Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Note To Self: Must Blog

© Marta Stephens 2010 all rights reserved

I went to a local workshop last weekend sponsored by the Midwest Writers Workshop. One of the speakers was Kelsey Timmerman who, among other things, talked about the importance of blogging on a regular basis.

One reason he gave was to force you to keep writing on a regular basis and to also get your name and work out there. The sessions were short and had he had more time, I would have liked to have heard his take on search engines. Why? Because next to the reasons given above, search engines are why we blog.

Think about how you use search engines. Say you’re looking for a new chicken casserole recipe, you type in the search bar, “chicken casserole” and you’ll get more variation of the same dish than you’ll know what to do with. If someone tries to find you, your book, your series, or anything else you’ve written, the most obvious initial search will be by the you name. The number of posts you’ve published anywhere on the Internet will determine which page your name will first show up on the search engines and how many more will follow.

Just out of curiosity I recently Googled my name. The first link was to my website  The next listing under my name was my Prose and Musing blog and the list continued for over 27 page.

I mention this because a few days ago, a writer friend of mine wrote to say she’d just started her first blog. We chatted for a while online about a few of the things that she should consider in order to get traffic to the site. Here’s some few to keep in mind:

Blog at least three-four times a week in order to show up within the first pages of search engines. This is critical when readers search for your work by your name or your book’s title.

Aside from writing to everyone on your list of contacts (which is good), one of the easiest ways to draw traffic is to exchange links with other bloggers. In Blogger, you have two choices: A link list which is just that, a list of links to your favorite websites or a blog roll. The blog roll gives the link and a snippet of the latest post on that blog.

Whenever possible, provide links within your articles to websites, articles, interviews, etc. Here’s why. Most writers I know have set up a Google Alert for their name, each book title, the name of their series, the name of their blog, etc. Every time his/her name shows up on a search engine, he/she will get a Google Alert. If they’re like me, they’ll follow it back to your blog.

Here’s a Google Alert I received today for “Marta Stephens Author”

This was from a virtual book tour I did in December 2008 to promote the release of “The Devil Can Wait.” The funny thing is, I’d never seen this site before which leads me to my next point.

Whatever you post, make sure it’s something that you won’t mind reading 10 years later, because once it’s “out there,” it’s there forever.


Kim Smith said...


s.w. vaughn said...

Hope you had a great time at the conference!

Of course, after reading this post I had to google myself. :-) First hit's my website, second one's an old website page that doesn't exist any more (grrr) third's my blogger profile, and almost all the rest are links to my books on Amazon, Goodreads, and my publishers' websites.

You're so right about being careful what you put out there on the interwebs - you can never get rid of it!!

Marta Stephens said...

Thanks Kim!!

S. W. you've made my point re the search engines picking up your old website. Nothing EVER goes away. So watching your P&Qs today, will save you some embarrassing moments in the future.


David Ebright said...

Wish I could post 3 or 4 times a week. Unfortunately, my blog has no particular theme. I can't stand the idea of posting for the sake of posting.

Time & travel is another issue/excuse (day job). My 2nd book is ready to go but being out of town is making me hold back 'cause I know I won't be able to invest the time promoting. What a dilemma.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Marta, you always have the best advice. Now - to follow it! LOL. You're my hero - you blog consistently. I'm happy to write one column/article a week, and then I use it all over the place. It's the best I can do right now, but I am writing a ton, and that's the most important thing to me. ;o) Thanks for a great article!