I don’t think there is anyone who would disagree that blogging on a regular basis is a must, but why? What is your purpose for blogging? If it’s to make money, then you’ll need to check out Problogger, follow his guidelines, and use as many of the resources he has on his web site as possible, especially his 31 Days to Build a Better Blog eBook.
For love or money?
But, if that’s not your sole reason for blogging, then you’ll need to dig deeper, find out why you want to do this crazy thing called blogging. As The Blog Tyrant‘s post “Why Blogging is a Waste of Your Time” suggests, you may be wasting your time. As this blogger says:
It might be a distraction that you use because it is easy, available and popular. But perhaps you would be better off doing something else? [emphasis mine]
As a Independent Author, we struggle to find an audience. That is, what I believe most of us are trying to do when we blog, find an audience for our books and, thus, sales. In other words, we blog to make money. But if you’re writing fiction, that may actually mean blogging is keeping you from doing what you need to do to sell those books.
That isn’t to say blogging is a complete waste of time. It depends on why you do it. If it’s to give yourself another avenue of self-expression or even to develop a consistent writing habit that may also build an audience, then you should consider blogging. Jeff Goins talks about this in his podcast episode “The Hidden Benefits to Writing Daily and Blogging Consistently,” as well as his blog post “The Surprising Self-Discovery Lessons of Blogging.”
Whether you’re blogging because it gives you good practice or because it will help build an audience, consistency is king. If you want to be noticed you have to get the attention of not just people, but the internet spiders, especially those of Google. The question, however, is how often should you blog?
While blogging daily will increase your Google rank, unless it is of very high quality, a daily blog (even just on weekdays) can be seen as a nuisance to your readers — and a major stress factor for you. I disagree with the thought that it’s a wonderful idea to blog on a daily basis, at least from a reader’s standpoint, unless you have amazing content. However, if you’re blogging as a way to practice writing, then this is quite the conundrum.
Practice makes perfect.–J. Adams, Diary, 1761
A daily blog can put strain on an already tight schedule. For me, blogging isn’t just sitting down to write whatever pops into my head. There is a lot of research to be done for a quality blog. Not to mention a large amount of time actually crafting and editing it. After all, a “quality” blog gives useful information and makes sure the reader has ready access to helpful sites. If all I wanted to do was give a quick tip, I’d use Twitter.
There are two resources I’ve found to make your blogging time productive, as well as help you create something people want to read:
- It’s Time to Get Intentional About Blogging by Jeff Goins
- 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by Darren Rowse
Of course, neither of these are likely to net you an audience specifically for your fiction books. These are great for non-fiction writers and writers who have a passion for practicing their writing in a different format while providing a service for others. For the other (netting those fiction super fans), there’s another great resource I’ve used: Your First 10K Readers by Nick Stephenson. (More on that in an upcoming post.)
The long road to discovery
I’ve been writing for a long time, now, and blogging for several years with an on-again/off-again love/hate relationship to the medium. I began blogging in hopes of bringing in money, though my real desire was to write and sell works of fiction. I changed my approach a multitude of times for a variety of reason, even swearing off blogging altogether at one point (you can see how well that worked ;)). And I’ve returned to this dynamic form of writing once more with a new vision and a new purpose–to become the best resource out there for writers like me who are chasing their dream on a shoestring budget.
It took a lot of years to find that purpose and I want you to know that, even if you have no idea what you’re doing now, you can figure it out eventually. You don’t have to have all the answers getting out of the gate. Take your time. Enjoy the process of discovery.
So why are you blogging?