From author Anne R. Allen:
If you haven’t tried it yet, you’ll find that creating a blog isn’t as hard as you may think.
A lot of blogging advice is aimed at professional bloggers who are looking to make money from the blog itself. They want things slick, flashy, and monetized.
But that’s probably not what you want as an author. You want a personal, inviting place where people can visit and get to know you—a home rather than a storefront.
I had to learn blogging by trial and error—lots of error. Tech people always assume everybody knows the basics, which is why the basics are the hardest part to figure out if you’re brand new to all this.
Here’s the stuff I wish somebody had told me when I was starting out…
20 Steps To Becoming a Blogger
1) Read Blogs
If you don’t do it yet, spend a couple of weeks reading a bunch of writing and publishing blogs before you jump in and create your own. See what you like and don’t like.
Blogs written by agents, authors and other industry professionals are great places to educate yourself. They’re like a visit to a writers’ conference available free any day of the week. And like writers’ conferences, they’re also good places to network with other writers at all stages of their careers—people who can help your own career in dozens of ways.
For suggestions of blogs to visit, see my post “What Should A Novelist Blog About?” I also highly recommend Molly Greene, Jami Gold and Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. Their blogs are all full of great information that will be helpful to you whether you plan to self-publish or go the traditional route.
Also, many writer-bloggers have a “blogroll” in their sidebar with a list of other great writing blogs. Start clicking around. If you like what somebody says, click on their name in the comments and you’ll probably get their profile and you can go visit their blog.
While you’re reading, think of things you might like to say in your own blog. Start jotting down ideas for posts.
You’ll want to have several pieces ready to go by the time you launch your own blog.
For non-bloggers who are getting blogposts in their email but may not know how to read an actual blog or see the comments, you can click through the email to the blog by clicking on the header (for our subscribers, it’s the title in blue at the top of the email.) That will take you to this blog in its native habitat at blogspot.com.
The advantage of clicking through is that you can read the comments (just click on the word “comments” at the bottom of the post. It will usually say “28 Comments” or whatever the number is.)
For most of you reading right now, that may sound too beginnerish to mention, but we were all beginners once. I remember when I finally figured out how to comment on a blog. It felt like such a triumph. And I’d been reading them for at least six months. Online sites never come with a manual.
Blog comments have a wealth of information. Some of our commenters know much more than we do! And if you leave a comment yourself, that will help you raise your profile and increase name recognition.
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3) Comment and interact with other commenters on high profile blogs
You only have to say a few words of agreement (or disagreement, if phrased politely), or offer your own experience about the topic.
Commenting on high traffic blogs is the quickest way to get into search engines. Most of my early mentions on Google came from my comments on other people’s blogs.
A comment right here can put your name in front of 5,000 people in a week. It could take many months to reach that many people with a new blog.
Discussions on big blogs can also lead to discussions on your own. Find yourself making a long comment? That’s a future blogpost. When you post the comment, you can invite people to discuss the topic further on your own blog.
Support somebody’s argument on a high-profile blog and you have a blogfriend. That’s how I got my first followers.
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7) Prepare a bio for your “About Me” page.
This is the most important part of your blog. Again, I’m amazed at how many writers don’t have one. It’s why you’re here, remember?
Make it intriguing and funny without giving TMI. You can add some more pics—maybe of your dog or your funky car. Keep family out unless it’s a family or parenting blog. Pseudonyms for kids are a smart idea for protecting their privacy. You can learn more in my post on How to Write an Author Bio.
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17) Keep to a schedule.
Decide how often you want to blog—I suggest once a week to start—then do it. Preferably on the same day each week. Most blog gurus will tell you to blog more often, but this is a pretty highly rated blog and I have never blogged more than twice in one week.
I like to do what some people call “slow blogging”. It’s like the slow food movement. Quality over quantity.
Joining the Slow Blog movement is simple. Start a blog and announce you’re planning to post on alternate Tuesdays, or every full moon, or whenever. Or if you already have a blog, next time you miss a few days, tell yourself you didn’t FAIL to blog; you SUCCEEDED in joining the Slow Bloggers. All you have to do is skip those boring apologies, and you’re in.
Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog
Here’s a link to Anne R. Allen’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.