From Guest Blogger Donald Fomby | What is the purpose of your writer's blog or author website?
Hopefully, it is to craft amazing posts that people want to come and read and share with others. And you may indeed be crafting those great reads – articles, self-improvement, inspiring topics, and letting readers get to know you.
But, unlike the famous statement in the movie Field of Dreams, “Build it and they will come,” this is not true for blogs. You have to market your blog just as much as your market your book/services. While this post is directed at bloggers, there's a ton of good advice for writer websites too!
Marketing a blog has many benefits:
- It’s not expensive to do. There are free blogging platforms, or, ideally, you can take a self-hosted option (through WordPress.org, for example), and have a customized blog that really shines.
- Blogs are simple to use. If you know the basics of Microsoft Word or Google Docs, know how to copy and paste, upload, and drag and drop, you will have no problem maintaining a blog.
- A blog can improve your SEO. If you incorporate the right keyword phrases, use an SEO helper like Yoast, and regularly post new content, Google bots will find you. In fact, a lot of entrepreneurs maintain a blog specifically for SEO purposes, and nothing else.
- Blogging lets you be the expert. You can become the “go-to” person when your target audiences need answers and solutions.
- You can build relationships and trust, by adding conversation capabilities and encouraging your readers to comment and discuss with one another and you.
- As your blog becomes popular, you can include paid ads, and engage in market affiliation – a nice source of side income.
But…there are of course drawbacks:
- You do need to come up with topic ideas on a regular basis. This is probably the biggest challenge that bloggers face, although there are some online tools to give you topic suggestions.
- Blogging takes time. To craft great posts, with good visuals, is a time-consuming effort, unless you are lucky enough to have the money to hire the creative person to do it for you.
- If you have a multilingual site, and you are not fluent in your target language(s), then you will need to look for the best translation companies who can get the job done quickly and expertly.
- It requires patience. Growing a blog audience takes time and marketing. Results are not seen overnight.
The Nitty-Gritty of a successful blog or website
The goal of your blog or author website is, ultimately, to bring in customers. To do this, of course, you have to get a steady and increasing stream of visitors. Here are some tips that will help you get this:
- Use your social media platforms to advertise your blog. One of the best things to do, once you have created an amazing post, is to put some “teasers” out there to draw in readers. Use your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages to “advertise” your content.
- Be certain that you know your target audience and where they hang out. Using social media is a great marketing tool, but you need to know where your targets are, what time of the day they are most often there, and maybe change the social media platforms you are currently using to match your target demographic. Your goal is to ensure that your target audience finds you.
- Be original. Unless you can offer readers something original, you will not expand your readership. While you can find topics that are relevant, just re-purposing the blogs that others write will not “cut it.” You need a different slant – something new that will entice your targets to click on over. This is best achieved by those “teasers” mentioned above.
- Be a Resource. You may not have all of the answers to the solutions your readers need. But you can point them in the right direction, by adding links to what they are looking for. They will come to know you as a trusted resource, and that’s important.
- Make it easy for readers to sign up for your email or RSS feeds. Add a chicklet on your sidebar so that readers can load your posts into their RSS readers. Offer a one-click opportunity to subscribe to our post emails; provide links to mobile feeds. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for readers to access your posts, at their convenience and on their terms.
- Be a little controversial. Best to avoid politics and religion, but there may be news items or other topics that relate to your niche about which people may have different opinions. Seek these out – getting a good discussion going “ropes” people in. Maybe create a survey or a poll to get opinions.
- Guest blog as much as you can. This is a great way to link back to posts on your blog, and Google likes it too. Submit your best pieces to related blogs that have a good reputation. And be patient. Your first submissions may not be approved. Just keep at it, and work on highly original content.
- Create engaging profiles on your social media pages. Your business profile for Facebook can be a bit quirky and fun; your profile for LinkedIn must be more professional.
- Teach when you can. Perhaps you have an online nursery and market plants and gardening supplies. Or you may have a pet supply business. You have a lot to teach your target audience about all things related. For example, did you know that there is now a flu shot for dogs? Whet the appetites of your readers on social media about this topic – they will be interested in this new development and will want to read about it.
- Use longtail keywords. The broader, more generic your keyword is, the less effective it is. If you have chosen something like “perennials,” you are not going to get much “play.” Be more specific with a longer phrase – “flowering perennials for sunny areas” will work much better. Your audience will be much happier too. They won’t be reading content they don’t really want. and that phrase will put you up at the top of searchers who are looking for that specific information.
- Really study SEO. There is so much to learn about optimizing your blog. You need to conduct research on the best keywords to use – there are tools that you can use to find those that have been most popular very recently. Use Google’s keyword generator, for example, and get those in your title, your subtitles and in the content. Just don’t stuff. Search engine algorithms change frequently. Do what you can to stay up on them and fashion your blog and your posts accordingly.
These 11 tips are not really innovative, and there is nothing really complicated about any of them. You can use them as a checklist of a sort, to make sure you are doing all that you can to market that blog.
About the Author
At a relatively young age, Donald Fomby has already amassed impressive experience as a freelance writer, which is currently a valued member of the writing team at PickWriters.com.
You can follow him on twitter: https://twitter.com/don_fom