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Writer's Station > Overwhelmed with thinking about starting a blog?

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message 1: by Everly (new)

Everly Anders | 207 comments Mod
The idea of starting your own blog is an exiting one, but once you start doing a little research, you realize it is also a scary and overwhelming endeavor. Here is an article that breaks down the pros and cons of each of the major blog sites.

http://ellelapraim.com/where-to-blog/

If you have a blog, it would be great if you could share your experience with the sites and let us know what you think.
* This is not a place to promote your blog, just simply talk about your experience to help others.


message 2: by Lani (new)

Lani Young (laniwendtyoung) | 6 comments Ive been blogging for almost 3 years now. I started my blog way before I ever knew i was going to write any books. I wanted a way to discipline myself into a writing habit and also vent regularly about life as a slightly Demented Domestic Goddess. I started off just talking to myself over there and it has grown slowly but surely. I dont blog about writing or publishing stuff. Its a mother/life/help Im losing it kind of blog. Last month my blog had over 20,000 visitors. I agree with the comments below - starting a blog is easy. I use Blogger.com for mine. Its very user friendly. The key is to be consistent and have a uniquely YOU voice. Write about what matters to you, intrigues you, annoys you, makes you laugh and cry. whatever youre passionate about.


message 3: by Everly (new)

Everly Anders | 207 comments Mod
Lani wrote: "Ive been blogging for almost 3 years now. I started my blog way before I ever knew i was going to write any books. I wanted a way to discipline myself into a writing habit and also vent regularly a..."

wow, I could not agree more! Congrats on your blog. Thank you for your useful thoughts.


message 4: by Steven (new)

Steven Stickler | 5 comments Elle, that was a very useful post. Thanks!


message 5: by Peggy (new)

Peggy Henderson (peggyhenderson) | 21 comments I started a blog last month when I released my first book. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what to write about, but I've come up with a few ideas recently that do not involve just talking about my books. I've also invited a few authors to guest blog. Now if only I could get people to find my blog and actually read it! lol Ahhh..the learning curve


message 6: by Mary (new)

Mary Findley | 110 comments I cried over starting our blog, but it was the "new language" of widgets and themes and all I had to learn to do just to get it to look and work like we needed it to. Our voice is not really that consistent, mostly because my husband and I share it and we write so many different kinds of books and are interested in so many things. But we never want for material. That one isn't a problem. Book reviews, political views, twitter, e-reader technology, womanhood, homeschool advice -- We do it all! :-)
http://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com


message 7: by Lani (new)

Lani Young (laniwendtyoung) | 6 comments Peggy wrote: "I started a blog last month when I released my first book. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what to write about, but I've come up with a few ideas recently that do not involve just talking ab..."
Hi Peggy, a great way to help people find your blog is to visit other blogs that are similar to yours and engage with the blogger via leaving comments, more than just "Thanks. interesting" Follow blogs you enjoy and interact with the other readers and bloggers, join the conversations and often people will click back to your blog to find out more about you and your voice. I also link all my blog posts on my FB author page, here on Goodreads, and on twitter. Kristen Lamb is a great source of info abt how to build a platform and help get your blog to grow.


message 8: by Peggy (new)

Peggy Henderson (peggyhenderson) | 21 comments Lani wrote: "Peggy wrote: "I started a blog last month when I released my first book. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what to write about, but I've come up with a few ideas recently that do not involve j..."
Thanks for the suggestions, Lani. Socializing does not come natural to me, but I am sloooowly learning.


message 9: by Lani (new)

Lani Young (laniwendtyoung) | 6 comments I hear ya! My family call me the Hermit because Im so...ummm...anti-social?! I prefer to call it "reserved" lol. Perhaps many authors are this way? I know Im more comfortable with books and writing than I am with hanging out with new people etc. This is exactly why I find social media so helpful. Ive made so many great blogger friends via my blog and other social media networks and socializing via these means comes so much easier than enduring things like...book tours/talks/signings/conferences etc.


message 10: by Bridget (new)

Bridget Bowers (bridgetbowers) | 15 comments I was terrified to begin blogging. I always have something to say about all sorts of topics until I had a blog. Then it was like all the opinions, thoughts, and comments went right out of my head.

Perhaps it was some sort of hysterical writer's block. Once I got over the hurdle and just started writing about my experiences with learning how to navigate in this social media world my posts have gotten better.

