Usually when writers set out to start a blog, we get so excited over the idea of getting out there and sharing our journeys that we make the mistake of not truly researching all the options out there for an author site and/or blog.
Who has two thumbs and made that mistake three years ago? *whistles and looks away* 😉
When we’re finally ready to put ourselves out there, we can sometimes go with the first blogging platform we’ve discovered. If we have an overly zealous type personality, we may also find that we’re chained to our computer whenever a new story or character crosses our paths with no idea of where the story’s going (I’ve done that one, too. It was a total, nonsensical mess).
So the question out there for many new authors can range from “Where do I start?” to “What should I blog about?” Those were my main questions, and I failed to do my research. The results ended up being okay, but not great. In almost 3 years, my stats on Blogger were: 26,000 page views, 175 posts, and 60 followers. Those stats aren’t bad, but they’re not great. They’re not where I would’ve pictured myself three years into blogging.
When results aren’t what we’d hoped for, that means it’s time to rethink, re-attack, and re-boot.
Where Do I Start?
There are many, many, many resources out there with advice on the pros and cons of the different blogging platforms. We just have to know how to find them. We can either Google search blogger vs. wordpress (which is what I just did to find the previous link), or we can turn to other author-bloggers that we’ve come to know and trust (A suggested place to start would be with Jami Gold, Paranormal Author. Here’s a link to her posts on author websites).
Once we’ve compiled all the information on our site possibilities, it’s time to get serious, sit down, and make a decision. These decisions range from super simple to oh-my-god-my-brain’s-on-decision-overload. Here’s an example of the decision-making process I undertook about three years too late:
- Am I going to stay with Blogger or go to WordPress
- Will I purchase a domain name (ex: yourname.com)?
- Who will I host my domain name with?
- What’s my vision for this new site?
- Am I going to learn coding (HTML, CSS, PHP) so I can design the site on my own? Or will I just use a template from my chosen platform? OR should I hire a designer?
- How soon do I want this new site up and running?
Once all these decisions are made, it’s time to get started on creating our site. And once our site’s created–look how shiny and purdy it is!–it’s time to start blogging and connecting with our audience.
What Should I Blog About?
Yet another mistake many beginning bloggers make is that we get out there and start blogging without really know how to connect with the audience. Some of us don’t even ponder on those all-too-important questions of: What types of posts will roll out the welcome mat to readers? What kinds of topics will help forge a connection? Why in the world would someone want to read my damn site in the first place?
For my journey, I, once again, started asking these questions way too late. *headpalm* But once I started asking, I turned to Social Media Jedi, Kristen Lamb. I picked up her Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer three months ago. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you give it a read. Even a seasoned blogger will find many golden nuggets within her book’s pages. And after you’ve read the book, check out the posts on her site with many, many more blogging tips.
Within the pages of her book and the posts on her blog, we’ll find the answers to all our questions … and more!
The best part of reading Kristen’s book, for me, was the realization that she has made these mistakes too, and she was there to help me rectify them. Which is a huge reason why I’m here on a new site and new platform with new lessons and a new approach to sharing and welcoming insights, lessons and information. 🙂
If we now take all the information we’ve absorbed (well, after we’ve survived the head spinning–sorta 😉 ), we can now set sail into the world of social media, author sites, and blogging because we’ll be armed and ready with information, insights and confidence. *wields shiny new sword*
I’d love to hear from you!
Do you currently have an author site and/or blog? What steps did you follow regarding your site/blog’s set-up and design? Do you have any advice for authors who are new to the world of author site/blog creation? Do you have any best practices or tips you’d like share?