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How to Create an Author’s Blog
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So, you’ve decided to take the big step and create an author’s blog.
This will change your marketing game for good.
Here you can read WHY you should have an author’s blog.
It’s a place where your readers will be able to find all your information together. A list with your social media. Your pictures, your book, your super helpful content, and everything else. They will be able to read further into your worlds, like Pottermore for J.K. Rowling. Also, you’ll be able to drive tons of visitors each month, each visitor being a new opportunity for you to promote your books and turn them into readers.
If that’s not reasons enough, you’ll also be super motivated, feel like you know what you’re doing, and that you are a “real writer”. You’ll have “real readers”, or whatever that is.
And, fiiiiinally, you’ll be able to monetize, if that’s what you want. I, personally, want to make a full-time living as an author and blogger, so I am really interested in this part. There is a right way to do it, and, if you succeed, you’ll get there.
Then, let’s start. How to make an author’s blog.
I’ll cover here:
- How to start a blog: self-hosted or not. What does it mean?
- How to make your blog look good and professional.
- Getting traffic: social media traffic and SEO traffic. Paying ads or no ads?
- Why do you need to collect emails? Does email marketing really work?
- How often to post? How to create a posting schedule that works and doesn’t kill you?
This will be a summary of all these topics, because them all have or will have their own in-detail articles.
So, let’s begin then:
How to Create an Author’s Blog: How to start a blog: self-hosted or not? What does it mean?
The first thing when you think about starting a blog is the platform.
And I will give you no option: WordPress.
Don’t invent to look for other platform, and I’ll explain why:
WordPress is the biggest one. It has a lot of themes and plugins. It has everything you’ve ever thought about needing. If you need a plugin of an unicorn dancing on your frontpage, it probably have one. It has plugins anti-scam, backup, ecommerce, everything. It has support, it’s safe, intuitive. You’ll be able to choose from millions of themes. It has to be WordPress. Don’t even think about something else.
However, we are talking about a self-hosted blog.
What does it mean?
This means that you’ll be paying for a host to make your website available online. You’ll also have to get a domain name (which is, for example, isadorafelix.com, instead of something free like isadorafelix.wordpress.com).
Yes, it’s not free.
However, if you are serious about your blog and about really growing, attracting thousands of visitors per month and monetizing, you’ll need to get you own self-hosted blog instead of getting a free one.
It is not that expensive and you’ll also have so much more trouble going for a free one, realizing you love this blogging thing, and then changing for a “real” blog, a paid version.
Yes, I know it’s hard to pay in the beginning. However, the “free” versions many times are not that free. You must pay to remove banners and ads, for example, on Wix and WordPress.
This infographic is simply amazing to show you the difference:
I use Siteground!
I chose it because when I was learning about blogging, my mentor said that she used it. I haven’t had any problems with it and when I had to use their costumer service, it was amazing. Fast, it solved my problem. They also give your domain https, which is the security of your website (I’m no expert in technology, as you can see). And they give you a free professional email. Mine is: [email protected] I find it so posh and I don’t have to use my Gmail nor buy it somewhere else.
It was very cheap as well. 5,95$ per month, but you can also get the more affordable option, 3,95$.
It’s a bit hard to get used to it at first, but you will only need to download WordPress in it. You do it through Siteground. Then, you’ll do everything on your admin WordPress area. Siteground will only provide you space and security. WordPress will do all the rest, with the themes, plugins, posts. I thought this was so confusing in the beginning, but you get used to it super fast. Their costumer service, like I said, is great. You can also ask me. DM on Twitter. I mean it.
My domain I bought on GoDaddy for like 2 dollars. It was super cheap. You configure your domain through Siteground as well.
Please, don’t send me a blog like this: supergoodwriter.wordpress.com or formidableauthor.blogger.com
It looks ugly, unprofessional, and if you are serious about growing, spare 2 dollars to get yourself a domain name.
TWO DOLLARS. COME ON.
That’s the order then:
1. Get Siteground or other host that you want;
2. Buy a domain name on GoDaddy or somewhere else you want. Siteground also sells domains but they are more expensive, I think;
3. Download WordPress on Siteground.
4. On Siteground you will configure your domain, get the security certificate on your website, get your email. This may sound daunting but it’s not. It’s easy after you get the hang of it.
5. Access your WordPress admin area through Siteground. There you go. You did it! You have a blog now! Now, you’ll have to make it pretty and fill it with information.
2- How to Create an Author’s Blog: How to make your blog look good and professional
First of all, you must choose a theme. You go to WordPress sidebar, look for Appearance, click Themes and then you can choose whatever you want. I know that Magazine style themes look better. Mine is called “Elegant Magazine”.
