Friday, May 06, 2016

Is Blogging Still Relevant for Authors?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson


Recently, I’ve fielded a flurry of questions asking if blogging is still worthwhile for writers and authors. 

If anything, I believe it’s more important. 

There have been so many changes on social media—with new algorithms, rules, and changes—it has never been more critical for us to have a stable place for our audience to always be able to find us.

That said, there are also more viable options for writers when it comes to blogging choices. Being part of a focused group blog can be one excellent solution for authors who don’t want the responsibility of managing a solo site.

Here are some other things you may not have thought about when it comes to blogging:
1. An unfocused blog is an unread blog. Many writers have the mistaken idea that narrowing the focus of a blog will narrow the audience. Although it seems counterintuitive, the exact opposite is true. By focusing our blogs—with a clear purpose and relevant posts—a larger section of our audience will be able to find us.

People will follow our blogs FIRST because we have
something interesting to say.
2. People will follow our blogs FIRST because we have something interesting to say—not because we’re authors. If you can make writing about writing interesting to your readers, then that’s great. If not, pick another subject matter. Make sure it’s something you enjoy learning/talking about. Otherwise it will quickly become drudgery.

3. Titles and key words MATTER. Gone are the days when we use phone books to find people and businesses. Now everyone uses search engines. And search engines rely on keywords.

Keyword Refresher
A keyword is like a label. It's a short way—although almost always more than one word in length—to state the purpose of your article. Articles can have several keyword groups or only one. I only have one main keyword group for this article XXX. You'll see this keyword in the labels following this post. You'll also see some related keywords, XXX

I use groups of words because the point of the keywords is to direct the searcher to your website. We want our keywords to match—as closely as possible—what someone types or speaks into a search engine search box. People rarely type just one word because it gives too many options.

Our blogs are our online homes.
4. Our blogs are our online homes. Because of that, we’re the ones primarily responsible for making those visiting feel welcome, safe, and comfortable.
  • It’s up to us facility conversation by asking open-ended questions at the end of our posts.
  • If we ask for our readers to be vulnerable with us and each other, we need to demonstrate that level of vulnerability within our posts.
  • Finally, we need to answer the comments left for us. In person, we’d never ask someone a question, then ignore them after they answered. But we frequently do that online.

5. We must make sure it’s easy for our readers to return. This means we need to have a prominent place for them to either sign up for email updates or RSS feed when a new blog is posted. It’s also important for them to be able to connect with us further through social media, so we need to have those buttons in our sidebar as well.

Bottom Line
Blogging is important because we need a way for our audience to find us that doesn’t rely on the whims of social media network. But it doesn’t have to make us miserable. Play around with some options and find one that works best for you.

I’d love to know what is working for you now. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the 
comments section below.


Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including While My Soldier Serves, Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month, and she’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers is a print expansion of her bestselling ebook on social media. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

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3 comments:

Robin Mason said...

hullo Edie! i've worked hard to get my blog on a consistent basis, and now have specific features on certain days! yay me! what confuses me still, though, are tags and keywords—yada yada yada!! i thought i was doing that right with hashtags at the end but i'm just not sure! LOL
oh! and i (finally) got my domain name and hosting for my VERY OWN website!! SQUEEE!!! now to sift through all the widgets and gidgets and gadgets and get it live!!! DOUBLE SQUEEE!!!
always always love and appreciate your posts, thank you so much for sharing, and providing such a treasure trove of good information!

Matthew Graybosch said...

Hi, Edie. I agree with most of this post, except for the emphasis on focus. My interests are wide-ranging, and I feel I'd be doing myself and my readers (all five of them) a disservice if I limited myself to one topic. What do you think?

Matthew Graybosch said...

Hi, Edie. I agree with most of this post, except for the emphasis on focus. My interests are wide-ranging, and I feel I'd be doing myself and my readers (all five of them) a disservice if I limited myself to one topic. What do you think?