Friday, November 16, 2012

Flogging your Blog

If Venus could do it, so can you.
Updated 12/22/23

You’ve set up your author’s website (you have, haven’t you?), and you’ve begun a blog. You are happily blogging away, secure in the belief that every time you hit “Publish” your thoughts are winging their way through the blogosphere, reaching millions of people who are hungry for your knowledge, wit and/or wisdom.

The millions are not hungry. If anything, they are overfed. According to NM (that’s Nielson/McKinsey) Incite — a company formed to “discover industry-specific consumer insights and build relevant, differentiated and emotionally engaging brands … with the vision that real-time, authentic consumer expression in social media transforms how marketers build strong brands, create passionate and engaged brand communities, and ultimately achieve superior sales outcomes” (so many buzz words, so little content! I am sure you could write a better sentence than that!) — there were 181 million blogs around the world by 2011. Five years earlier there were only 36 million. Imagine how many there are today. (600 million if you really want to know.)

On second thought, don’t imagine., a statistical news source for technology statistics, reported that there were around 496 million blogs from Tumblr alone as of January 2020. But that’s not nearly as impressive as the number of daily blog posts. (If you really want to get depressed, you can go to Worldometers and watch, in real time, the daily world blog count — even as they are being posted. It’s hypnotic. Go there now.)

Where was I?

If you actually want people to read your blog, then you will have to “drive” them to it, either in your cybercar, or using a cyberwhip (whatever makes you happy). Do the following:

1. Set up your blog as part of your author’s website. Then duplicate your blog on a separate site. The most popular are Blogger and (Note: Blogger's recent "update" has made it almost unbearably glitchy.) Both are free and relatively easy to use. Why duplicate? You may want to expand the scope of your blog beyond your website. Your author website will, of necessity, be about you and your books, but what if you want to blog about something unrelated or tangential? Your standalone blog might end up being more popular than your website, in which case you can use it to drive traffic to your website — and vice versa. (Hint: Creating a subdomain for your blog is another viable option. If you have paid hosting, subdomains are free.)

2. Blog regularly so search engines can find you. It stands to reason that the more you blog, the more traffic you will get. But reason isn’t synonymous with practical — or efficient. If you blog every day, you won’t have time to eat, let alone write anything else. Two or three times a week is enough. And use your imagination. While long, informative posts typically generate the most traffic, brief observations, lists, and even short commentaries on articles that you post a link to (along with a snippet), all generate interest. Some of my most popular posts are humorous. (My daughter says I am “cheeky.” Humph. But take the hint, and be yourself.)

3. Once you have accumulated ten blogs, start registering your blog on blog directories. Register your independent blog, not the one on your website. The automated software that the largest blog directories use cannot detect embedded blogs. Blog directories are not as effective as they used to be, but they can still generate significant back links. Here is an article with a good list of top blog directories:

4. Write guest blogs and repost. Writing posts for blogs that get significantly more traffic than yours is a good way to generate initial traffic. The easiest way to find blogs on your topic is to do a google search on “top ____blogs.” (Google will suggest a year. Choose the most recent.) You will have to investigate which of those blogs accept guest writers. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that some will actually pay you! You can also repost on platforms like Medium. 

5. Facebook. I hesitate to include Facebook because Mark Zuckerberg is on my list of “Underlords of Evil,” but nothing has generated more traffic to my blog than Facebook. The reason Facebook is so effective is because anyone can share your post, which has the effect of amplifying your blog’s reach by a factor of ten. Join Facebook groups on your topic and post in them. And make sure you include a FB share button on your blog.

6. Advertise, advertise, advertise. Whether it's Twitter (#MondayBlogs), or Reddit, or LinkedIn, or Instagram, or Flipboard, post links to your blog posts everywhere you can.

If all these steps sound a lot like how to break into the publishing world (fierce competition, shmoozing, submissions, rejections followed by an overwhelming sense of futility), then, by George, you’ve got it, you’ve really got it! But do not despair. The fabulous thing about the Great Equalizer (aka the Internet) is that, for the time being, it is a democracy. You get to run your own campaign, and the masses get to vote for you.

Helpful articles:

1 comment:

  1. Hey Erica, Love the post, as usual! I see that you've published a 'token' for Technorati. If you manage to get past their computer which, in my case, likes nothing better than to reject me, over and over, let me know what the secret is. I wrote to the Technorati support people but I have not merited an answer. Presumably, they feel that, even if I could read it, their message would be beyond my comprehension.....A.J.


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