Design tips: famous blogs usually look busy. It’s better than a minimalist design because it looks like you have a lot of content and information to pass. Look at Buzzfeed, for example.
In my opinion, it’s better to have a fix main page, where it will be almost like an “about me” section. It’s the first vision people have of your blog, so you have to create trust right there. Tell a bit about yourself without being long and what the reader will get from your blog. Also, put a picture of yourself if you want.
The main bar should have the main topics readers will encounter on your blog. Mine is Writing, Business, My Books, About. Writing is about all the articles that will help them with that. Business is about the business side of being an author, like marketing and publishing. My books is a personal space where I can tell about my own books, my characters, my worlds. People go there if they want to know more about a story that they probably have read or if they want to see what kind of book I’ve written already. In “about” you will tell about you, duh, in a personal and fun way. Who are you? Why should they trust you?
I also have a side bar that appears on every page and post. This has my picture and a brief description about me, my book, email opt-in, search and some advertising.
You have to make it look good. I design all my images on Adobe Spark, which is free and I have a blog post here about how to use it. It’s super easy, intuitive, it will make you look professional.
Please, leave the background white. It looks more professional. And put a beautifully designed banner. Trust me, I’m no designer, I’m not even a visual person, but with Adobe Spark you can create amazing images. (I’m not even affiliated to them, I just love it do much).
In my foot menu, I put my social media and where people can share. I thought no one would do it, but they actually do! It’s crazy, so don’t forget to put yours there.
3. How to Create an Author’s Blog: Getting traffic: social media traffic and SEO traffic. Paying ads or no ads?
I’ll be brief here because I have detailed articles about each of the ways of getting traffic.
Social media traffic is huge for beginners. You have to choose some social media and go for it. Be part of it every day, engage, have fun.
For blogs, Pinterest is the social media do to. 90% of my traffic comes from Pinterest. I couldn’t believe it also. Everyone talks about Instagram and Facebook. Pinterest is basically ignored. However, it is INCREDIBLY good for traffic.
I explain it all about Pinterest HERE.
You’ll not regret checking it out. I won’t explain here because there’s sooooo much to talk about Pinterest.
Twitter has the amazing #WritingCommunity, where a bunch of writers motivate each other. I’ve never in my whole life seen such an amazing community online. Everybody is supportive there. Just look at this tweet when my book came out:
This was in about 2 days. It was ALL thanks to the #WritingCommunity.
So, if you’re a writer and you don’t know what to do, create a Twitter RIGHT NOW.
If you follow me and tell me you’ve come from here, I’ll introduce you.
In my first day, I had help and I got to 500 followers in 3 days. Again, thanks to this community.
I can’t express how grateful I am for having come across them.
Youtube is the next step for this blog. I am not sure if I’ll already have created it when you’re reading it, but Youtube is amazing.
Is the #2 most accessed website online, losing only for Google itself.
It has literally BILLIONS of views per month. It is INCREDIBLE big.
And it is also harder to do, so not everybody will take advantage of it to promote themselves.
But, above all, it creates trust with your readers. If they see you, see your face, and like you, they will star trusting you. They will consider you a friend of theirs.
This means that they are much more likely on buying your book and even becoming a great fan.
It’s a lot of work, but a lot of traffic.
Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram are made for you to pay ads. It’s very hard to get seen there otherwise and grow organically. It will take A LOT of time as well. So, if you’re not planning on ads at the moment (I don’t like to pay for traffic, especially when you could be paying ads on Amazon, where you will actually get sales on your books), I personally wouldn’t care too much about these.
Instagram is also good for creating trust with your readers, so I have one, but if you already have Youtube, I wouldn’t worry too much. There’s just too many bots there and people buying their followers.
Facebook pages are good for lives. Only that. It’s very hard for people to find you there and Facebook is also kind of dying. It has a lot of publicity but not targeted public. The only way to get noticed is by paying ads to get in front of people.
However, Facebook is very good for the writing groups. Some of them are boring and full of unsuportive people, but there are some jewels. Personally, my favorites are:
Writers Helping Writers
I use these two more than all the others, but you can check the full list here.
The groups are harder because you really have to be part of them and engage instead of just posting your link and leaving.
Other source: Quora, Reddit, Medium, Tumblr
There are loads of other places online to promote yourself. If you want a better explanation about these, click here.
However, I do tell you to focus on only some. First, you can’t do it all. Ain’t nobody got time for that. You must write too!
