By Gregory A. Kompes
Web logs, “blogs” for short, started out as online teenage diaries, a way for kids to express their experiences and voices online. Over the last ten years, these teenage rant pages have evolved. From the writer’s perspective, a blog is now a respected way to form a personal connection between you and your readers. Writers with panache and personality can quickly build a readership; and a large blog readership will result in more sales of your books and services. Offered in a variety of easy-to-use styles, blogs are a great way to build your writer-preneur brand.
How to get started. A basic blog is easy to create. If you’re new to blogging, I recommend that you start with a free provider like Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) or WordPress (http://wordpress.com). This will give you a chance to kick the blogging tires. Both of these sites have easy account set-up procedures and user-friendly interfaces. Just click the “Sign Up” link, provide some basic information, choose a name for your blog, and select a template. In fewer than five minutes you’ve got your own blog.
What to post. The main reason to create a blog is to connect with and build your audience. Frequent posts––one or more a week––will keep your readers coming back. An ongoing, niche-topic commentary increases your credibility as an expert in your niche. This will build your readership and result in more book and service sales. Blogs are also the perfect place to announce events like book signings, speaking engagements and new book and product release information.
Benefits of blogging. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, copy or technical, your blog, if updated regularly, is a source for current information and ideas. Regular contact with your audience builds trust. Blogs aren’t one sided; your readers can also share their comments and opinions with you. This will help you better understand your readers, which can make you a better niche writer. Having a strong Web presence increases the likelihood that new readers of your topic will quickly find you through search engines, because most blog sites automatically handle all the Search Engine Optimization of your posts. (If you don’t know what that is, trust me, it’s a good thing.)
It’s possible to earn income directly from your blog, too. Beyond selling your own books and services, many bloggers take advantage of ad placement, click advertising, partnerships, and affiliate programs. (The possibilities and pitfalls of these will be discussed in an upcoming column.) In the meantime, why not get blogging?
Gregory A. Kompes (www.Kompes.com) is a writer, speaker, mentor and coach. He is the author of the #1 bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live, The Endorsement Quest, Turning Your Writing Hobby into a Writing Career, and The Everyday Gay Activist. Gregory is the editor of The Fabulist Flash, an informative newsletter for writers, founder of LAMOO Books, and Coordinator of the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. The author holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, NY, and is currently a MS in Education candidate at California State University, Eastbay.