One of the mostly commonly voiced pieces of advice when it comes to building an author platform (especially if you’re a debut author) is, “Start a blog!”
Unfortunately, the advice then tends to focus on how to sign up with Blogger or WordPress, how to secure a good layout, using affiliate links, etc. This information is useful, but it isn’t really what the speaker is getting at when they advise writers to start a blog.
Because the advice is somewhat misleading, many debut authors spend months cranking out content and wondering why they aren’t getting any leverage. They see more sales from Twitter and Facebook referrals than they do from their blogs, and eventually blogging falls by the wayside in favor of social media. The difference is, of course, interaction.
When advice columns talk a bout starting a blog, they’re talking about interacting in the blogosphere. Pumping out content is useless unless you comment on other blogs, participate in blogging events, and build up a network. Traffic to this particular website is driven by three relatively equal contenders: backlinks, social media, and search engines. Traffic to my two other blogs is driven by roughly the same traffic sources.
There are really only three keys to getting traffic from these sources:
- Have original content
- Keep a rhythm or schedule
- Reply to comments and comment on other blogs as much as possible
That last one is the piece of advice most commonly left out of these “start a blog” columns. Every time you comment on another blog, you will have the opportunity to leave a backlink to your own site. At least one person (the owner of the other blog) is likely to click on your link if you leave a meaningful comment. Once you’re aware of each other, a networking relationship can develop just as it would on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other social media outlet.