This is the final installment of our Blogging Best Practices Series! Wow, hard to believe January is almost over. It’s been a busy one here at Megaphone and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
If you haven’t yet, follow us on Twitter: @TeamMegaphone
Catch up on the rest of the series:
- Part 1 – Introduction
- Part 2 – Develop your voice, Solve with a story
- Part 3 – Member post from Jon at Jumping From Cliffs
- Part 4 – Spacing & Grammar, Images & Graphics, Links & Quotes
In this final post, we’ll discuss about pages, growing your blog and additional resources.
Developing a good about page is like writing your resume. There’s a lot of pressure to do it just right so the best future–boss notices you. If you’re a blog reader like me, one of the first things I do is look for the about page. Once a post has caught my attention, I want to know a little more about the author before I decide to follow the blog.
The problem with about pages – like resumes – is that everyone is looking for something different.
I see consistent traffic on my about page, so I want to make sure I’ve got the right information on there. Much of that depends on what you blog about, but for our purposes, we’ll assume you blog about writing, being an author, publishing, etc. Your about page should tell a brief story of how you began writing. What inspired you to write a book?
Readers also want to know more about you. Remember all the way back in Part II of this series when we talked about developing your voice? You’re a dynamic human being with much more to your life than just writing, so talk about that. You don’t have to go into detail, but readers of your about page should feel like they’re getting a glimpse into your life.
The same rules for a good post apply here:
- KISS – Keep It Short & Simple (new take on that acronym).
- Include visuals. Have a picture of you, maybe one of your family, whatever fits.
One final point. Your about page is not the place for a sales pitch.
But wait? Isn’t the whole point of blogging to get readers interested in me as an author and my books?
Well yes. In a sense, everything about your online presence is a sales pitch. But if readers feel like they are being sold your book at every turn, they will leave you behind in a heartbeat. A better course of action is to have a separate page about your book(s). Include the cover art, a synopsis of the book, maybe some reviews quoted right on the page and links to where it can be purchased.
Leave the about page about you and a separate page about your products.
This is really what everyone wants to know, right? You’ve set up a great looking blog, complete with good header art. You’ve practiced with some posts and have a good handle on your voice. You’ve written a smokin’ about page that readers just can’t ignore.
So how do you get those readers?
Rule #1: Produce great content.
Rule #2: Go read other blogs.
Yup, it’s that simple. (Ok, not so simple. All the work you’ve done to make your blog awesome isn’t simple). But to get your blog out there, you need to read and comment on other blogs. Start by finding other authors. My advice is to mix up sizes; find a handful of the mainstream, big–time authors and then find a handful of small authors. The smaller guys will love any comments they get and will often follow and comment back; these are the people you can develop friendships with.
The big authors probably won’t notice you (yet), but you aren’t really looking for their attention (yet!). What you want at this point is for the other commenters to notice you. Rather than just comment about the post itself, reply to another commenter.
Start conversations in the comments. You will gradually get more and more of these people seeking out your blog and you may find a few others you really like as well.
Make sure you set up a gravatar with a link to your blog. If you use WordPress, this is part of your profile. My little author bio at the bottom of this post is from my gravatar profile. This is a basic profile that is used all over the web; many blog platforms link to your gravatar when you post a comment. If this doesn’t happen, I sometimes sign my comments with something like “Best, Larissa from pilotingpaperairplanes.wordpress.com.”
Here’s a blog checklist for you.
Some additional resources to check out:
- Kristen Lamb at Warrior Writers – “Kristen helps authors of all levels connect to their READERS and then maintain a relationship that grows into a long-term fan base.”
- Get Started Guide: Blogging for Writers from Jane Friedman.
- Kikolani.com from Kristi Hines – “blogging tips and blog marketing advice catered to personal, professional, and business bloggers alike.”
- KatherineLowryLogan.com – regular resource lists on blogging, writing and marketing.
- Article: Smarter Content Creation
Do you have any other great resources to share?
Leave links in the comments!