Blogging is only a small part of building a strong online presence, but it is very important, particularly for aspiring new writers. Even the famous authors like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and John Green to name a few, all of them have excellent online presences. It’s no secret, and it’s proving to be very effective, authors are embracing the online world and communicating with their fans more now than ever. Sadly, the hermit lifestyle some writers aspire for is no longer realistic.
If you are writing a book or want to write a book then blogging and writing go hand in hand. New writers should be reading others books as much as possible. You will pick up techniques, styles and ideas from other authors, your grammar and vocabulary will improve too. You will also realise what reads well and what doesn’t. So since you’re reading books anyways, why not write a blog about them?
There are a number of book blogs out there, popular ones like The Indie View and The Write Practice, and some great ones I have come across like annathebibliophile and bibliopearl. There are lots of book related and writing blogs out there, so I recommend that you go and have a look at them.
Still interested in starting a blog?
Well, first things first you need some content. Now this can be the tricky part, figuring out what to write about. You will also need to think about how you can make your blog unique. You can write about pretty much anything, but it is better to write about something you’re passionate about. Tavi Gevinson writes a popular fashion blog at the Style Rookie and Molly Yeh writes a food blog at mynameisyeh. You can write blogs about sport, travel, beauty, education, history, politics, weddings, photography, art, everything and anything. So have a look around and think about what you’re really interested in, and what other people may find interesting too.
The next thing you need is a blogging platform, and you need to decide whether or not your blog will be hosted or self-hosted.
Hosted means a company manages the entire blog for you and all you need to do is sign up.
Self-hosted means you will probably have to rent a server from a company, then you will need to download and install some blogging software (this will probably have some cost attached to it). Self-hosting is more technical and I am definitely not an expert here!
There are plenty of blogging platforms to choose from and most of them are free…
blogger.com is a free weblog publishing tool from google, and like most platforms, you can share text, photos and videos. It is hosted so all you need to do is sign up. It will ask you for your google+ account details, so if you don’t have one of those you need to sign up for one. However, you can choose whether you want to use your google+ details or if you would like to create a new profile at the next stage. It looks pretty simple when you get to the main page (I tried to have a go on it), and there are lots of help buttons to help you find you way.
Google+, as I mentioned before is your google+ account, you get a page regardless and even though it is simple, it seems nicer and more engaging than blogger.com. It is also hosted and free.
Tumblr.com is a free micro-blogging platform. You can blog and do pretty much whatever you want on it (within reason of course). It is hosted so you just need to sign up with an email address, you can use your google+ details here. Tumblr promotes itself as being easy to use, and it is quite colourful and usually full or pictures. I currently use my Tumblr as a mood board for my book (Anomaly, to be released Jan 28th 2016), so people can get a general idea of the theme and mood for my story.
WordPress.com is this free blogging platform that I’m currently using right now. It comes in two forms, wordpress.org is the self-hosted variety, where you need a server, then you can install wordpress to your computer. WordPress.com is the hosted variety which means you just need to sign up with an email address. WordPress does take some getting used to, and it is a little bit complicated to start with. However, it is very popular and can be tailored easily to your preferences. My advice is to play around with it until you learn all of it’s functions.
There’s also squarespace, posthaven, ghost and lots of other blogging platforms out there. Though some of them can create beautiful blogs not all of them are free or hosted for you, so please read all the small print and do your research before you sign up to anything.
Once you have decided on the content and a blogging platform which suits you, you will need a good schedule and social media links (like twitter and facebook). If you can’t promote your blog then no one will know about it, and you’re unlikely to get many views. A schedule is important because your followers will want to see fairly regular posts and they will also want to know that you’re active online.
I currently share my thoughts, write book reviews, word blogs and writing advice on my blog. There are a lot of bloggers out there so you need to think carefully about what you want to write. Don’t be disheartened, there may be a lot of us but we’re all a big community really. When writing your blog, my advice is to be kind, polite and honest, and if you can’t, then you’re probably better off not writing that particular blog at all. Some of you may be lucky enough to be able to afford a marketing company to help manage your social media and marketing, though these can be very helpful they can also be costly, so please do your research here too. I recommend contacting The Media Galaxy, if you’re interested in having help with your online marketing.
So to conclude this blog about blogging, don’t forget you need…
- good and unique content
- a blogging platform which suits you
- a good schedule
- and social media links to link to your blog
Anyone who writes book blogs or anything writing related on wordpress, google+, tumblr, twitter, or facebook, leave your details and links below with a friendly message. I shall follow/like and retweet for you, so please be kind and do the same for me.
Above all else, make sure you have fun with your blogging. Blogging shouldn’t feel like a chore it should feel more like a natural extension of your writing abilities. Write with passion and enjoy it! Good luck! – C.L.
Note from the author: I’m not an expert in blogging or qualified, all of my words and thoughts have come from my own experiences and a lot of reading. I would recommend that you do your own research with regards to blogging, but I hope my words helped you a little bit anyways. Thanks for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it and have a great day!