As my writer journey continues, sometimes I find myself on the other side of the coin. Instead of thrashing about in the blogosphere grabbing any life preservers I can to stay afloat, sometimes new bloggers ask me how to get started in blogging.
To do a quick re-hash of some past articles, I had good advice from The Blog Farm early on about blogging. The basic rule is posting something for viewers to see (as in a photograph) or read (as in an article). Anyone is welcome to visit my early posts of this blog, where you’ll see links, videos, and not much of anything.
Like any stubborn person, of course I had to argue with the expert, like I knew something about blogging? What am I to post? Answer: You’re a writer Stupid, so write something! So I did. My “New Author” series of articles started my journey as a blogger for reading, writing, and creativity, and I haven’t looked back since.
So for some analysis based on my experience alone, and I’ll make a note many more sophisticated and widely read bloggers are out there. I’m not small potatoes; sunflower seeds may be a better representation for vegetable comparisons. What I’ve found that drives blog traffic is original work. Links might as well come directly from Twitter; you offer a viewer nothing by a link only as a blog post. The experts say to create a “brand” so readers will know what you are about, be it reading, cooking, book reviewing, or artistic design. Therefore, the way to do that is to post, yes, I’m writing it again, original work, or a guest post, keeping in the “brand” of the blog.
What doesn’t drive blog traffic? I’ve learned a bit from doing. As sad it is to say, and I won’t stop doing it, but book reviews of new authors do not drive traffic. Why? Simple: Nobody knows the writers. It doesn’t mean I’ll stop reviewing, as I like doing it , though I’m taking a break to finish my third book. Also, articles hit and miss, which is expected from any writer. I can spend hours on one article and get “meh” from readers going by traffic, and crank out an article about a bestselling novel and see the traffic peak. Famous books and stories help blog traffic. Reason: Because they are famous, to state the obvious.
A better question: Does retweeting lead to more blog traffic? Answer: Yes and no. Before clicking off, let me explain. Most of the time, blogs have a “core” of readers. Retweets are great to increase the exposure, but the exposure may not be your audience. Going back to “branding” your tweeps may have different interests than anothers tweeps. So the exposure is great, and potentially can drive traffic, but when it comes down to just numbers, it’s not a direct correspondence between the number of tweeps seeing your tweet and the number that actually read your article. It’s doesn’t mean retweeting doesn’t help; of course we all want retweeting! But I’ve learned to distance myself from the expectation that 20K tweets will add 1000 hits to my blog, which is not always the case.
So writers again go forth and write awesome blog articles. I love blogging and am a late discoverer to the awesome recipe blogs. Though the articles compared to novels have a shorter half-life, we live in a “now” culture, so think it, write it, post it, and we’ll read it.