Blogging Basics for Aspiring Authors: Lesson 24
As I get ready to wrap up the “Blogging Basics for Aspiring Authors” series, which began in January, I’d like to offer you five more underutilized ways to improve your blog or your blogged book. If you spend some time with each of these tips, you also will improve your blogging skills.
- Read other blogs and comment on them. Don’t blog your book or blog with blinders on, or you won’t know what your competition is doing—or even if you have any. While I recommend analyzing your competition before you blog a word, and not getting to involved with keeping up with the blogosphere Joneses, you do need to have some idea what other bloggers in your niche are writing about. As you read them, consider what they are doing well and try to mimic this. You can improve your blogging and your blog by copying others who are more successful. Plus, by staying up on their activities and reading their blogs, you will find ample opportunities to comment on them. Your comments allow you to show your expertise and to express your voice in another blogger’s community. If that blogger’s readers like what you have to say, they may choose to click through and check out your blog—and stick around as subscribers. Also, don’t think of all these “other” bloggers as competition. You might find that they make good promotional partners. Team up with them. (See #2 below.)
- Schedule expert guests to blog for your site and guest blog posts of yours to appear on other sites. One of the best strategies you can employ to gain readers involves guest blog posts. Asking other expert bloggers to blog for your site will bring their readership to you. It also will increase your expert status by virtue of association with people who are well known in your subject area. You may find it possible to blog on these experts’ sites after hosting them. If not, find other successful blogs where you can guest blog, such as the ones you read regularly (see #1 above). By creating relationships with other bloggers who write about the same or similar topics, you can help promote each other. No matter where you guest blog, it’s common practice to include a guest blogger’s bio with at least one or two links; that means you can link back to your blog. Again, this introduces you to another blogger’s audience, and they may follow you “home.” Blogging for other sites also pushes you to write in other styles, to other post lengths and to do something other than blog your book, if that is the only thing you are doing on your blog.
- Conduct a regular review of your blog analytics. Most newbie bloggers only care how many readers they have, although they may look at hits or visitors rather than at unique visitors, which are real readers. Take time once a month or once every quarter to look at your Google Analytics (or hosting company) analytics. (Read this post for more information on using your blog analytics.) Drill deeper than you have in the past. Instead of just looking at popular posts, see which posts were least popular and stop writing on those topics. Don’t just look at the exit page but also at the entry page; how can you get more people there? Can you tell if there is a good day or time to publish your posts? You can learn a ton from your analytics if you spend some time exploring them, but you have to do it regularly and on more than a surface level.
- Frequently poll or survey readers. Find out what your readers like and don’t like or what they want. You can easily implement a survey with surveymonkey.com or with a simple plugin like WP-Polls. (You can even ask for feedback on your writing, post length or the book itself, if you are blogging a book.) Then implement their suggestions or write content that addresses their interests.
- Use series, themes and regular features on your blog. Even if you are blogging your book, it’s possible to create a plan so you can add in a special series, themes or regular features. These tend to bring readers back to your blog and increase page views and decrease your bounce rate, just like blogging a book. Your chapters may lend themselves to becoming a theme or series. And you could have a special feature in your book, like a meditation or tip or infographic, which shows up once a week as a blog post. For general blogging, these tools work really well if you plan ahead. You can even produce products you can later sell from series, like a short ebook!
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Photo courtesy of iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo
Tim Chastain says
Very helpful points. Thanks! I read your ‘How to Blog a Book’ before setting up my blog in December, and it made a huge difference from what my experience would have been otherwise. I appreciate it very much.
Nina Amir says
Thanks for your comment. I’m curious…doesn’t sound like you are blogging a book, so how did the book affect how you set up your blog and your blogging experience?
Olivia Ashe says
I found your book full of ideas and things I hadn’t thought of from being a blog noob. I’m hoping I can publish my blog into a book when I have have at least 100 posts. It’s something I’m passionate about so I’m sure my ideas for the subject are endless.
Nina Amir says
That’s great, Olivia. I hope you are actually planning out your posts so you have a book manuscript written. Best of luck!