Here’s part two of my post about blogging. You can find part 1 with thoughts 1-5 here. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I have several years of blogging and a lot of trial and even more error behind me.
#6. Blog regularly
Your blogging rate is up to you and will depend on your blog and your topic. I don’t believe blogging daily is a good idea, since it’s difficult to sustain and readers can suffer from overload. Equally, readers drift away if you don’t keep posting.
A useful tip is to schedule your posts for the next few months and write several in advance when you have some spare time. Then you’ve always got something to post. One of my resolutions is to do this more systematically. Build in some flexibility, too, so you can quickly cover a hot topic.
#7. Write for, and offer, guest post slots
Offering a regular guest slot to like-minded folk is another way of assuring content and it gives your readers a fresh perspective. And getting yourself a guest slot on a popular blog will bring people to yours. Ask your guests to write about something that’s relevant to your blog and not completely off-topic.
Fellow Crooked Cat author Miriam Drori runs an interesting series on her blog, entitled ‘Letters from Elsewhere’. She asks authors to write a letter as if it were from one of their characters. This makes an imaginative change from the run-of-the-mill post.
#8. Link your blog to social media
Essential if you want to expand your readership. You can link your blog to Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Triberr, etc., where others can share the links to your posts. Don’t forget to return the favour.
Activate the social media buttons below each post as well, so that people can share your post directly from your blog.
#9. Encourage comments
Encourage readers to leave comments. This starts some interesting debates and makes them feel more involved.
Always answer readers’ comments, but be courteous and considerate, even if you don’t agree with them. Make sure your other readers are, too. People sometimes hide behind the internet and write things they would never utter face to face. If they start slanging matches, stamp on them. You can threaten to block them as a last resort.
#10. Refresh your older posts
WordPress has a ‘related posts’ facility, which identifies similar posts in your archives. I prefer to choose which ones are related, so I’ve turned this off and use hyperlinks at the end of my posts under the heading ‘You might also like’.
I have deliberately missed out more technical stuff, like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), i.e. using keywords in your posts to ensure that search engines like Google and Yahoo pick them up. This can be a double-edged sword, since if you lard your posts too liberally with the same keywords, the search engines are sophisticated enough to smell a rat and ignore them.
So I believe it’s better to get your blog up and running, make decisions about the issues I’ve raised in these two posts, and then worry about the more technical stuff once you feel at ease with blogging.
Not all of my suggestions work with every blog and there’s an apprenticeship period you have to go through. But it helps to be aware of these issues.
Do you have additional thoughts about blogging that you’d like to share?
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