Friday, August 5, 2011

Writing a Successful Blog

Every writer knows that blogging is important, but people sometimes forget how important blogging can be.  For me, blogging was able to transform my writing career.  A little over a year ago, I started a small blog.  At that time, I was unpublished and much forgotten.  Within eight months of starting my blog, I saw my books on the shelves on Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Sam’s Club, and Costco.   I average over 500 hits daily on my blog and have my own column in the local paper.  My blog changed my career and made it possible for me to be a working writer.  But how do you go from writing a blog with fifty or sixty followers and a few hits a day to a blog that is really read and has a dedicated and passionate following?  How do you transform your blog from something that is ordinary into something that will get you noticed and bring you the attention of readers and editors?  I have put together a few tips on how to accomplish this.
1.       Chose a Popular Topic for Your Blog:   Many writers chose to write about writing or the struggles of a writer.  I did this for a while and felt like the only person who ever read my blog was my husband.  Unless you have a spectacular voice, a unique take on the experience, or are already well known, this won’t get you new readers.   Research your blog topic well and choose something you know people are interested in, will look for, and want to read.  Choose a topic that relates to your writing and give it a punch.  Make it stand out from the crowd.  You want to gather readers who will read your books.  For example, I write horror, ghost stories, and morbid urban fantasy so I chose to write about ghost stories.  I have a friend who writes erotica, so she chose to review all things sexual and lusty on her blog.    How can you lure readers to your subject area with something unique and engaging?
2.       Write Every Day:   Especially for the first five or six months, you should blog daily or almost daily.  This will put you in Google analytics faster and it will also bring more readers.    I had one blogger who blogs about ghost stories ask me why she couldn’t develop a following.  She was an excellent writer, but she only blogged once every week or two.  Blog readers are fickle.  If they don’t see new content regularly, they drift away.  After your blog is well established, you can blog less, but starting off strong is important.
3.       Find other Bloggers:  Once you start writing, find similar blogs to yours and start reading them.  Find popular blogs and follow them.  Bloggers love to network and will help you get started.  I would have slipped into oblivion if it weren’t for two bloggers who wrote long blog posts about my blog on their blogs.   I was then able to return the favor for other bloggers as I gained momentum.  
4.       Comment, Comment, Comment:  As you find blogs you love, comment on them regularly.   Bloggers with two hundred followers or more may miss you if you just follow them, if you comment on them, they’ll notice you and return the favor.  The surest way to gain followers is to comment on other people’s blogs.  Most comment boxes also allow for reciprocal links that will drive traffic in your directions as well.
5.       Tweet:   Twitter is an excellent way to gain followers.  It is easy to get people to follow you on twitter and if you post about your blog on twitter, people will read your posts.
6.       Have Patience:  It will take months to develop a strong following.  Measure your progress and growth and be persistent.  If you give up or stop blogging, your following will vanish very quickly.  Know that your hard work will pay off and that if you are determined your blog will grow and your followers will come.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks Jess

Definitely food for thought.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Jessica Penot said...

Thanks for the comment Mike! I'll have to check out your books soon. They look interesting.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Great post, Jessica - very interesting tips.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Good advice, which you obviously practice yourself.