I was thinking about doing a blog post about increasing the traffic to your blog or something, but when I’ve done those in the past…
Well, let me put it this way.
It seems like – and I could be wrong – that authors want to have a blog with a decent following (to help launch their books or whatever).
However, many times when I’d do a blog post about “how to grow your blog,” it didn’t seem to get a lot of views.
Some, but not as many views as some of the other things – like the one I recently did about humiliating yourself at a signing event.
I think part of the reason was because I would put screen shots of my blog’s growth, and my guess is,
authors don’t like to look at bar charts.
Because no one does.
Part of it probably is the title. “How To Grow Your Blog” is not sexy enough to draw clicks.
Heck, I nearly yawned writing that.
And then of course finally we have to conclude maybe the content wasn’t good enough to get people to read it, although the content could be stellar and if nobody views it, nobody views it. So the content, good or bad, can’t be the problem if nobody is getting it on their screen in the first place.
It’s got to be the title (and maybe the image that comes up with that title), that has driven people away.
Maybe growing your blog either isn’t a problem, or isn’t one people are particularly interested in reading about.
Undaunted, I forge ahead to tell you the three reasons your blog is wasting your time and not helping build your author platform or launch your book.
- It’s irrelevant
- It’s boring
- It’s not helpful
We’ll explain in a sec. First, some background.
Recently I was looking at how many people are visiting my blog.
And I had noticed that I would go several days in a row with over 100 views. Often, five out of seven days would have over 100 views.
I could never get seven days in a row, but I would say for the last few months, probably the last two or three months, and maybe longer,
my blog was getting well over 100 views a day most days
and at least five out of seven days most weeks.
When I was keeping an eye on that recently, I noticed that I had something like two or three weeks in a row where I had over 100 views every single day.
Now, occasionally it would be 101 or 105.
And occasionally it would be 240 or more.
But I guess what struck me was,
a year ago it was a big deal to get 100 views at all on any day.
(And I’m pretty certain that what changed was StumbleUpon throwing 20 or 30 views into the mix every day because of that one post I did about how to do a text conversation.
So it’s kind of like a built in number on my daily stats. Whatever I do that gets me to 100 today, the first 20 or 30 are there compliments of StumbleUpon.)
But even subtracting that out, the organic growth in the blog over the last 12 months or so is also what’s causing me to regularly reach 100 views each day, and as people have decided my personality is worth reading on a regular basis, they come back. The newer followers have come on when I have been doing more posts that are designed to be interactive, so they have been trained to interact more – that’s always helpful.
So I feel as though my blog is doing what it was created to do, and it is achieving what I had hoped to achieve with it.
From here I simply want to do it on a larger scale. I want to keep doing the blog the way I do it because I enjoy doing it this way, and hopefully with each passing year it will help launch each new book in a more successful manner.
It is a good example of what other authors should do.
It is an example that it can be done.
So the question that nags me is this: I don’t understand why when I go to explain it to people, they don’t care to read those types of posts!
Using the “number + fear + cute/catchy” title rules, I want to try to think of a title and then a (brief?) blog post about how to get your blog to do what it supposed to do, by doing the things I did to get there.
What, I wonder, would that blog title be?
“Three reasons no one reads your blog”
Is that the same as growing your blog so it does what you want it to do?
“Three reasons no one follows your blog”
What would the three things be?
- It’s irrelevant
- It’s boring
- It’s not helpful
I think we are on the right track.
Hmm. Is my blog relevant?
Relevant to what?
Readers of this blog enjoy my personality, my voice. That is a taste of what my books are like.
Your blog needs to be relevant to what you’re selling.
- I’m selling novels and my posts are about writing fiction.
- Irrelevant would be you write novels and blog about celiac or something.
- Relevant means if you write books about dragons you’re not blogging about gardening. At least not only about gardening.
Somebody who doesn’t profess to be an expert, they’d blog relevance by… what? Sample chapters? Short stories? Flash fiction? “Non-experts” could do how they develop characters, books they read.
Okay, so relevance makes sense. Your blog needs to be relevant to your goal; for authors, that’ll be selling books, or developing an interest in your writing.
