10 Steps For Starting Your Author Blog

Filed in Marketing Your Book by on June 8, 2016 8 Comments

10BlogLast month we talked about why every author should have a blog, and your response to that post was huge. We consistently received the same question in response: “How do I start a blog?” There are lots and lots of resources out there for newbies who want to start a blog, but to get you going, here are ten steps to starting a blog.

  1. Register with a blogging site. There’s many options, but two of the most popular are Blogger.com, WordPress.com (free), or WordPress.org (paid, self-hosted blog; allows for the most customization).
  2. Buy a domain. If you use Blogger or WordPress.com, the name of your blog will also have the site’s name in it, as such: myawesomeblog.wordpress.com. Want to shorten your blog’s name to myawesomeblog.com? You’ll need to purchase the domain name. Blogger will allow you to use that domain at no cost. WordPress.com will require you to upgrade to their premium plan to use a custom domain name. (WordPress.org users will have to purchase a domain no matter what.)
  3. Design it. If you’re using Blogger or WordPress.com, there are free “themes” available to style and design your blog. It’s as simple as pointing and clicking. Not seeing anything you like? Check out Etsy for affordable options from web designers. If you’re using WordPress.org, there are literally thousands of beautiful themes you can purchase that are highly customizable (but be forewarned you need a basic working knowledge of web design). If you can, pick a theme labeled “responsive”; this means it will adjust itself to fit perfectly in the screen on tablets and mobile devices.
  4. Get a logo. As your setting up your site, think about what you want the overall look and feel to be. If you need to design a custom header image for the top of your blog, a logo, etc., you can use Photoshop to make one consistent image to be used on the blog and all your social media. If you’re a design novice, use a tool like Canva which has pre-made designs you can simply paste your details into.  (There’s also logo & design services for purchase on Etsy!)
  5. Make sure there’s a “subscribe to this blog” box in a very visible place on your blog. You want to be able to send posts straight to your subscribers inboxes—don’t rely on them remembering to come back to your site.
  6. Reserve your social media channels. This means a Facebook page (not a profile), and any other channels where you think your potential readers like to gather: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or Perisicope. Make sure to keep the name as consistent as possible across all channels.
  7. Set up your writing schedule. Be realistic; don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you know you can easily commit to publishing posts every Monday and Friday morning, do it. Blogs who consistently publish on the same days at the same time get far greater views than those who don’t. Keep a few posts on standby in case you need them.
  8. Contact other sites and blogs, and ask to guest blog. This gives their readers a chance to discover you! Look for sites that create the type of content that pairs nicely with your message or story, and ask them to link back to your blog in the post.
  9. Share your blog with your friends, family and email list! Once your blog is ready, share it everywhere you can.
  10. Stick to it. Even if your readership levels are low to begin with, stick to it and keep creating content! Eventually your views will grow.

About the Author ()

Brittnee Newman, Marketing & Communications Strategist for Xulon Press, has been a blogger, freelance journalist and editor for just over half a decade. She joined Xulon Press as an editor in 2012, and now supports the company within the Marketing Department. Follow her on Twitter at @XulonBrittnee.

Comments (8)

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  1. avatar Pat McLemore says:

    Thanks for these steps Brittnee, very helpful in getting started!

  2. I blogged for 2 years, maybe a bit more on WordPress. Paid for a domain name and had to buy books to learn how to navigate WordPress. The choices and “plugins” are mind boggling. I did not get a whole lot of traction and was nowhere on Google. So I switched to having a blog page on FaceBook – no cost. Easy as pie. I pay to advertise in countries where I want to present the gospel such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria. You get the picture. Now I have 11,000 followers and one blog reached 100,000 likes and of all things it was a blog on humility! God’s ways are beyond my expectations. So I just wanted to let people know there is another choice for blogging.

  3. If you want to be taken seriously as an author it’s recommended to avoid the free options and purchase a domain name. A unique blog (that doesn’t use templates) allows you to create your own identity and sets you apart from the rest.

  4. avatar Pat Parker says:

    Thank you for the information. I knew nothing about beginning a blog.

  5. avatar Rebecca says:

    Hi Britnee! Is it a must that the topic of your blog should always be related to your book, esp the book you’re promoting?

    • No, it’s not a “must” but use common sense. If your book is written to Christian women, writing content to a general audience would be fine. But writing a lot of content to Christian men wouldn’t make much sense. Or if you wrote a cookbook, lots of posts about your current chess hobby might not interest them. Veer off the main path as much as you think is helpful for growing your audience, but think it through first and make sure it makes sense!

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