Spring is right around the corner!
I don’t know about you, but I’m anxious to get outside and turn over the soil in my gardens. I’ve got a variety of vegetable seeds set to sprout any day. I don’t HAVE to write a book all summer this year and gardening is sounding like a luxury. That doesn’t mean I’m off the hook from writing. Nope. This blog needs weekly attention. I’ve got publisher’s to pitch. I need to work on short stories along with building the structure for the next novel. A writer’s work is never done. (Insert smiley face!)
Last week I shared what I know about pitching your book or article to publishers or agents. I don’t know how many of you want to publish your work, but for those who do, last week’s post will come in handy for review when you’re ready to see your work in print. As part of the post, I talked about the publisher packet which includes social media. Blogs are part of that social media presence. As long as you keep adding fresh content, using your voice, it will offer a glimpse into your life as a writer. This can be invaluable to prospective publishers who are always looking for just the right fit with their authors.
What is a blog?
A blog is no different than your journal except it’s published on the world wide web, is not private, and allows for comments. Before blogging was popular, I remember thinking that there ought to be a way for individuals to journal online without having to pay for a website. Greater technical minds than mine were at work on this and developed multiple platforms for journaling which morphed into blogging.
I didn’t realize that bloggers could become what is known as influencers – people who influence trends through their blogging. It might appear at first that these influencers are experts in their fields. That may be true within business categories, but as far as popular culture, a fan base is so easy to buy, it really doesn’t matter what you know, as long as you know the right marketing strategies.
Greyhairs Rising is not attempting to become an influencer. GhR is simply a log of what I’ve learned in becoming a practicing writer. I’m sharing my experiences with you to give you that boost or direction you may need to reinvigorate your writing or other artistic practice.
Before you start.
Before you start blogging, you’re going to want to know what you intend to accomplish with the blog. Do you want to
- become an influencer
- share your life or career journey with others
- maybe you want to earn some extra money by selling products or allowing ads on your page.
Think about what you hope to accomplish before you start, then look at blogs that fit with your theme, see how others are doing it. What do you like about the sites you visit? What don’t you like? Get a vision for what you want and then look for a platform.
Hosted WordPress vs other WordPress or blog options.
When I started my blog I knew it would be part of a website that would include a store for my artwork as well as future published books. I also knew that I would want to speak to groups about my process and help to inspire others to get excited about using their artistic talents. I knew I would have to pay for a website that included a blogging platform. I selected a hosted WordPress site, which means
- my domain name ( example: mefuller.com) is used vs (my blog name).wordpress.com (or .name of blogging platform)
- I pay a hosting company to support my website plus the WordPress blogging platform
- I have more tools available – widgets, they’re called – included with my monthly hosting fee.
There are any number of free blogging platforms for you to choose from. If you’re just testing the waters, then you don’t need to purchase a domain name or pay for a hosted site. The free sites will host your page on their servers at no charge. They will probably attach ads to your site so check out some of their users before choosing a free platform.
Here is a list of free blogging platforms. You can search many others and make your selection based on what you want to do with your blog. The 14 best free blogging platforms
Name your blog. Add a tagline.
The next thing to do is name your blog. For example, “Shirley’s Black Cats.” Then add a tagline: “Not just for Halloween anymore!” Once you’ve started you’re going to want to stick with your theme so think about this carefully. Will your blog be about your travels or will it recommend travel spots to others?
- Know your theme
- Know your audience
- Know what you mean to accomplish
- Name it
- Tag it
Build a graphic.
This is another opportunity for you to explore other blogs that match your theme. Look at their graphics. Contact the blogger and ask them how they created their graphics. Like their blog and ask them to like yours once you’ve launched.
How to attract visitors.
- Ask for likes from friends, coworkers, and relatives
- Keep your content fresh! Update no less than once a week
- Use keywords
- Images are always appreciated
- Search out blogging communities
- Ask to join
- Follow their guidelines
- Have an email sign up list
Here are some other sources to check for tips- by the way, I only selected posts that were recent.
To monetize or not to monetize?
I have no plans to monetize my blog through ads. I find them distracting, annoying, and they will more often than not, drive me from the blog I was reading to find the content I want elsewhere. I didn’t want to create distractions. I want more to create a conversation, or at the least, converts – converts from “I wish I was writing or painting” to “I’m writing! I’m painting!”
The first speaking engagement I booked because of the content, left me feeling proud and happy that my work is doing what I wanted it to do – encouraging others to let their creative sides out and about and back into the world. I would rather speak to 20 people for an hour then sit at home and collect a couple of dollars off of annoying my visitors!
But that’s me.
If you want to monetize your blog, do your research, ask others to share their experiences with you, and then decide what you feel will work the best for you.
Write a tag line for your blog.
- Next week’s topic: Writing support groups. See you back here next Sunday night!
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