It’s 2023. Should writers have a blog?
It’s been the subject of debate for several years now. There was a time when, if you intended to publish and sell books, you were expected to write a blog too.
But it’s not so clear-cut today. There are a lot of ways to communicate with your potential readers, and blogging is only one of them.
Here are five reasons why I think it’s still one of the best.
1. Blogging Gives You Something to Talk About Besides “Buy My Book!”
Whatever online platform you’re on, you need something to talk about. You have your book(s) of course, but what else? Maybe you talk about your pets, your daily walks, your traveling adventures, or your culinary talents.
Some writers can manage this well, providing consistent entertaining content for their followers, but for others, the “What do I talk about now?” question comes up pretty quickly.
If you have a blog covering a topic you’re passionate about, you don’t have that problem. I’ve been managing my blog, Writing and Wellness, for eight years now, and I’ve yet to come up against any serious struggles when it comes to thinking up topics. (If you have a blog and you are struggling with this, you may not have found your perfect niche.)
Anytime you write a blog, you have a great source of information to share on all your other social platforms. That can be a lot easier than asking your cat to pose for the hundredth time.
2. Blogging Helps Attract New Visitors to Your Website
Yes, you can post pictures and text on your choice of social platforms, but will that draw readers back to your website?
You may not think that’s necessary. But how else can you introduce your reader to your work, or lure them into signing up for your newsletter?
Sure, you can ask people to subscribe on your Twitter or Facebook pages, but if all they have to review are your posts on those platforms, they are less likely to sign up than if you lure them back to your website where you have a juicy freebie to offer them.
Yes, you can offer freebies on other platforms too, but the point is that there are more limitations in design and presentation on these sites than there are on your website.
And then what if your social media platform of choice changes the rules? Suddenly you may not be able to reach some of your readers as well. Your website, on the other hand, remains strictly under your control no matter what.
People need to get to know you and believe you have something of value to give them before they’ll sign up for your newsletter. Everyone is more reluctant to give out their emails today than even a year ago. They’ll look for an excuse not to sign up, so it’s more important than ever that you make the idea enticing.
Having a blog that you regularly update with new information can keep a reader coming back again and again until they finally succumb to that tempting offer and join your list.
3. Blogging Helps You Become an Expert at Your Niche
When you find the right niche for your blog, you can then write about that niche over and over again. As you do, you’ll find yourself becoming the expert in your readers’ minds, which will only broaden your reach.
Let’s say you’re a romance writer who writes about the perfect vacation spots for couples on a budget. Do that for a couple of years and you’re soon to become the expert on it. Your site will be the one people come to for information when they want to find a unique, affordable romantic getaway.
If you do it right—post regularly (once a week at the very least) and follow SEO recommendations—you may soon find that Google is helping to send people your way when they search for topics you cover. Hello, new readers!
4. Blogging Can Open Up New Possibilities for Your Writing Career
Don’t be surprised if the more you blog, the more opportunities open up for you in your writing career.
My blog, for example, is the reason I’ve written three (so far) nonfiction books for writers. I never imagined I’d write and publish nonfiction books until after I’d been writing my blog for a while. I soon realized that writers needed more information on the topics I was writing about, and I could give it to them in the form of a book.
Now I’m both a novelist and a nonfiction writer.
I’ve also received several invitations to speak at writing conferences completely because of my blog—it’s helped establish me as an expert in my niche, and increased awareness of what I have to offer.
5. Blogging Gives You a Reliable Home Base
We all know that the writing life has its share of ups and downs. It can get tough at times, and if your books are all you have, you can feel easily discouraged.
If you have a blog too, however, it gives you a kind of “home base” you can return to no matter what happens with each book launch, or with anything else in life for that matter.
One of the writers I interviewed on my site shared how her blog became her writing refuge while she was battling a difficult illness. She didn’t have the energy to write another book, but she could continue to communicate with her readers and subscribers through her blog. She said it sustained her until she became well enough to write a book once again.
The market can be fickle, but a blog can give you a reliable conduit to your readers no matter what happens. Positive feedback from those readers can also be a lifeline when you’re going through a rough time.
Bottom line: A blog can give you a welcome outlet for your creativity even when you may not be up to writing another book for whatever reason.
And any kind of consistency in a writer’s life can be a great thing!
Pssst: Mindy here to say that a great way to draw people to your blog is to share an amazing guest post at a popular blog. Check out the Guest Post Guidelines at Writers Helping Writers. I hope I’ll see some incredible post proposals from our readers. 🙂
*Keep your eyes open for Colleen’s April post full of tips for making your blog successful.
Note: Need help setting your goals for the New Year? Check out Colleen’s FREE report here. It includes 7 questions you can ask yourself to determine what goals will work best for you.
Colleen M. Story is a novelist, freelance writer, writing coach, and speaker with over 20 years in the creative writing industry. Her latest novel, The Beached Ones, released from CamCat Books on July 26, 2022. Her previous novel, Loreena’s Gift, was a Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, among others.
Colleen has written three books to help writers succeed. Your Writing Matters is the most recent, and was a bronze medal winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards (2022). Writer Get Noticed! was a gold-medal winner in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and a first-place winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards (2019). Overwhelmed Writer Rescue was named Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book in 2018.
