An author website without a blog is like a person without a face. Just picture it: no pretty eyes, no cheeky smile. Just… skin.
An author website with a bad blog, however, is even worse. The face might be back, but damn, it ain’t pretty.
Annie Mole via Compfight
Fortunately, in the world of blogging, creating your face and maintaining a ‘good author blog’ is a rather simple thing to do. Blogging gives you the opportunity to share useful content with readers, engage with audiences, and spurt whatever miscellaneous crap comes into your head on a regular basis. Ideally, there will be less of the latter, and more of the good stuff, but the fact stands: blogging is an invaluable way of constructing your identity. Fancy coming across as a self-obsessed ego maniac? No thanks, but you’re more than welcome to!
Here are some key rules I’ve encountered in my research, and through my own personal trial and error:
You NEED regularity if you are going to run a blog, or it ends up looking stale and a little ‘tacked on’. If you can’t promise regularity, then don’t bother with a blog. I have settled into a nice routine of three posts during the week, as it gives me a break between weekdays, as well as giving readers a chance to really take things in before the next post. I enjoy it, too, which surely helps.
Stay in character
How do u feel if I start talkin lyk dis? Hopefully really, really uncomfortable, because that way of speaking has no relation to the writing voice of mine you’re hopefully beginning to ‘hear’ when you read. If you want to speak like that, speak like that all the time. Don’t, if you want anybody to buy your book, but you get my point: stay consistent.
Keep it social
I’m talking social networking links, comment boxes, share buttons, and tag questions at the end of each post. A blog isn’t a one way conversation; it’s a platform for social interaction. You want to be asking your readers questions, not telling them what to do. Luckily for us bloggers, there is an easy way to do this: by asking a question. You can be as commanding as you desire in the post, but if you ask a question at the end, all is forgiven. So, link to your social media websites, share your content through those, and engage with other bloggers.
My final rule would be to keep things concise, but unfortunately, there isn’t really any space left to write about that point in this entry. Regularity, personality, and sociability – make a note of them, and bear them in mind.
I will be posting more about setting up a blog, what to blog about, and how to use social networking websites in more detail in the near future. For examples of my personal favourite blogs for inspiration, check these three out:
What are your key ingredients for blogging success? Do you struggle creating an authorial persona, or maintaining regularity in your posts?
My Blog’s just a simple diary of my writing experiences, but I try to maintain all the points you have illustrated above. My standards are as follows; It needs to be articulate, it must be updated regularly and it must impart some sort of relevant information to any prospective writer that stumbles across it.
One day, I may have time to post regular and engaging articles like the one above. One day…
Thanks for the comment Andrew! I checked out your blog and you seem to have a good platform set up. I think you’ve got the core principles spot on, too. Stick with the book! I look forward to reading it some day. 🙂
I agree with every single one of your standards, but would add to make it a conversation. I think people often overlook that being a blog reader is a crucial component of being a blogger. It isn’t a stage for you to shout from, but a room full of people for you to talk to.
I totally agree with you Shauna. Engagement with other bloggers is just as crucial too, I find. Audience engagement is probably one of the biggest factors though, like you say. I see blog posts as a way of suggesting an idea for others to debate and explore. The ‘room full of people’ analogy is spot on!