If you're looking for ways to expand your followers check around Goodreads for forums where people are sharing their blogs. If you check out theirs most will check out yours.


message 11: by Karen (last edited Feb 21, 2012 06:25AM) (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 106 comments This may be out of place, as it's a question about taking one's blog to the next level. . . . A Facebook friend of mine wanted to share one of my blog posts, but I have no share button. I've been trying to find out how to add such a button. I'm on old Blogger, as I'm afraid to mess with my templates by switching to the new version. Does anyone have any pointers? or encouragement to make the switch to new Blogger?


message 12: by Anna (new)

Anna Walls (annalwalls) Karen wrote: "This may be out of place, as it's a question about taking one's blog to the next level. . . . A Facebook friend of mine wanted to share one of my blog posts, but I have no share button. I've been t..."

I'm not sure what you use for your blog but Blogger has a share button way up at the top that allows a share to Facebook and to Twitter. There's also things under 'add a gadget' that allows you to share in other ways.


message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Baxter (smallblondehippy) | 50 comments I started blogging about 4 months ago and I'm really enjoying it. I'm working hard to increase traffic, although I'm not sure I really know what I'm doing! I agree with everyone here, that you need to find your own voice and this is something I'm working on. It's great fun though. I use blogger which is really easy to use. The only trouble is, I keep wanting to tinker with my design. I have to force myself to leave it alone!


message 14: by Mary (new)

Mary Findley | 110 comments On Wordpress, there are features to automatically share on Facebook, Twitter, StumbledUpon and Digg. I posted a review of another author's book and she knew a way to share my blog from her site. So much to learn.


message 15: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 12 comments I started blogging on Wordpress over 5 years ago and have 4 blogs there now: one for my novel, one for whatever I want to blog about, one for reading Tarot cards and one for family history. I love creating a blog and then "tinkering" with them, as Elizabeth said, and just updated the theme on my longest running blog. It seems to me that the tinkering is how you learn, yes?

Wordpress was so helpful to me when I was starting out and remains very helpful. In my opinion they have just gotten better and better but since I don't have a blog on any other site, I can't really compare them.

marimann.wordpress.com


message 16: by Sheila (new)

Sheila Hollinghead (sheilahollinghead) | 4 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I started blogging about 4 months ago and I'm really enjoying it. I'm working hard to increase traffic, although I'm not sure I really know what I'm doing! I agree with everyone here, that you need..."

LOL I had this same problem when I first started blogging. I changed my blog design several times a week.

I blogged on any and every thing to begin with. Now, I do try to stay within certain parameters. I think it's important to find a niche but not be afraid to venture out at times.

I want to have fun with blogging and not turn it into a job. I'm not in competition with anyone and just try to share a few of my thoughts.

Something I'd like to share--a friend of mine from college has been diagnosed with cancer. We had been out of touch for years when she started reading my blog. She sent me an email and told me I have been helping her through some tough times--and I never even realized it.

That makes this blogging gig all worthwhile.


message 17: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Nachlinger | 25 comments Elle, thank you for this helpful and informative post. The blog for my co-authored book is on Blogspot, and so far I've generally been happy with it. I just want something that's simple at this point! However, I'm not ruling out Wordpress for the future.
Sandy & Sandra’s Blog


message 18: by Rob (last edited Mar 06, 2012 11:08AM) (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments I've been using Blogspot off and on for a few years now and I really like the slick interface. For one things like FB shares are integrated so I don't need to sweat that kind of setup. I can also easily link to my book through it over on the side. Here are some tips/ thoughts:

Have regular posts:

I tend to write in bursts so I'll knock out 2-4 blog posts over a weekend. Then I'll schedule them to come out on Mondays and Thursdays. The content itself isn't so time sensitive as to matter if it's a week between writing and posting but what it does do is create constant "newness" to the page. What you really want to avoid is people getting out of the habit of checking your content.

Use the blog to Tease:

Write about things that have some compelling interest. What you want is to not make people visit habitually but also feel like they're missing something by not. This can be as simple as writing about your next book, to revealing some samples, to characters sketches, to commentary on what you're reading.

Experiment with Widgets for new Purposes.

I used the photo widget to put up a picture of my book cover, and then the "optional" link to send back to Amazon. There isn't a set "advertisemetn" widget that did what I wanted but I could easily recreate that with a little creativity. You don't need to beat your readers over the head but you want to make it as simple as possible to go from your blog to your book.

Use Facebook:

There's a FB App called RSS Graffiti. You put in your blog's RSS feed and it will pull posts through to your FB page. No muss no fuss and people can follow you just by liking you on FB.