Colleen frequently serves as a workshop leader and motivational speaker, where she helps attendees remove mental and emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers.
Free chapters | Writing and Wellness | Author Site | Life and Everything After
Mike Van Horn says
Excellent advice! I’ve just published a marketing book that is full of topics I can blog about. I also write science fiction, and I find it more challenging to find good blog topics for those books.
My biggest challenge for blog posts is finding photos to illustrate them. That search takes longer than writing them. And Unsplash doesn’t have the type of pics that pertain to my topics. I’d love for you to write a post on obtaining pics for your post. (I’m intrigued by ChatGPT.)
V.M. Sang says
I love this post. I agree with you that a blog is a great way to interact with people.
I have met other authors through blogging who have helped me enormously. Also, I have had reviews from people who read my books because they visited my blog.
I don’t have any one particular theme, though. I write whatever I feel like at the time. It could be something about a character in one of my books, or an interview with another author. Maybe something about a place I visited, or an excerpt from one of my books. I might write a post about one of the wild flowers that grow here in the UK, or poem.
I blog once a week. That’s all I have time for. I don’t know how some writers manage a daily blog!
Kristina Lucien says
I am an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi author and I have a bilingual activist blog about disability justice and queer rights called The Once and Future Cripple.
Deborah Makarios says
Good to know a blog is still useful! I’m getting back into blogging after a couple of hard years – most recently, with a post titled Compost Your Enemies.
I don’t really have a clearly defined niche. Sometimes I think about finding a niche and sticking to it, but there isn’t anything that I’d want to solely blog about for the rest of my life.
I write about gardening, cats, handwork, domesticity, old technologies, books, tea, history… Whatever interests me and I think I can entertain others with – perhaps with a loose theme of benefiting the present with the best of the past.
Compost your enemies—love it! And it sounds like your theme could work as a tagline for your blog. Sounds to me like you have your niche! Good luck.
MINDY ALYSE WEISS says
Thanks for this great post, Colleen. I especially love how blogging helped lead you to write three books to help authors. I can’t wait to read your upcoming post with tips for making a blog successful. 🙂
Thanks, Mindy! Yes, that was a super cool benefit to blogging–and it continues to be. I just need to get with it on book #4! See you in April. :O)
Raymond Walker says
I do have a blog and some (few) read it. But as you suggested and as a writer, I am pretty much all over the place It provides you with a feeling of consistency. Also, it is a cheap way of advertising yourself. I am not sure that it is all it is made out to be but still a useful tool, I agree.
It does help to help orient readers to what your blog is about (generally). I also find it really helps to give readers something that will benefit them in your posts. If you think of your blog as a service to readers combined with an outlet for your creative interests, it is more likely to grow.
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
I know it took me awhile to feel comfortable blogging, and I even though I have it a bit easier as I have a built-in subject to talk about, I still felt like I was pretty uninteresting and therefore thought who would people want to hear what I had to say over someone else?
What I’ve learned over time is that people connect to you as a person as much as they do the subject matter. So I would encourage anyone thinking that no one is listening to know that people are, and will continue to!
One thing we all have in common no matter what our blogs are about is that we are all social creatures and searching for people like us. Trust that the people like you will find you. The relationships you build as a result are just so worthwhile, as is the certainty that while it may seem like it at times, none of us is truly alone.
Great post, Colleen – thank you 🙂
Thanks for your thoughts, Angela. So true that we are all social creatures and that a blog can help us feel less alone. I have featured over 350 authors on Writing and Wellness, and find it really rewarding to help promote their work while also finding all the things we have in common.
Patricia Bradley says
I’m a romantic suspense author and I’ve been blogging for six years with a Mystery Question on Tuesdays and a book review on Fridays on a book I’ve recently read.
The Mystery Question features 4 scenarios, usually involving dumb criminals. Three are true and I made one up. My reader guess which one I made up.
It’s a great way to connect with romantic suspense readers.
What a great niche, Patricia! That sounds like a lot of fun. I’m sure readers love it. Thanks for sharing.
Mona Alvarado Frazier says
These reasons to blog gave me pause to review why I still have a blog. I’ve struggled to find a niche because I don’t believe I’m an expert in anything. Although I looked at your video, I still came up empty thinking about my place in the blogosphere.
Mostly I blog about storytelling and poetry because that’s what I enjoy. Now that I’m an author with a YA novel debuting in June 2023, my main reasons for blogging are numbers 1 and 5.
Hi, Mona. Finding a niche can be a challenge. I’ve helped many writers with it in workshops and with my book, “Writer Get Noticed!” (It has a series of questions to help you evaluate your strengths and find a niche that works for you.) I’d caution you against believing you’re not an expert at anything–you can build on an interest/passion to become an expert over time. If you’re focusing on the YA genre, you may want to think about an interest that would gel with your readers that you could research/talk about on your blog to draw them in? Good luck with whatever you decide!
BECCA PUGLISI says
Great breakdown of why a blog can still work (if done right). Happy new year to you, Colleen!
Thanks, Becca! To you as well. Hope 2023 is full of energizing fun and success! :O)