How can you make your author blog more successful?
Whether you’re just starting a new blog or you have one you’ve been working on for a while, the following steps will help you increase your readership.
1. Ask Yourself: What’s in It for My Reader?
By far the biggest mistake I see writers making with their author blogs is making it all about them.
They talk about their books, their writing process, their cats and dogs, their irritating family members, their travels, and sometimes, their meals.
Some writers can create entertaining posts on these topics, but not for long. (There’s only so much you can say about your cat, after all.)
What writers must remember is that they’re competing with millions of other blogs for their readers’ attention.
Think about what makes you stop and read a post. Usually, it’s because the headline promises to tell you something you want to know. Or it intrigues you for some other reason—often because you’re interested in the topic the writer is covering.
When writing a post, pretend you’re standing up in front of a group of strangers to talk about something for 10 minutes. You don’t want your listeners turning to their cell phones because they’re bored. Whatever you talk about, make it interesting to them!
2. Find Your Niche
Roughly 70 million posts are posted on WordPress sites alone each month.
To stand out amidst all that competition, it helps to have a unique niche—something to talk about that sets you apart from the rest.
I recommend you combine your personal strengths (are you funny? romantic? organized?) with your writing genre to come up with a unique niche that sets you apart from others.
Let’s say Paula is a thriller writer who is also passionate about flying airplanes. She could combine those two into a niche that would serve her well on her blog. Maybe she writes about thrilling flight adventures, exciting places to fly for vacation, or thrilling crimes that have taken place on or around airplanes.
How about Rose? She is a romance writer who loves gardening. Maybe she could have a blog that combines the two somehow. She could blog about the unique way that plants bring people together, plants that inspire romance or signify love, or how getting back to nature can help relationships.
As long as you choose something that you’re interested in, you can usually blog about it for years to come without getting bored. Choose a topic that’s at least distantly related to what you write about (it doesn’t have to be exact), and you’ll be likely to attract people to your blog who may be interested in your books.
3. Write Longer, Quality Articles
When people first started writing blogs, they were encouraged to write short—500 words or less. That’s changed today.
According to Backlinko, the ideal content length for maximizing social shares is 1,000-2,000 words. SEO company AHREFS also notes that long-form content (about 1,000 words) gets more backlinks than shorter articles—and that helps your posts show up higher in search engine results.
Then, make sure you’re creating quality posts. That means that your posts are deemed helpful, informative, and/or entertaining by your readers. In a survey by GrowthBadger, “quality of content” was the #1 most important success factor among all bloggers.
Take some time to craft a good post every time you write one. Make sure you have at least a few solid takeaways for your readers—things they can use to make their lives better in some way.
4. Write Great Headlines and Subheads
There’s a science to creating “clickable” headlines. Fortunately, several companies have researched that science and made it available for us to use.
I highly suggest you use Coschedule’s free headline analyzer to check every blog headline you write. It will “score” your headline so you can see the difference between high-performing headlines and those people tend to ignore.
The Advanced Marketing Institute also has a headline analyzer and some helpful information on writing good headlines.
Then don’t forget to include subheads in your post. These are minor headings placed about once every 300 words or less to break up the text.
Most blog readers skim articles rather than carefully reading from beginning to end, so subheads are critical to keeping them on the page.
Headlines and subheads also help increase your SEO score. (Read on!)
5. Learn SEO and Use It!
You’ve probably heard about search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re already using it, you’re good to go. But if you haven’t started yet, don’t wait another minute.
SEO activities are those that you use to help your post show up sooner in search engine results. It sounds intimidating, but it’s not.
All you have to do is choose the keywords you want your blog to rank for—words that someone looking for your blog or stories might type into the search engine. Then use those keywords in your headlines, subheads, and articles.
You can learn more about SEO here. Once you have a general idea, make sure your blog has an SEO plug-in on the backend of the website. Yoast SEO has a good one you can use for free that will guide you toward improving your SEO score for each post.
6. Post Consistently!
A blog is a commitment. Promise yourself that you will post at least once a week (twice is better) for at least six months. Then check your results and see how you’re doing. (Google Analytics is the best way to see how your posts are performing.)
Orbit Media Studios found in a survey of bloggers that those who published more often were more likely to report “strong results.” I’ve found that choosing one day (or night) a week to write a blog helps keep me on track.
It’s easier to post more often and increase traffic if you invite guest authors to your blog. Interview people who are “experts” in your niche. You’ll expand your network that way, plus get more quality content for your blog. A win-win.
Yes, there are a lot of blogs out there. But if you find a niche that sets you apart, create quality posts, use SEO, and post consistently, you increase your chances of attracting new readers to your website and potentially to your e-newsletter as well. (I’ll talk more about e-newsletters in my next post!)
Note: Get Colleen’s free report on finding your blogging niche plus free chapters of her award-winning books for writers here!
Colleen M. Story is a novelist, freelance writer, writing coach, and speaker with over 20 years in the creative writing industry. In addition to writing several award-winning novels, Colleen’s series of popular success guides, Your Writing Matters, Writer Get Noticed! and Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, have all been recognized for their distinction.
Colleen offers personalized coaching plans tailored to meet your needs, and 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. Find out more about our RWC team here and connect with Colleen below. Free chapters | Writing and Wellness