularly. For now, even once a week would be great for me, but two to three times a week seems to be the standard in most of the popular, highly-trafficked blogs I visit.
2. For writing-related blogs, readers love giveaways! Network with other writers and agents and soon you’ll have more products to give away than you know what to do with.
3. Network with other writers and develop a regular schedule of author, editor and blogger interviews and guest posts.

Do you have a blog? Do you update it regularly? What tips do you have for gaining more traffic and visibility?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer who loves to blog about books, movies, music and celebrity gossip and writing. Visit her website at www.FinishedPages.com.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Margo Dill said...

I completely one hundred percent agree with EVERYTHING you've said here. :) I also think we have to offer something unique with our blogs that others don't offer. So, if you have a popular novel, you are the one that can offer material about why you wrote it, etc. In my blog, I have an education/reading background, so I try to offer reading activities and discussion points for the kids' books I review. I think having a certain slant and/or offering content that others can't also helps keep readers or drive traffic. Plus if you can write funny, you will get readers!

5:37 AM  
Blogger Judy H said...

I think regardless of the bent of your blog, whether writing, quilting, etc, you have to post at least 2-3 times a week. And sometimes, life and lack of anything to really write about gets in the way. I need to get busy with giveaways on my blog. But I am still a bit away from being comfortable with networking and guest bloggers.

6:31 AM  
Blogger Sioux said...

Renee--Since it had been a few days since my last post, I read your post here, wrote my own, and then came back here.

Thanks for the post. I too agree with everything you wrote, and also with Margo. Funny DOES draw readers. The blogs that I never fail to follow have a vein of humor.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

I'm not a big bloghop type person, but I got involved in one that really draws a lot of people to my blog (granted, mostly other writers). Blogging is so much about building relationships with other bloggers and your readers. In order to have a lot of visitors, you really do have to go to a lot of blogs and leave comments. When someone leaves a comment, take the time to respond to them. I'm still learning the ropes and struggle to find the time when life smashes in, but as you stated, consistency is important.

4:16 PM  
Blogger LuAnn Schindler said...

I always have good intentions about blogging...but after I get all my other writing-related tasks completed, I want a break and think oh, I'll do it later.

Wrong.

I need to make a strong effort to post three times a week instead of just once a week. Thanks for the push!

9:01 AM  
Blogger Eugenia Parrish said...

I had a blog for a short time a few years ago. Four of us traveled across the USA getting footage for a documentary about veterans and their families and lives. It was easy to post every day because every day was so full of fascinating new people and events. When we got home I worked to keep it going, blogging on what was happening with the documentary and my own thoughts about vets and the military life, etc. Gradually it became obvious to us here that the people working on the docu had moved on and shelved it without being honest with the rest of us about it. With no input from them and no goal, my blog lost steam and I stopped. Heck, by then everyone was writing blog posts about honoring the military, etc. What had been a great new idea had become commonplace.

Ever since then I've wanted to start a blog about writing and what I'm working on. The major problem is that what I'm working on takes so much of my time. I would be pressed to post more than once a week. Also, I'm from an older generation that wonders why I should think my simple ponderings would interest anyone!

So now and then I make a note about a possible post, and tuck it in a file. Maybe someday.

9:12 AM  

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