The term “blog” has become more recognizable but for many the value and purpose of taking the time to create and maintain a blog are unclear.
What is a Blog?
A blog is essentially an online diary, a platform that you create and own (unlike the comments you leave on Facebook or Twitter) and fill with periodic articles. The set-up is chronological with the most recent blog posting (article – missive – rambling thought) appearing on the top of the page.
Your articles can be organized into different categories, for example you’ll notice to the right of this article there are a variety of categories.
This category organization becomes most important the longer you have your blog. For example, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing – a wonderful resource for small business marketing – has 389 pages of his blog articles spanning back a decade. Each page holds 8 articles…you do the math. Categories are awesome.
There are a number of reasons for maintaining a blog for your brand, your business, your books and here are just a few:
- A blog is a platform for your thoughts. Each article is an opportunity for you to talk about your book, your writing style, your writing challenges, your next book event, your characters and more.
- Each published blog article is a separate web page that helps with search on the web. Think of each article as an individual website. The more websites (articles) you post on the Internet, the more times your name will appear when someone searches for you or your books.
- Drives traffic to your books. Within each article you can create links that drive readers back to your website, your Amazon author page or your page on Halo Publishing International.
- Provides new and original content to share on your social media networks.
- Each article is a marketing tool for you and your brand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for ever. Once it is on the web – it stays, right? So those articles you write today will be available for search 5, 10, 100 years from now.
- Establish and support your niche in the publishing world. The articles you write will include key words phrases for your niche; be that romantic fiction, historical research, business how-tos, young adult, sci-fi, etc. Therefore, when someone looks for articles about sci-fi fiction (or whatever your niche/genre is) your article may appear in their search results even if that article was written a while ago.
- It is an easy way to share your expertise. If you can write in a Word document – you can blog.
- Blog articles don’t have to be content like you might find in the Wall Street Journal or Harvard Business Review. Your articles should be in first person, conversational, informative and authentic. They don’t have to be the length of a book report. If you can say what you want to in a couple of paragraphs – great!
Those are just a few of the top benefits of having a blog for your brand. We’ll talk about what to write in another article. For now, give some real thought to creating a blog and starting to think about what you would share.
How Do I Get Started?
Okay, you are convinced, so now what? There are two free places that will enable you to create a blog in just a matter of minutes.
These are free platforms hosted by their company and so your blog name would include their name in the URL. For example:
These are not hosted with your website. If you want to host your own blog, connect with an experienced web developer to help and you’ll want to use www.wordpress.org. Having a blog is still free except that you will have to pay for monthly hosting.
Once you have selected a platform, you will want to ask yourself a few questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- What is my passion – what do I want to write about?
- How often will I write?
- Will I need someone to help write the articles, proof read or edit?
There are no hard and fast rules to the art of blogging but there are best practices. I would encourage you to check out a few of the experts in the blogging world:
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