Have you got a blog? Ever thought about setting one up? Today, I am pleased to present writer and blogger Katie Anderson to shed some light on this topic.
What has Blogging Done for Writers?
When I started my first blog, I was thirteen and desperate to connect with other word-loving teenagers. I logged on to a free service, set up a pen name and started sharing. More than a decade later, and I haven’t stopped. Blogging gives me the opportunity to communicate with other writers, get feedback on my work, and share my frustrations and successes.
Writing may be a solitary pursuit, but connection and conversation are very important parts of the creative process. Blogging gives us a chance to step away from our works-in-progress and check in with what other people are doing. Reading the blogs of other writers, commenting on those blogs and receiving comments on your own can be inspiring and motivating.
Of course, blogging isn’t all about community and friendship. It’s also about sales. The industry is changing, and it’s becoming de rigeuer for writers to build their own online platform in order to connect with readers and, ultimately, sell books. A blog is the perfect hub for this platform, and gives you the freedom to share your content in a way that Twitter and Facebook don’t.
There’s nothing wrong with starting a blog with the intention to build your profile. But I will say this: if it’s the only reason you want to blog, rethink! Online success doesn’t come easily, and it can take years to build a big enough following to impact your bank balance. It’s important to go into blogging with a lot of passion and commitment, as well as realistic expectations.
My Tips for Beginners
One: Start with a free service
When you’re starting out, don’t worry about spending money on hosting, custom domain names or templates. WordPress and Blogger are both great starting points, and both allow you to create an attractive blog for free. You may want to invest a bit of cash further down the line, but wait to see if blogging is right for you, first.
Two: Keep things consistent
Consistency is a trait shared by the vast majority of successful bloggers. Unfortunately, you’re not going to build a following online by blogging once every three months. Decide on a schedule (once a week is a strong starting point) and make sure you stick to it!
Three: Get involved in the community
Connecting with other bloggers is really important. For every hour you spend working on your own blog, I’d suggest spending another hour reading the blogs of other writers, commenting, and chatting on Twitter. This is important as it lets other bloggers know you exist! It’s also a great way to network, build relationships and gather inspiration.
Four: Break up your words
This may sound like a funny thing for a writer to say. Isn’t it all about the words? Well, not online it isn’t. It’s been proved that when people read on a screen their reading age is significantly lower than when they read print. Break up your words with pictures and headings, and aim to keep posts to 500-750 words max.
Five: Be conscious of time
Running a successful blog takes time and energy. Because of this, If you want to have time to work on other writing projects, you’ll need to set parameters. A strict (but achievable) schedule can help to separate blogging time from writing time.
There’s no doubt that blogging has done brilliant things for writers. It’s made it easier than ever to build relationships with readers. It means that we can discuss our successes and failures with people who understand them. It helps us to find out about events and opportunities, and for those events and opportunities to find us.
And if it helps to sell books, too? Well, that’s a bonus.
Katie Anderson lives in Manchester. She recently completed Manchester University’s Creative Writing MA program, and is working on a novel about a failed pianist. For a living she writes copy about everything from holidays to finance. Oh, and she’s also getting married this month!
Katie currently blogs here: http://www.