Make the Blog Work

Creating a blog and making it work is a whole field of study in itself. Deciding on the particular host is the easy part. I went with WordPress, which is well known, however, there are a great many free hosting sites out there from Bluehost to Blogger. Each host offers a number of options, some of which may tip into the cost-per-month category rather than free. Read the options, compare costs, and read the reviews. You will want to know you have support, whether yours will be a free blog or otherwise.

After the publication of the first print book, you will probably be steered into boatloads of information for getting your book out there and seems one of the first is the nod to social media. It has become the proverbial necessary evil unless you already have a well-known name. Sure, you have your Facebook page; possibly your book fan page. You no doubt have Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and are a member of Goodreads. You’ve set up your author pages on Amazon and Goodreads. And, if you don’t have a dedicated website to handle the information on your novel, then you may have decided on a simple blog. Simple. Blog. Right!

I’d started a blog some time ago, but it was only recently that I noted it was time to step it up and make the blog work! FIRST–a change of theme!

Then, that started a whole passel (technical term) of changes:

1) Classes–there are a lot of classes–many free. Depending on your selection of blog host, check out their available classes. They teach many little touches you may not have found on your own. My host offers a class they call “101″. Free.

2) There are inexpensive classes that can be found on the web, especially through the many writers sites.

3) Reach out and touch someone–add to your web log. Spend some time in researching those who would be interested in your content and get to know their blog; read, comment, and follow. When you enter your blog site, look for the “Reader” or equivalent in the top left hand corner. The drop down menu from that link includes options to manage your followed sites as well as discover new or recommended sites. A useful tool!

Get Back to the Basics

Anyway, the basics: My blog host has strong ideas on creating a vibrant and forceful “About Me” page. First, get connected with other like-minded bloggers. In addition, they include introductions to a number of elementary prompts to give your blog an edge, such as using your widgets in your sidebar to best advantage. Play with colors and themes! AND add logos, featured pictures, and banners.

Now the Surprise

Among the social media suggestions I’ve mentioned before: Did you realize that Pinterest is #4 in the social media race and gaining fast? There is little you can’t research and find. I recently read that the site garners over 100 million monthly active users. That’s 100 million (with an M). Can you get a piece of the pie or buried in it? Ergo the constant education… How to generate the “buzz.”

There is a constant barrage of hints on strengthening the blog structure, making it more appealing, adding interest, adding color, adding nauseum. My gosh! Who knew there was so much potential–so little tapped! So far, Blogging 101 has been well worth the time and effort. As with an earlier “Author Blog Challenge,” exercises are meant to introduce new facets of the program and really get you setting a pattern and making the promise to stick to it.

Another important aspect of working the blog is the creation of a mailing list. Discover how to create an email subscription list. Most blog hosts offer the ability as well as the instructions. Build the email list to keep your interested customers linked and alert them to changes in your manuscripts and new publication releases. It’s a win-win!

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