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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A lot of writers here have blogs they use to help in their promotional efforts, so I decided to recycle an old, abandoned one for my horror pen name. I think it looks pretty good, and I found a cool way to show the two book covers. I can't change the actual web address, so it has my real name in it. Should I just start over with one that uses the pen name? The address is http://robinreed42.wordpress.com/

How often do you bloggers update? How do you get readers? The reason I abandoned this in the first place is that I never got any traffic.
 

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If you can't change the web address, just buy another domain name as whatever you like and point it to your blog. It doesn't cost much. I think I pay about £3 a year for mine!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wordpress is free, I could just get a new one with a new address. I just wanted to use the one I had if I could.
 

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I blog for business for my "real" job and plan to for books as soon as I can get my act together.  It definitely takes work to make it worthwhile.  In the early days you really should be posting every day.  Even more important you have to learn the basics of search engine optimization - you can post and post but if you're not findable it's not worth doing.  You also want to do things to build traffic like commenting on related blogs, posting on forums, building links, etc.  It can be very powerful once you get it rolling but halfway measures tend not to bring good results.  That's been my experience at least.

Liz
 

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I blog every single day on a wide range of subjects. I think the blog is one of the best tools at a writers disposal. I don't actually have a website, as it didn't offer anything. So I removed that and focused on developing a blog site. I think it is one of the best mediums for authors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
chumlyb said:
Even more important you have to learn the basics of search engine optimization - you can post and post but if you're not findable it's not worth doing.
Liz
That's what I'm worried about. So much work - I barely know what search engine optimization is - and I may just be talking to myself.
 

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I have been blogging regularly for about 5 years. I have cut back in the last year, though, to only blogging 2 or 3 times a week. I realised that I don't want to be a blogger, I want to be a writer, and blogging is very time consuming for me. So, I started asking for guest posts and coming up with short topics more often.

If you want an audience on your blog, the only real way to do it is go leave comments on LOTS of other people's blogs. Most will return the favour.
 

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Blog!  It's an excellent tool.  Someone once told me that the best way to get a blog rolling is to offer a service.  I took this to heart and I find this definitely works.  

As your unknown self (no offense  :p), people will probably not go out of their way to type in "the musings of R.Reed" on their search engine.  So the chances of getting random traffic are very low.

You don't necessarily have to review books.  The service could be anything. Joe Konrath blogged about becoming an indie author.  His "service" was shared experiences which allowed people to both be entertained and learn from his mistakes/successes.  When he was first starting out, people probably did not type in "Joe Konrath."  But something they WOULD have typed in would be "independent publishing" or "electronic publishing."  Since most of his blog titles and posts were related to that, his blog came up high on the results list.

While random postings may be more fun, you do have to have some sort of focus to your blog if you wish to generate consistent traffic.  There needs to be a certain amount of predictability so that way if people like what they see, they will come back for more.  Think about how you operate.  If you were talking to a friend, would you say "hey I found this blog that occasionally posts a good recipe along with car reviews and sells computer parts."  Or would you say "hey I found this great cooking blog that posts fantastic recipes every day."
 

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I'd be careful with WordPress. I know some people who have had hundreds of their blog posts deleted (and their whole blogs removed) because WP thought they were too promotional.

Self-hosting WordPress on your own domain is fine. No rules, there. But if you host a blog on their free server, be careful.
 

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Blogging is a great tool. It does take time to build readership. We have found that taking the time to comment on other blogs helps. Also, using other social media to get the information out there.

The best advice I have ever seen for writers regarding blogging is at Kristen's Lamb blog http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com She also wrote a book on the topic.

The advice I liked the most was to be consistent and pick topics. Bob and I try to blog twice a week on either craft or the business.

It can be hard to keep it up, but if you have purpose and a schedule, Blogging can be fun! ;D
 

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Tara Shuler said:
I'd be careful with WordPress. I know some people who have had hundreds of their blog posts deleted (and their whole blogs removed) because WP thought they were too promotional.

Self-hosting WordPress on your own domain is fine. No rules, there. But if you host a blog on their free server, be careful.
I have seen this happen with three different authors on Blogger blogs (blogspot) in the past few months as well. If you do use one of these free services, back up your blog weekly, so you can migrate elsewhere if you run into problems. But I use a self-hosted Wordpress blog because I'm a control freak. =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Based on the advice here, I think I am going to start with a new blog that has my pen name in the address. I want to make things simple. Also, I had no idea that the free blog services had rules against promoting stuff. Why else would one get a blog? I will try to find a low cost blog that will let me promote till I drop. Thanks, everyone.
 