I would tell you to REALLY focus on Pinterest (again, 90% of my traffic comes from there) and Twitter because of the #WritingCommunity. If you want to step up your game, Youtube. That’s it. At least for me, personally.
If you NEED to do only ONE, Pinterest.
No doubt about it.
SEO is VERY hard to build and it takes A LOT of time, besides being expensive. The keywords trackers out there are all like 99$ a month.
I try to do this to the best of my ability.
I use the Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere, which tells me the competition of the keyword.
I use the Yoast plugin for helping me with my articles. It is GREAT.
Try to do this for your best ability. Google is essential. But it will take time for you to rank, so don’t get upset about that.
4. How to Create an Author’s Blog: Why do you need to collect emails. Does email marketing really work?
You need to have an email opt-in since DAY ONE.
I MEAN IT.
Why? Why do you want a bunch of email from people?
You need it because it is very hard to sell for “cold traffic”.
Cold traffic is that people that come for your blog once and then leave, forget about you, and never comes back.
They don’t know you. They don’t trust you. Why would they buy your book? Or whatever else you sell?
Excuse me, who are you, exactly?
It’s rare to sell for cold traffic.
However, when someone likes your blog as much to the point they give you THEIR PERSONAL EMAIL, they already have more interest in your content.
When you email them, you create a type of relationship with them.
If they don’t unsubscribe, then they like your content. They will keep coming back for your website. Until, eventually, they like you so much that they will want to read from you.
This is the secret of how bloggers make money.
This is the difference between having 100.000 cold traffic and selling 5$ and having 1000 email subscribers and selling 500$. It’s because your email subscribers (that put up with you emailing them, is there anything worse than receiving an email? Opening your email, click on the things you offer, these people LIKE YOU! They have a relationship with you! They maybe even be interested enough to BUY from you).
Not everyone in your list will buy. However, you are much more likely to sell them THAN to sell for cold traffic, people that come once in your blog, get the information they are looking for, and leave.
You have to give a freebie in your opt-in. You tell them: do you want that in exchange for your email? It has to be very cool targeted. You can ASK your audience (for example, #WritingCommunity) what they want. Then, you produce it and give them for free in an exchange of something VERY VALUABLE: traffic that actually wants to create a connection with you.
You’ll need an email provider for collecting the emails automatically when someone enters it on the opt-in for the freebie.
The provider will also SEND the weekly emails for this list.
You can’t do it one by one.
This is also good for keeping track of your email data, how many you’re getting per day.
You also need it to CREATE the email opt-in and landing pages.
I use ConvertKit. Most bloggers do. This is because ConvertKit is made by a blogger for bloggers specifically. It’s very easy to use and includes A LOT of features. You can do unlimited opt-ins and landing pages, which you’ll need for your email strategy.
Click here to understand more about email marketing. This is ESSENTIAL.
5. How to Create an Author’s Blog: How often to post? How to create a posting schedule that works and don’t kill you?
That’s it. You know how to create the blog. You know how to get traffic. You know how to start your email list. Now it’s time for BLOGGING!
You can blog about: how you write, your writing process, how you edit, your thoughts about publication, how to create characters, book reviews. The options are ENDLESS.
How often to post? As often as you can. I would say AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK. I try to post 5 times a week, but that’s because I want this to become my full-time business. If you just want a blog, at least once a week or twice a month. Come on, you’re writing A BOOK, you can write 2 posts with 1000 words each.
However, if you can, post EVERY DAY Pins on Pinterest and Tweets on Twitter. Twitter shouldn’t be hard, because it’s small and fun. Pins are harder, but SUPER WORTH it because it’s the majority of your traffic and Pinterest LOVES consistency. Again, learn everything about Pinterest HERE.
My tip is to separate A WEEK for you to create ALL the posts for the month and all the pins. In this way, I can post often and it doesn’t distract me from writing.
Remember, the marketing part is as essential (if not more) than writing the book itself. Without it, nobody will FIND your books and you won’t SELL.
6. How to Create an Author’s Blog: Patience
Differently than you read around (How I made 5000$ in ONE DAY with my BLOG!), this takes TIME. You probably WON’T make money in the first months. However, the blog formula is clear: get traffic -> build your email list -> create a relationship with them -> sell.
It takes TIME to grow on the platforms and SEO. It takes TIME to get traffic. Even more to create an email list. Then it will be WEEKS until they like you enough for being interested to buy something from you.
However, one day you’ll have grown enough that the 1% that buys from you will be enough to be your full-time living.
That’s it, guys! I hope it helped and how you know how to create an author’s blog!
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