For years I was sure I would never create a blog. It all sounded daft. What would I blog about anyway? Then I read that aspiring writers needed a blog. I ignored the advice. Then I read it again. And again.
Finally, in February 2010 I bought the bullet. I wrote my first post. I got about three visitors to my blog that day. One year later I had a publishing contract with Harper Collins and they were saying I had a hugely successful blog. Here’s a picture of the back of the advance reader copy of The Istanbul Puzzle, just in case you think I’m making this up.
In the three years since I started my first blog I have learned some important lessons. Here are seven key things to think about when planning your blog:
- Keep your posts short. 250 words to 500 words is fine for most posts. Keep the longer posts for occasional special articles that need depth.
- Provide value to your viewers. I don’t care if you want to provide advice on writing poetry about city life or a discourse about adjectives or a reference piece on the colour red, provide something of real value and people will come for it and come back for more.
- Make a great title. Titles are what makes people click through and read. Spend time getting this right.
- Put in a picture. The whole web is getting illustrated and I can see why. Visual sites are much more interesting. Every post has to have a visual.
- Make it all look professional. Make sure you have the basics right, your About, Contact and book/writing details all need to be clean and easily accessible. No one wants to follow an unprofessional blog.
- Build up your content. If you spend one hour a week creating a post and uploading it you will have twelve posts in three months. Having a selection of posts is all about consistent effort.
- Encourage people to follow you. Have a prominent Follow Me button that allows people to receive notification by email of your new posts. Most free blogging sites allow this. Getting people to follow you is the clear goal that you need to strive for.
If you want to learn more about blogging and social media come to my one day course at the Irish Writers Centre on Saturday the 26th January or attend my 8 week evening classes at the Centre for Creative Practice, 15 Lwr Pembroke St, Dublin 2 www.cfcp.ie
Whatever you decide, make 2013 the year you start your blog.