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I blog, not necessarily for self promotion (although I don't avoid that) but to express my opinions on writing and publishing, to offer advice gained from personal experience, and to document some of the crazy stuff going on in my head that doesn't necessarily fit in a novel or article.

After more than a year promoting the blog, I have just three regular readers and traffic varies from week to week.

Like life, I think of blogging as an adventure.
 

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As I see it, the advantage of BLOG is that you control the format. You control the design. You control the content. In short, it's all about YOU. This is powerful: it allows you to break through the constraints of the Amazon book page (only content description of book) and post constant updates on what you are doing, thinking, etc. In that way it is Dynamic. Constant content. Always uploading new. And you can add more in design than even the Smashwords page, for instance you can have music files play in the background, anything (for example, something catchy like the Benny Hill theme song), use animated .GIFs, etc.

It's a good thing to do.
 

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The headings of the blog posts are the most important from the point of view of regular traffic from browser searches.

I sometimes dwell on these more than the actual posts, because they are visible 24/7 and produce a steady stream of traffic without the need to post new blog posts every day.

Promoting your blog on forums has some success, but it is limited and time consuming as posts descend into obscurity quickly and you can become something of a bore. I no longer post on forums unless I think the post is of substantial interest to the members.  

Better I think to have people find you from searches on subjects covering their own interests. I always ask myself what would I type as a search if I was looking for the answers to a question the post covers. After I complete the post, I then simply twitter it and facebook it without pestering individuals. If people are interested they will arrive and maybe have a look around and if they like what they see they will return.

Maybe it works for some people talking about what they had for breakfast and random musings, but it is something I can't do.
 

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My blog is new (launched May 16), so I'm taking note of the advice here. Thanks for asking, R. Reed!

I purchased my domain and linked it over to Blogger. Getting the blog rolling is something of an uphill battle. I feel happy right now to average about 25 hits a day. Good point on the blog titles, Decon, I'm going to pay more attention to those.

I am experimenting to find my voice--blogging on a mixture of science, reading, and personal ramblings about completing my book. Thus far, my science blog on smallpox has the most hits, so I'm going to incorporate more science related content.
 

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Hi Ripley, that is the best way to go about. I blogged about all my mad ramblings, lol, until I noticed certain things attracted bigger audiences, so did more of the same thing and then involved other people and it went from there.
 

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I recently resurrected a blog I've had for a while, turning it from erratic ramblings into a collective for my writing endevour. I left the name as is, quirkygurl.com beacuse I'm sort-of lazy and I already own the domain. So, I've twisted the umbrella of my publishings into QuirkyGurl Media, so that I can showcase my writings under my real name, as well as the ones published under a psuedonym.

Wordpress has worked for me so far, but I've found that I have to work around some of the things they don't allow...like advertising type content. I can't post a direct widget using my Amazon associate ID, so I have to snag the image, host it for free on photobucket, add the image link and then code it to open up using the amazon provided link when clicked. And yes, that is a pain in the tail.

Eventually, I'll move but I've got too many other things going on to worry about building a new site :)

I've noticed some of my biggest spikes in traffic have resulted from incoming links to book reviews I've posted, so that's one way to draw visitors. I really want to beef up the "craft" side of the blog though and I'd like to find a few writers willing to do a guest post in return for a book link, etc. Nothing too involved. Just a few paragraphs with a cover and link of one book at the end. <---- reciprical linking can help increase your sites search engine placement I believe :)
 

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I somehow managed to link the RSS feed of my writing blog to my Amazon author page, which is pretty cool, but I can't remember how I did it so that I can do the same to my Amazon UK author page. Does anyone remember how to do that? I'll figure it out eventually I'm sure.
 

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I must strongly (STRONGLY) encourage folks to use their real name to blog, to publish, to fill-in-the-blank. Readers are smart enough to know that Author Amy writes about both dogs and cats...and eventually thrillers. My blog and my presence is to build MY NAME as a brand, not a single book or a  single genre.

If you have a different blog for every new book or endeavor, you will flat wear yourself out. So create a single blog presence branding your name, and then blog about horror on HORRIBLE WEDNESDAY and blog about romance on ROMANTIC FRIDAY, and blog about your sculpting hobby or church affiliation on another day.

These days I blog M-F, and my blog (with my name) covers nearly everything that fits into "bling, bitches and blood" with repeat categories each week. You can then post links to your blog to twitter and facebook and send to email lists, and more.

Oh, and I'm a Kristen Lamb groupie, too. *s*
 
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