Writing Tip: Building a Blog Base Before You Publish

Status Update

I promised a monthly update and sharing of my experiences as I go through this journey to Indie Publish my Fox Walker novels.

Book Heart PagesLast month was a whirlwind of tasks, including setting up my fictitious business name for my publishing company, purchasing the ISBN numbers for my books, sending in the requested info to the cover designer, and uploading the manuscript for formatting. Read the details here: Indie Publishing – Steadily Striding Onward

This month has been more of a waiting game, as the designer is finishing up the back cover design, while I wait for the page count from the formatters, so the designer can complete the book spine. Note: designers need the page count and paper thickness in order to calculate the thickness needed for the book spine, so they can design it correctly.

I took this slight break in chores to start working on my marketing plan for the book release, such as setting up book signings, designing and printing materials such as bookmarks—last minute items that can’t really be done too far in advance.

But if you are thinking that starting a marketing plan in August when the book is scheduled to release in October seems a bit too late, you would be correct.

I started planning for this book release two years ago.

I began by creating a personal website. I design and create websites as my business, so even though I have a business website I now needed one for me, the writer. I needed a home for the future books and wanted to start building a following right then.

But I hadn’t published a book yet. What would I put on the website?

This is the question most writers ask when told they need to have a website before their book comes out. It’s a big question deserving your most attention. The biggest mistake writers make is thinking the website and blog should be about writing. In the future, you want readers to find your book, not just other writers. You’re limiting your audience doing this!

So I put a lot of thought into this step. I wanted a site that would be true to who I am as a person and also appeal to people who might enjoy my novels, once they are published. I decided to design the site based on my love of nature and my personal goal of being as self-reliant as possible. The biggest reason I went with this decision is that I wanted a topic to blog about that I would never tire of doing the research for, or writing about it. It works because it’s my life-style, my authentic self, and it also fits the style of writing I do. My main characters are quite self-reliant, or become that way during their character arc.

Think about this for yourself. What are you passionate about? Do you have a hobby? I bet it correlates to something in your books. Would readers find it informative, or intriguing? The most important aspect is to be true to who you are and pick a topic you’ll not grow tired of writing about!

I started blogging every week.

I know we’ve all been told that we have to blog daily to be effective. Maybe that worked in the past, before we all became overwhelmed with social media and technology. Maybe it still works for some today. But I had to look at my own personal experience on this one. Like most of you, I don’t have time to read someone’s blog post everyday. I’ve noticed that once a week works for me. So I no longer follow people blogging daily. But I do have one blogger I follow who sends out a weekly post that includes links to all her daily posts, so I can pick and choose which ones interest me. That works as well.

So I decided to blog once a week. It was a schedule I could maintain (yes, it was—still is—a challenge at times!) and I found that it kept the activity level consistently high on my website. It was the perfect balance for me. Which brings us to…

Why I blog. And why you should consider it, too.

Blog CollageNumber One Reason: Simply having a blog on your website and publishing new material on a regular basis helps drive 55% more traffic to your website than a website without a blog—even if no one reads it!

Why? Because the search engines love seeing new content…and consistently posted blogs put new content on your website on a regular basis like nothing else does! This helps build Page Status on the browsers, as well. You need a high Page Status so that your blog or website shows up on that all-important first page whenever someone does an online search that relates to you or one of your blog post topics.

Every single day people find my website while doing a search for a topic that just happens to match up with one of my blog posts. Think of that!

Reason Number Two: I started blogging to build my audience and readership before I had books available. I now have a group of readers who enjoy my blog posts and follow them regularly. Think maybe some of these people might purchase my novels when they are published?

Sharing the url link to your blog page on Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, and setting it for Public, gets your blog out to a bigger audience of friends of your friends—people who may not have known about you otherwise. And when they click on the link to read the post, guess where it takes them? Back to your website–where your book will eventually be featured!

