Friday, 29 August 2014

8 Top Blogging Tips


This blog first appeared on my Twitter friend @TerryTyler4's site. I am re-posting it here as it stands alongside the 3 Twitter posts: Twitter For Fledglings. Blogs seem to be falling out of fashion again and I think I am one of the few who still posts regularly, which is a shame. Hopefully, this may encourage a few people to start their own blog, or restart regular blog posting ...

When my first book was published in 1992, the internet was in its infancy, ebooks were a glint in some geek’s eye and Amazon was just a sapling. There was no need to develop an online presence as there was no real ‘online’. And anyway, there were bookshops in every high street.
Fast forward twenty-two years and my, how things have changed! Now the proliferation of self and small publishers, advances in digital publishing, the sad demise of local bookshops and the all-pervasive presence of the internet means that any writer who wants to be seen or to promote or sell their work has to use social media platforms. One of my favourite online platforms comes via my blog.
I started the blog on May 12th 2012 principally because I was planning to self-publish an ebook, Jigsaw Pieces. The kind friendly writer mentoring me told me I needed a blog and I always do as I’m told. The first post was read by three people, one of whom (my mentor) was nice enough to comment. Now, the blog regularly gets 500+ hits a week, rising to over 800+ as it travels gently through cyberspace and can elicit as many as 40 comments.
I don’t sell a lot of books via my blog, but that isn’t its primary purpose. It is an outlet for other types of writing; a space where I can share my thoughts on life and stuff and people can read them and get to know me. Hopefully if they like what they read, they THEN might go on to try one of my books. 
So what makes a “good’’ blog?
Posting regularly. I put up a new blog every Saturday morning at 8 am. This encourages a regular reading clientele.
Responding to comments. People like to know their comments have been read and absorbed by me. Sometimes, whole strings can develop, as people also interact with each other, which is great fun to follow.
Varying the content. I blog about local politics, my writing processes, the madness of life in general and the Adventures of the 2 Grumpy Old Sods aka me and my husband.
Using Twitter hashtags. I use these as ways of targeting the blogs at a specific readership. Some tags are obvious : #wwwBlogs are posts written on Wednesday by (largely) women writers.#MondayBlogs opens the door on Mondays. I also use #UKAD, a generic site for all sorts of writers and artists. Or, depending on the content, I may use #histifc for posts about Victorian life, or #amwriting for advice posts.
Hosting fellow writers. Every month I feature a Guest Post which is a chance not only to draw other people to the blog, but also gives a platform to another writer with a new book to publicise. Supporting my friends is a big part of what I believe in as a writer.
Eschewing advertising. There is money to be made from selling advertising space on one’s blog. I don’t do this, as it detracts from the content. Also I feel we are bombarded enough with adverts in everyday life.
Visiting & commenting on other blogs. Essential. Apart from being a polite acknowledgement that someone has taken the time and trouble to comment on mine, it also helps me to become known by the writing/reading community. And there are some great posts out there.
Writing guest posts. A great honour, as well as another opportunity to get out and presence myself somewhere else. Unless absolutely snowed under with life, I never turn down an invitation because who knows who may be reading my words?

If you would like to download a free sample of Diamonds&Dust, A Victorian Murder Mystery, you can do so here. US readers can do so here

24 comments:

  1. All very useful advice, Carol. I agree completely about advertising - though accept that writers who are dependent on words to out food on the table may need to do it. Given what we know about writers' incomes going down, it must be tough for anyone with children and one writerly income to make ends meet. But - as a blog-visitor - they get up my nose!

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    1. It tends to be the American bloggers on the whole..and the culture of promoing etc is far more ''in your face'' over there, in my experience.

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    2. Agree with everything you've said here, CarolStar. I've been tempted to go the ad route, but decided against it when I realised I didn't like it on the blogs I follow myself. I would add to this the importance not just of sharing on Twitter but also on FB as this is where many of my blog readers congregate rather than on Twitter. I also have quite a few readers who are just bloggers and don't do any other social media, so your point about doing the rounds is an important one. If you don't give, you don't get.