Why is a blog boring? It doesn’t engage readers.
Encyclopedias could get away with boring in the 60’s, but your blog can’t.
Do boring people know they’re boring? Nobody thinks they’re boring, right?
This message could fall on deaf ears, then. Maybe, assume you ARE boring and go from there. If you aren’t getting interaction that could be why. Comments, reblogs, shares, followers – if you aren’t getting those, better consider the B word.
That would be true if you were not boring but weren’t known, too.
Do you have huge paragraphs in your blog? Wandering prose with no real point?
I wander. I rarely have a point – especially if I’m wandering. My posts have been known to say “Now, where were we?” I’ll wind up making a point and pretend I was going there the whole time. I’ll get hungry and decide, so THAT’s why you need ISBN numbers, kids! Ciao!
Blogs don’t just spout facts. You gotta have a voice.
Ah, but people don’t know where their voice is, or what it is.
I have a theory about that.
Your voice is how you sound/write when you aren’t trying to impress anybody or sound smart, etc. How you’d talk to a friend at lunch, maybe. There’s a more purposeful style afoot in a novel than in a blog, that’s for sure.
A friend said she’d know my voice if she read my stuff without knowing I wrote it:
“The way you structure sentences.”
My sentences are just me wandering for really short moments of time.
She produced an example from a recent blog post wherein I asked readers to create their medieval knight name:
The kid in the club has a character named John and he wanted a name that was more Old World sounding. Medieval-ish.
I explained that John is in fact a pretty old name. Like, John the Baptist, or John who wrote one of the Gospel books of the Bible, you know? That’s older than Knights in shining armor times.
But it didn’t sound old to him, probably because his name was John and he didn’t consider his name old since he isn’t very old.
Good point. All things are relative.
According to her, those paras sound like me especially. The first one has a fragment and the second is one long sentence.
“Like you’re thinking and then explaining the conclusion you reached.”
That’s like me telling a joke. You have to stay til the end for the punch line. The “you know?” part is especially identifiable as me. Regular readers of this blog know that.
So, you may have symptom present in your blog that will help you determine if you’re boring. A boring blog will NOT help you get readers for your books.
If you are unknown, being boring might not be your problem, but don’t be boring anyway.
Third: IT’S NOT HELPFUL
I’m not as sure about helpful as much as it delivers value – so let’s talk about both because in blogging they are shades of the same thing.
- A gardening blog should tell you about gardening, sure; but it should say Hey, when your palm tree turns yellow, it needs manganese. Or something. I’m not a gardener.
- A writing blog that focuses on fiction would probably have lots of short stories or flash fiction pieces. Not on day 1, maybe, but I should be able to find lots of them on your site after a year, you know?
In other words, readers should get a benefit from visiting your blog
– and tying back to relevance, it should be the benefit they were seeking by visiting.
Now, I write a blog that espouses:
helpful writer ramblings from a disturbed mind just like yours
It says I’m gonna be helpful – and I am! There are lots of “how-to” posts here, like how to write a text conversation, and how to do a signing event… and how to increase your blog so it does what you wanted it to do in the first place. (That’d be this post.)
Also, it says it’s writer ramblings, so writers will understand that it’s writing-oriented.
And finally, the use of the words “writer ramblings” and “disturbed mind” indicate humor. Potential readers say,
“This guy is sarcastic and funny.
So whatever you are intending to do with the blog, do it. Be what you said you’d be. What did you say? Do that. Don’t know? There’s your problem.
Originally I posted lots of passages from my book Savvy Stories.
But as I learned more about writing and blogging and marketing, getting covers done for my books, and that kind of stuff, I posted what I’d learned – to help the next person NOT have to wander in the darkness quite so long.
The blog evolved.
Yours will, too.
Oh, and if there’s gonna be an item 4, it’s this: be nice. Be a little uplifting.
Have it so people leave feeling better than when they came. Because the facts in the encyclopedia didn’t do that, either, really.
I want people to have a good time here, and by god if they wanna get naked and dance on the tables, I’m not gonna stand in the way.
That hasn’t happened yet, but you never know.