We all know that whether you’re traditionally published or going D.I.Y., marketing your book is mostly on you, the author—and creating a solid web presence is one of the best ways to do just that. But how can you make the most of your online persona?
Many say that the best place to start is with an author website, but with the rise of user-friendly website builders like WordPress, new writers often find that building a site from scratch is the easy part. It gets tricky when it comes time to start actually promoting the website—which is an ongoing necessity. After all, what good is your site if no one sees it?
You can market your author website on Facebook and Twitter, put it on your business card, and share it in writing groups, but when people ask me for the best way to get people interested in what they have to say, I have a simple answer: Start a blog!
What are the benefits of including a blog on my site?
The best (and really the only) reason to include a blog on your author site is to increase the number of people who visit your site, so you can sell more books.
Readers will find your articles either via search engine or on a social media site, click on it, read it, and—if you’re lucky—click through to another page on your site, like your portfolio of books or even your “About Me” page. The more time they spend on your website, the better, because even if they don’t buy right then and there, they might recognize your name next time they’re scrolling through Amazon looking for a new book to buy (and that’s a good thing).
But how exactly do these people get to my blog?
I get it. You’re already having trouble getting people to your author site—why add more pages to a site no one is seeing? But it’s much easier to get people to click on a blog post than a random author’s homepage.
This is because people want to read things that do one of two things: entertain them or inform them. You don’t turn on the TV to watch the commercials, do you?
You can use your blog to answer questions about writing, your novel, or books in general, or even share snippets of your work-in-progress. And if you can successfully hook your readers, they’ll head to the other pages of your site, like you want them to.
But first—you have to get them to your site, which is where your blog comes in.
As an author, you’re probably already working on solidifying your social media presence. (If not, this post will help you!) Now it’s time to use your profiles to your advantage.
Share your blog posts on social media with your followers first. Odds are, many of them will be interested in what you have to say! And if you share their posts alongside your own, they’ll be more likely to share your blog with their own followers (bonus!). You can also share them with your writing and reading friends in forums and groups.
My best advice is to pick a social media platform that you’re comfortable with and do your best to connect with people and share content.
Of course, creating social media-friendly graphics is a must if you want to do this. For that, I recommend Canva, an online design software that you can use commercially for free!
You’ll also want to try to make your blog posts search engine-friendly. The simplest way to do this is to simply use keywords throughout the article that you think your target audience would search for. Then, if they search that term on Google or Bing, you’re more likely to pop up higher on the list!
Want more tips for creating the perfect blog? Check out this Pinterest board, full of advice!
Okay, I’m sold. But how do I start my blog?
Most platforms for website building—like Squarespace and Wix—offer the option to add a blog to your site, and whatever platform you’re using, there are tons of tutorials available online to help you do this. Once you’ve established how to get posts up, it’s time to get to writing!
It’s important to keep in mind that you want to be constantly pushing out fresh, quality content to your readers. You don’t have to post every day or even every week, but if you go months without an update, your readers may lose interest.
How do I figure out what to write about?
It’s your blog. You can write about whatever you want.
Recount your struggles as you work through your first, or second, or third draft of your manuscript. Share how you managed to write 10,000 words this month on top of being a stay-at-home mom. Talk about how you overcame the writer’s block that plagued you when you were halfway through your novel. Review a book you’ve read lately. All of these things will be valuable to your readership.
Remember that different blog posts attract different readers, so make sure when you’re deciding what to post that you consider each individual article’s audience. For instance, a book review post might attract avid readers who could be willing to buy your book! On the other hand, an article about how to write your author bio will probably only attract other writers, who may or may not be interested in buying your book. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and post a variety of articles that appeal to various audiences!
But won’t all of this take away from my writing time?
The short answer is yes, it will. And that’s where so many artists find themselves struggling.
For many writers, the dream is just to write. You want to create stories and tell them to the world. But as fun as that sounds, it’s not the way to make a living as an author.
Being a full-time author is not just about the writing. It’s also about selling the books, which means you’ll spend a lot of time marketing—an author website (with a blog) is just one way to do that.
The right balance between writing and running your author business is really up to you—but remember, you can’t write full-time if you don’t sell full-time, as well.
I hope this article was useful to you as you consider adding a blog to your author website. Make sure to share your site in the comments below so we can all take a look!