I started this blog just under a year ago; originally it was set up as a platform to provide updates about my writing. It soon changed a little thanks to the generous support I received from other Indie authors and decided that I wanted to give something back so I started conducting guest author interviews.
Back then I counted myself lucky to receive a few hits a day, now I average about 600. I'm not a raging success yet, but I am pleased with the steady growth of my readership (that means you!). With that in mind I'd like to share some of the lessons I have learned on my journey so far.
The first lesson is to identify what you want to achieve with your blog. Blogging is a great way of connecting with readers, but it isn’t easy, you need to devote a certain amount of time. Having identified what you want to achieve you should then consider how you are going to attain those goals.
The second lesson is that content is king. You should update your blog regularly, but those updates should be of interest to your readers. Keep in mind the goals you have set for your blog, does your post help you along that path?
Creating content is time consuming, but as a writer you should already be used to that :-) Building a following is somewhat trickier. In the same way that books tend not to market themselves, neither do blogs.
So you have a great new post on your blog, now what?
First blast it out to your social media. I’m assuming you have Twitter and Facebook set up, if you not you should look into it. With Facebook join groups that relate to your blog’s subject and post links on them as well as sharing it on your timeline. For tweets they’re a bit more transient, most people’s tweets tick by at a rapid pace, so re-tweeting posts can be a good idea. Remember the time zone differences as well.
Stumbleupon is also a great place to post links to your posts. I saw quite a jump when I first started using Stumbleupon, although it should be noted that these tend to be transient visitors. When adding a link make sure to select the correct category, for example there is a books and a writing category. The more accurate the category the better quality hits you’ll receive.
As well as sending the link out to all your social media get involved in suitable communities. The trick here is to not spread yourself too thinly, you need to be active in those communities for the best benefit. Before posting in any new community make sure to check the rules on what you can post and where to put it.
The communities I’ve become involved in are:
Kindle Users Forum
Goodreads: There are many groups so research carefully, but here’s the best one for UK members (or those trying to break into the UK market)
As I say make sure to look through the boards first so you know what is discussed where. Sometimes it is better to post your actual content into a thread rather than just a link. If people like what they read they find your blog, after all, the link is in your signature right?
I’m giving this a section all of its own as it has proved to be quite a boon. The premise is simple, bloggers organise themselves into tribes. The members of each tribe set up their membership so that they automatically tweet each others new blog posts. It’s easy to set up and requires a few minutes a day to approve which posts you want to tweet about.
You can find out more at triberr.com, but I have found it substantially increased my page hits.
Providing guest posts for other people’s blogs is a good way to gain new readers and working with other blog owners is a fun experience. Until you get to the super blogs, blogging isn’t really competitive, so you only gain by helping each other out.
Respond to Comments
If people take the trouble to post a comment then acknowledge it, at the very least it’s polite, in some cases it can lead to an interesting discussion.
On the same note post on other people’s comments, don’t pimp your links, but add interesting comments. You want to be known as someone who writes something worth reading.
Finally, keep an eye on your stats, these can tell you where you’re getting your traffic from and which posts attract the most attention.
If you have any ideas or thoughts on this topic then feel free to share them in the comments below. And most of all, thanks to everyone for reading!