Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ten Steps to Blogging Success

Guest post by Molly Greene, @mollygreene

It’s true for nearly every author: Attracting readers to your website is the main reason you blog. After all, your books are your business, and according to a 2012 report by marketing and web analytics specialist HubSpot, businesses that post new blog content even once or twice a month get much more traffic than those that don’t blog at all. Per HubSpot, “an average company will see a 45% growth in traffic when total blog articles increase from 11-20 to 21-50, and a 59% increase when total blog articles reach 100 to 200.”

Blogging gets results. Every post forges another path to your website. So if you’ve wondered how and why to begin – or if you’re stalled somewhere in the process and need guidance, here are the basic steps.

1.       Set up a website. Choose free, free, even inexpensive Squarespace. With a little research into what each platform offers, you can choose the right one for you. If you already have a free site and you’re considering a move to self-hosted, pre-planning will allow for a seamless transition.

2.      Determine topic categories. Who are you writing for? Who is your ideal reader? Choose a handful of topic categories based on the answer. Also, keep in mind that every work of fiction contains plot elements an author can explore on their blog. So pinpoint the themes in your books, determine how they overlap real world topics you are passionate about, and write your posts around this common ground.

3.      Establish a posting schedule. Don’t be overly concerned about frequency at first, simply post as many times a month as you can comfortably handle without going insane. Focus on quality before quantity, and discipline yourself to post according to a pre-determined schedule. Consistency is key.

4.      Write great content. This may be the biggest challenge: The goal is to share good, evergreen content that offers value to your ideal reader. Make them laugh, make them cry, make them think, educate them. Whichever applies, strive to write posts that hit the mark every time.

5.      Interact on social media. One of the most effective methods to draw website traffic is sharing content across social media accounts. Establish, build, and grow a following on pertinent social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. You’ll be tempted to follow and market to authors because they are so supportive, but be sure to seek out readers, too. You want readers. Readers, readers, readers.

6.      Bring traffic to your site. Continue to grow more traffic through consistent sharing and interacting on your social media accounts plus the application of SEO principles, guest posting, optimizing your website, hosting guests, and other methods.

7.      Use a call to action. The primary goal of every author’s website is to sell books, but few accomplish this directly through blog-driven sales. Instead, we rely on the second most important goal for a website, readers who sign up to receive regular updates. A great email list can be the most effective method for an author to actually sell books. Use a really good call to action on your blog to encourage visitors to subscribe.

8.     Repurpose content. Try to find three channels to re-use every word you write. Ideas: rework some of your blog content into ebooks that you can sell or give away in contests or as a subscriber incentive. Rewrite posts and share them on syndication sites. Rewrite the guest posts you share with other bloggers and use them in ebooks and/or on your own site.

9.      Use email to launch products. Use your email list to announce new ebooks and novels as you launch them. Then use your email list to learn more about your readers (polls, surveys) and to remind them about your work in a way that adds value, such as through freebies, contests, giveaways, and whatever creative methods you can think up.

10.  Continue to learn the craft. Never stop educating yourself about blogging best practices, SEO principles and how to implement them, website enhancements, and third party vendors that will help you automate, streamline and improve your blogging experience.

Molly Greene is an author, blogger, and blogging coach with a preference for reading, writing, remodeling, and rural life. Her nonfiction titles include Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand, and the self-awareness guide, Someone Worth Becoming (July 2013). Molly is working on a second novel, Rapunzel; her fiction debut, Mark of the Loon, is available at major online retailers. Meanwhile, she blogs about self-publishing topics and her crazy, ever-changing world at Visit and subscribe! Follow & Friend Molly on TwitterGoodreadsFacebookGoogle+