Welcome Guest Blogger Harrison McLeod from Men With Pens
More than Words – Fiction Writing Meets Technology
Another problem with fiction and creative writing blogs is erratic posting and inconsistency.
I loved the content I found (once I forced myself to stay on the silly-looking and unfriendly sites), but authors seemed very casual about their posting. They would post regularly for a week only to vanish for months. There would be four posts one day and none for the next seven days.
An efficient, attractive blog for readers has a consistent, regular blog posting schedule. You might choose once a week, three times a week or every day, but stick to the schedule and post regularly. Readers come to expect it and look forward to their "fix".
We post daily on Men with Pens. It may sound like a lot of work, but good planning and preparation makes it a breeze. We write posts when our Muse is smiling on us, and then we stockpile them, scheduling to publish automatically using the timestamp feature of our blog.
Regardless of your posting schedule, let your readers know your posting frequency and stick to it whether updates happen once, twice, or three times a week. Do what works best for you.
Don’t worry about having enough topics to write on. That’s like being afraid that you only have one book in you. You’re a writer; you’ll always have something to write about.
Real Simple Syndication
There was a time when I didn’t know about RSS and feed reading. Now I don’t know how I functioned without my feed reader.
An RSS feed stands for Real Simple Syndication. It's a method of syndicating your blog posts to reach a wider audience and make it easier for readers to keep up with your blog updates.
When a reader subscribes to your blog, they have the option of reading posts on your blog, receiving your posts through a feed reader like Google Reader or Netvibes or having your updates and comments delivered right to their email inbox.
You should stay updated on other blogs using a feed reader, too. It's good to know what others are talking about and discussing. Reading other blogs helps you come up with more content for your blog.
Go to Google Reader, sign up for free, and enter your favorite blogs. You'll be reading all their posts in one easy location!
Drawing Attention to Yourself
Now that you have your blog set up, you need readers. The only way you’re going to build a following is to roll up your sleeves and put in the effort to get traffic coming your way and get your name recognized.
Blogging involves more than publishing a new post each day. You have to visit other blogs to see what the competition is doing. You need to get to know the owners, their reader community and encourage them to get to know you.
- Comment. Start commenting on other blogs. Leave relevant comments that add to the discussion. Don't drop links unless they are relevant – link-dropping is considered bad form. Provide insight to the post up for discussion. Start a conversation or keep one going.
- Link out. When writing your own posts, link out to other relevant blog posts. The link instantly alerts blog owners that you're talking about them. They'll drop by to see what you've written and possibly become a reader or start talking about your blog on theirs. When you receive a link to your posts from other bloggers, drop by their blogs and thank them.
- Guest Post. Invite other writers to write a guest post for your blog – the more recognized the author, the better. Know the major league players in your niche and get in touch with them to offer a guest post for their blog, too.
Creating a theme and image for your blog is probably one of the most enjoyable aspects of starting a new blog in the first place. With so many designs to choose from, it’s often difficult to settle on just one look that fits you right.
When selecting a blog theme, look beyond the pretty colors and attractive images. Pretty doesn't get you anywhere if the blog is not user friendly and isn't functional for your readers. Consider how the blog theme is laid out and how it will work before choosing.
Is your blog going to be straight text, or do you want to include videos or other types of media? Do you like a magazine-style page to highlights various posts? Do you prefer a chronological posting pattern?
Think about how you want to lead the reader through your blog – because, make no mistake, you are your reader's tour guide. You might have written some very good posts, but if your readers can’t find them, those articles will just collect dust.
It’s All What You Make It
Blogging is definitely fun; there's no doubt about it. You can be as successful as you want to be. You have plenty of good information to share and you may be doing so already, so why not take the time to present your content in the best way possible?
Don’t get stuck in the rut of the arTEESTe who is above technology and only considers writing an art. Even art involves business, and success stories treat their craft accordingly. You don’t have to sacrifice your talent - maximizing your blog isn’t selling out. It's selling into all that you could be and pushing your potential much further.
Are you ready for it?
***If you answered with a resounding, "Yes!" then head on over to Men with Pens, where you'll find more great advice on building your fiction writing business. Tap into tips, hints and tricks to push your creativity to the front lines. Better yet, grab the Men with Pens feed by subscribing here.
Harrison McLeod is the man behind the scenes at Men with Pens. He’s a forty-something freelance writer and web designer from Las Vegas, Nevada. He has a degree in illustration and over 20 years of experience in the design industry. His favorite color is red, he loves his cats, reading books, archery, and he rides a Honda VTX 1800RS.