Whether you are just starting your first novel or have had various publications over the years, most writers now know that it’s a good idea to have a blog as their own little slice of the internet that reflects who they are, what they do, and where fans should go to find thier work. The only problem with this is that many authors and writers aren’t bloggers, so they don’t quite know what to do once they have one! Luckily, there are no rules as to what kind of content needs to be there. Some writers simply update their blog with new publications a few times a year. Others blog about their personal lives almost every day, and even more do something in the middle.
No matter how frequently a writer decides to put new content on his or her blog, I do believe there are certain things that should be put in place to make it as fruitful as possible, both for the writers and their fans.
- Your full name (and blog name, if you have one), front and center.
This sounds obvious, but a lot of people forget! Make sure this is at the very top, so people know exactly where they are and whose words they are reading upon arrival.
- Who you are and what you do.
An “About” page should include your full name, a little about yourself, any accolades/awards you have received for your writing, a list of your books, other places you write/have written, and how to contact you. Make it easy for people to email you. You never know what opportunities could find you, if you just made it possible for people to email them to you! A photo of you and photos of your book covers are great, as well.
- A way for people to follow you everywhere.
Put social media “Follow” buttons and the blog subscription email opt-in as close to the top of your blog as possible, either in the blog’s header or at the top of the sidebar.
I highly recommend you have a separate fan newsletter sign-up, too. Fans can get emails from you when you have a new book coming out, you can give them insider scoop, announce upcoming events they can attend to meet you, invite them to join your street team, etc. Look at a few of the email marketing services available, like MailChimp, ConstantContact, and others. Lots of detailed reviews are out there to help you choose which is the right one for your needs.
- A square(ish) graphic with your name and your blog name or logo.
Put this in your sidebar, footer, or header, so it appears on every blog post and page, automatically. When you save the graphic to your computer, make sure to name it as your name, and possibly your blog tagline (if it is short). This way, when people share different posts or pages from your blog, there will always be an image with the share. This is especially important for when people share your blog on Pinterest: the name of the graphic/image will populate the Pinterest pin description box automatically.
Ideally, you will also create a graphic/image to include in each blog post and page with the title of that post/page to make everything a lot more shareable. You can create these with free resources such as PicMonkey or Canva. Just remember to never grab images blindly from the internet to use on them: either buy stock images or find free stock images (there are countless sites out there with them, each with their own instructions on how to credit the photos), or use photos you take.
I made the image for this blog post with PicMonkey in only a few minutes, using a stock image I purchased. Go ahead and Pin it on Pinterest right now on your Writing Tips or Blogging boards (all writers should have both—there are so many great resources on Pinterest for us). Doesn’t it look nice?
- A signature at the end of each blog post that has a purpose.
Close out with a call to action to read your books and share that post! Add social media sharing buttons so readers can share your post on Facebook, Tweet it out, pin it on Pinterest, email it to their writer friends, etc. You can see many options to do exactly that below this blog post, and I encourage you to use them to see exactly how easy it is to help other people share your work with their friends and fans.
I also recommend linking to your book(s), whether by embedding images of each cover that are linked to where they can buy them, or simply write, “You can see all of my books here” and link to one place they are all listed (such as your Amazon Author page).
With these five simple things set up on your blog, you will absolutely make yourself easier to read, find, hire, and get your work shared.
Now, wasn’t that easy?