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    3. Quite. People pass on ''good''blogs and it all increaces your visibility and presence.

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  2. ...fabulous, concise, and relevant... endorse every word on this one, m’Lady Carol :):)

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  3. I regularly blog about a lot of things and have a lot of hits every day on my blog (zero comments though) but haven't mastered the art of the #twitter hashtag use yet for announcing the posts. I still need help here, Carol, even lthough I've read your Twitter for Fleglings.

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    1. Have left you message on FB, Nancy. x

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  4. Oh, I love reading blogs! They give me the same kind of illicit thrill as discovering and reading someone's diary (only usually with more cake and associated kittens). Never give up blogging, sometimes it can attract and drive more readers towards your books, as long as the posts are chatty and fun, rather than sell sell sell. I like yours, Carol. You talk about cake a lot.

    Oh, and by the way, if you want to drive a phenomenal amount of traffic through your blog, talk about One Direction. Never seen anything like it...

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    1. see, here's the difference between a youngster like you, and an old fart like me: Who are One Direction?

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  5. I can't imagine not having a blog. It's an outlet for thoughts, moans, progress reports and occasionally the odd photo collection. I too have resisted accepting adverts. I hate it when we're forced to look at those sponsored tweets so i certainly wouldn't impose that on my blog visitors. One group of visitors that I often forget about are friends and family who, apparently, read my blog but never comment... until we meet up and I go to tell them something but they already know about it. It never fails to surprise me.

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    1. I know Archie, son-in-law reads it. I tend t forget that it does get checked by local councillors...to see whether I've done an excoriating attack on them.....again, I only find out at council meetings when someone mentions it..hahahaha

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  6. I think your consistency in posting on Saturdays works well at creating a happy expectation in your followers. When I sit down at my computer on Saturday morning, I expect to see you in my in-box. It's like: "Oh, there's Carol. It really is Saturday!"

    Thanks for the tip about hashtags. I promote my blog on Twitter and never thought to use hashtags.

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    1. aww..thanks Carrie..and hashtags are great ..you get to meet a whole new crew!

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  7. I agree, Carol, blogs develop a life of their own, irrespective of the reasons for starting one. Like you, I started to blog (but only last year) because I'd read it was one of the platforms indie writers could develop with the aim of establishing a presence on the web, but have found that having the weekly rhythm of a post to prepare and publish has rewards I hadn't anticipated. Meeting other bloggers, especially those who also write fiction - though I do love a good cup cake recipe - like yourself and many others, has definitely been a bonus for me. Great advice, and a great post.

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  8. Good advice here and thanks for the tips.

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    1. Coming from one of the wittiest bloggers ...high praise. Thanks.

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  9. Hi Carol--
    Great post. I hope you keep blogging. I've heard blogs are dead for about three years now and many blogs are alive and well. Oh, and I LOVE that pink car! Is it yours?
    Victoria--

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    1. Hello and welcome. I do know a couple of writers who have given up. Sadly. And yes, that is Annie-Rose, 1988 Vintage Customized Citroen 2CV. My 4th.

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  10. Hi Carol,
    Thanks for another great post. I've been thinking about blogging for a few months now; after your words of advice I might finally take the plunge...
    Love the new sofa cake header!

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  11. What a super, coherent post Carol. Lovely to hear your distillation of thoughts and advice - useful for those less experienced scatterbrains like me who often lose the wood for the trees ! Thanks, Lisa x

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    1. THanks for this! Never sure whether I've got it sorted - so good to hear I have!

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  12. Blogs falling out of fashion???? Are you kidding? Do you ever click on the 'all' bit on MondayBlogs???

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  13. when I first wrote this..before I adapted it for you, they were. Tallii had given up hers. Tegan ditto and several others...I'd now say the fashion is for ''mini -blogs' like @skinny&single and @Suze81 do. I like this idea..

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