Blogging for Authors—Lesson #4
Many people—not just writers—don’t understand blogs. They don’t really know what they are or what function they serve, which means they don’t know why they would need one. In fact, a blog serves as a website, and serious writers, aspiring authors and published authors need a website. That’s why it’s important for writers and authors of all types to understand blogs.
You don’t need a website and a blog, although some people have both. You can save yourself a lot of money and trouble by simply creating a blog. For non-techy writers, a blog is also the easiest type of website to use.
What is a Blog?
The word “blog” is a contraction of two words: web log. Web logs began as shared on-line journals in which people posted diary entries about their personal experiences or hobbies. Now, blogs tend to be much more targeted at particular markets and on specific subject matter.
Many still contain personal experiences or opinions or revolve around hobbies, but they are anything but personal in the sense that they are published in cyberspace for anyone and everyone to read. Composing a blog is about as public as you can get with your writing.
Blogs often combine text with images and links to other similar blogs, websites and online resources. Some blogs contain audio and are called podcasts. Some only contain videos, and are called video blogs, or vlogs.
Blogs are Websites
A blog also constitutes a type of website. For writers who may not feel they have the skills to manage a website, who have no desire to do so or who don’t want to pay a webmaster to update a website, a blog provides a way to have an online presence that is manageable by even the least tech savvy of people. I call blogs “website solutions for the technologically handicapped” for that reason. They really are pretty simple to use.
In fact, blogs are content management systems. Websites are also content management systems but they use a lot of fancy and hard to understand code. It’s like reading another language. Blogs do what they say—manage your content, but they do so without all that fancy code (for the most part). You create content, and the blog organizes and manages it in a logical manner. You will understand the language used in most cases.
Once you get the hang of blogging, you can write content, add photos or graphics and make changes pretty quickly on a day-to-day basis with little help. That means a blog is effective from a time and cost perspective.
How Blogs Differ from Websites
Websites tend to be static. They sit in cyberspace like brochures, unchanging. Blogs are dynamic. They change each time you add content to them.
When you add content, you increase the chances your blog/website will be discovered by readers and customers. Your content is filled with keywords and keyword phrases that get cataloged by the search engines. This helps you rise up in the search engine results pages, which, in turn, helps you and your blog get discovered. Most websites don’t have constantly changing content, like blogs; thus, they are less discoverable.
Plus, blogs are interactive.
- Readers can leave comments.
- You can reply to reader comments.
- You can survey and poll readers.
Why Writers and Aspiring or Published Authors Need Websites
As a serious writer or an aspiring or published author you need a “home” in cyberspace where editors, agents, publishers, and readers (fans) can find you. Reviewers and journalists also will search for writers and authors on the internet and expect to locate them easily somewhere besides Amazon.com or Facebook.
An author website provides that home. It’s where you can feature:
- a well-crafted bio
- a media kit
- social proof (well-known places where you have spoken or where your work has appeared previously as well as reviews or testimonials)
- contact details
- information on your products (books) and services
You can link a blog to your website or even embed it in a website. The easiest thing to do is to simply use a blog as your website. If you have had a website for a long time, though, you may need to consider your options. Consult with a blog specialist to find out what these are.
Want more information on Blogging for Authors? Watch for the next post in the series and fill out the form below.
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