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A blog is a tool authors can leverage to gain attention. They draw traffic to author websites, spread an author’s name, and can even be used to increase book sales. 

Nowadays, everyone has a blog. But, despite how easy it is to format a blog and post it to the web, making one isn’t that simple. Many people start one thinking it is, only to lose steam a week or two later. It requires dedication and planning. 

Whether you’re looking to know more or have already decided you will start your own, let’s look at what goes into creating and maintaining a blog.

Why Start an Author Blog?

A blog acts as a living portfolio of your work. It is a place where you can consistently practice your writing skills and show them off to others. Regular posts give your clients, publishers, and literary agents a place to easily access your work. They also enable you to build a community around your writing – where you interact with readers, receive feedback, and network with other authors, bloggers, and professionals. A loyal community will grow your readership base by spreading the word to others.

When it comes to personal and professional branding, a blog can help you establish your writing style and voice. This allows readers to recognize your work and connect with it. From there, you can use it to market and promote your writing. Sharing your blog posts on social media and other platforms increases your visibility and reach. It’s a place to highlight your achievements, share updates about your WIPs, and engage with your target audience.

What goes into a blog?

Writing online is an entirely different medium from creative fiction or writing for print. In order to understand how it works and what it requires of you, you should dedicate an appropriate number of hours to experimenting and learning about it. What does this mean? Don’t quit your day job to build a blog. But don’t spend one hour a week and say you’re done, either. 

When considering what to blog about, first tackle research and planning. Ask questions like:

These give you an idea of the scope of your blog and how much time and effort you should set aside for it. Blog posts should follow a clear theme, which are reflected in their titles. The structure of each post should remain relatively similar, as well. Word count should be within range of each other – most successful blog posts are 1,000 – 2,000 words – and the format should be readable and easy to navigate. Improve scannability with subheadings, paragraph breaks, lists, and bold lead-ins. Add at least one image per post to enhance visual appeal.

A new post should be added following a consistent frequency – use a content calendar to decide when you will write and when you will post. For new blogs, more volume creates more traction. Posting 2-4 articles per week can increase the chances of someone finding your blog and sharing it.

Content Ideas

Blogging is a long-term game. You need to be able to come up with new ideas to talk about on a regular basis, and that can lead to burnout if you’re not passionate about your topic. If you have to ask yourself or think hard about what to write about, it may not be the right time for you to start blogging. However, inspiration can hit at any time, so let’s look at what kind of content you could post:

There are different types of blogs that post specific content, such as:

Most blogs have foundational or cornerstone content: content that will attract new readers at a regular rate. These can be downloadable files or posts that offer guides, tutorials, insider content, or important FAQs about a topic. They are often at the forefront of your marketing strategy and can be found through search engines or referred to in other blogs.

Know your audience

Whatever topic or theme you choose for your blog, make sure you know your audience. Answer these questions:

Platforms: Blog HQ

Ideally, your blog should be on your author website so that everything is in one place. However, if you don’t have an author website yet, blogs can be added to a number of platforms. Some popular ones include:

Make sure that your template is user-friendly and that the theme matches your brand and theme. Include interactive elements like sharing buttons and category searches for your posts.  

And, if you add in comment threads, create a policy beforehand about how you will engage with readers. You want to show consistent action and responses, whether you respond to every comment and question or if you delete comments with inappropriate behaviors.

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If you’re planning to start a blog soon, now is the time to begin making connections. Read other blogs, leave comments, and share them. Act as a guest on another blog. The more you spread your online presence, the more attention you will gain for your blog, whenever you decide to launch it.

With the right amount of planning and dedication, you can create a blog tailored to your needs and those of your readers. Remember that blogging is not just a professional marketing tool, but also a home for your work and a space to build community.