GreatBlogContentReason Number Three: Blog posts are “out there” forever! Some of my oldest blog posts still come up weekly in people’s searches and get clicked on. With this in mind, I write 90% of my blogs in way that makes them viable for years to come. In other words, they are timeless. This allows me to re-purpose my blog posts via Twitter on a daily basis. I keep building the readership for these blog posts over time. And the more people I can consistently drive to my website, the bigger chance some of them might actually read about my novels, once they are featured on my website.

Reason Number Four: I’m a writer. It’s what I do. Blogging allowed me to find my own voice. Not the author who writes fiction, short stories, or haiku poetry—just me. It was fun and rewarding to discover who I am as a writer when I’m not writing fiction. It has allowed me to ‘color outside the lines’ in a different arena. And I’ve learned a lot about writing headlines and formatting my copy so that it can be quickly skimmed. These are things that may help me with my book sales as well. Who knows? And shouldn’t we writers always strive to grow and learn new skills?

I understand that some of you are going to say that Blogging isn’t for you. Fine. I simply want you to fully understand the opportunity you are passing up. It’s one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website that I know of—without paying for expensive ads.

 

What About You? Do you Blog? Will You Consider it?

8 Comments

  1. suadcampbell

    Interesting blog about blogs, Indy! I’m still navigating the murky blogosphere, don’t know what I’m doing except that, like you, I’m writing what I want. What interests me. Not that it interests anyone else:) Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights.

    Reply
    • indy

      Suad, I think that’s the most important element of a blog—sharing things you are passionate about, or enjoy, or have knowledge to share. That and letting the reader see your personality – getting to know you, the writer. You do that well! Write on!

      Reply
  2. Dustin Amodeo

    It was so nice to find this article today. As a former web developer and on-again/off-again writer I can’t tell you how many times I have started blogs as an outlet for my writing only to spend more time on the web development part and not enough on the writing part. I have been writing quite regularly for the last few months and only in the last week decided to set up another blog. The difference this time is that I used a one-click install for the WordPress, activated a simple, yet pleasing, theme, and got back to writing.

    Reading this reminds me of the correct purpose of the blog and has made me more comfortable with the direction I want to go with it. Great post and great advice!

    -Dustin Amodeo

    Reply
    • indy

      Hi Dustin! So nice to “meet” you! Thank you for stopping by and I’m so glad you found the article helpful. I agree about the challenge of finding that balance between the web development, social media and finding time to write. It’s a daily struggle right now for me as I build websites as my “day job” and I need to update my own website because my first novel is coming out in October. Yikes! Sounds like you’ve found a good balance for now and I wish you the best going forward! I hope you will keep in touch!

      Reply
  3. Jill G. Hall

    I started my blog two years before my novel came out and I’m sure glad I did! I had an email list ready to celebrate with, read updates about my book launch and inspirations for writing the book. Also I didn’t have to learn how to do a blog at the same time I was learning how to market and speak at events!

    Reply
    • indy

      That was a smart move, Jill! And I agree, why make it even more stressful learning so much all at once! Good Job!

      Reply
  4. Lacey Gordon

    I have thought about blogging again but don’t know where to start. Do I make a website and blog there? Do I blog elsewhere on the Internet? How do I even go about making a website? A lot of things to think about but I do agree blogs would be a good route to take. Great article, Indy.

    Reply
    • indy

      Thanks, Lacey! Those are all good questions and perhaps I should do a blog on the topic as it would take a longer answer than I can do here. But the short of it is there are ways to setup a blog, without doing the entire website at the beginning, on CMS (Content Management Systems) such as WordPress. Then as you blog and build your audience you can add pages to the blog and eventually create a full website. That might be a good place to start. I personally prefer using WordPress to create Blogs/Websites for my clients (that’s my business) because it’s easy for me to train clients how to manage the website themselves, if they want to, so I’m biased. But it is the most used and popular CMS out there right now.

      Reply

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