And some links to help you see what I'm talking about:

Rob Osterman on Facebook
(note this is a professional page, NOT my personal facebook)

The Blog: Fictional Omens


message 19: by Nora aka Diva (new)

Nora aka Diva (DuctTapeDiva) Elle wrote: "The idea of starting your own blog is an exiting one, but once you start doing a little research, you realize it is also a scary and overwhelming endeavor. Here is an article that breaks down the p..."

I had two blogs, one that I used like a diary & kept private, one I used for book reviews. I forgot where the book review one is hosted. Not sure I want to start another one.


message 20: by Dana (new)

Dana Rongione (danarongione) | 23 comments Lani wrote: "I hear ya! My family call me the Hermit because Im so...ummm...anti-social?! I prefer to call it "reserved" lol. Perhaps many authors are this way? I know Im more comfortable with books and writing..."

I'm with you, Lani. Lock me in my office, and I'm happy. Put a computer in front of me, and I'm thrilled. Place a book in my hands, and life couldn't be any better. But place me in a room full of people I don't know, and I'm likely to cry. I'd much rather write a letter than make a phone call. And that's why I, too, love social media. I can connect with people without feeling like I'm in a room of angry wolves. Maybe it is a writer thing. I don't know!


message 21: by Dana (new)

Dana Rongione (danarongione) | 23 comments I've been using Blogger for nearly three years, and I love it. I started with one blog that was intended to be my journal, but before long, it became a devotional site. When I first began, it was just a basic blog with a basic template and layout, but over time, I've been able to transform it into a beautiful work of art. In my opinion, it is eye-catching and offers a more personal feel. Over time, I branched out to where I was running four blogs, but keeping up with all four became overwhelming, so I've cut back to two that go hand in hand.

Blogger has always been very easy to use and to understand. Even when applying new templates from beyond the Blogger website, I've had very few complications. The service is reliable, and I couldn't be happier.


message 22: by Pam (new)

Pam (pammangol) | 4 comments I started in the beginning of 2010 using Wordpress because I wanted to get established withthings friends had told me writers should try to get out there. Blogging is a great exercise and a way to write something, even if it's not working on the latest manuscript. I initially started out for book reviews, though that's tapered off a bit.

I've made a rule that I don't talk about my personal life. The blog is about writing, my experiences since getting published, and (on rare occasions) a cheeky book review. I am published under my real name and two pen names and I use the same blog for all three. Maintaining one blog is enough of a task (two scheduled posts a week) that managing more than that would take away time from actually working on my writing. I think having a schedule ( and sticking to it) for your blog posts is a must. I've followed blogs where where writer didn't do this and I lost interest.

I like Wordpress because of how easy it is for me to set up. Eventually I plann on writing some CSS to personalize it more but for now, the template I use I really like.


message 23: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments When you blog under your pen name, is that where you say "I'm Pam and I'm also published under Samantha" or do you actually have a separate account to blog ~as~ your pen name?


message 24: by Pam (new)

Pam (pammangol) | 4 comments Rob wrote: "When you blog under your pen name, is that where you say "I'm Pam and I'm also published under Samantha" or do you actually have a separate account to blog ~as~ your pen name?"I've blogged under "Kastil" as far as the author but I identify which pen name if it refers to a specfic one. My pen names are listed separately under "Published stories" and my "About Me", I believe, has the breakdown of who writes what.

The only time I'd consider another blog is if I wrote YA. Right now, my target audience is 18+ though not all my stories fall under that.


message 25: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 09, 2012 07:50AM) (new)

one reason most people are terrified of blogging is to write and write and nobody cares, follows, comments. if you're going to blog, then you have to be willing and able to read as many other blogs as possible and leave polite comments. that doesn't mean you must agree. i disagree with people constantly, but there's a right and wrong way to disagree.

i was disagreeing with someone's movie choices for a "best of..." list this morning. i make sure to make statements such as, "i'm not saying that you're wrong because i don't know enough about that film. however, i look at it like this.... so please help me understand what you meant when you said.... because i'm having trouble seeing it that way."

reading and reading and commenting are very important for building a following with blogs.

i started out with blogspot about 7 years ago. it was colorful and easily customizable. however, i switched to wordpress about two years ago because it has a more professional look to it. there are many free templates to choose from, and within most are color options and widget/gadget choices.

start one. experiment. but be careful what you post. during a court proceeding with my ex-wife, she tried to use one of my blog posts against me. i had written a piece about why i get depressed at christmas. she tried to use that in court to show that i'm suffering from a mental illness. amazing!!


message 26: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments I've had some aborted efforts at blogging and I did give up because it felt like I was shouting into the ether with none to hear me.

This time out, I've made the mental commitment that I don't care about page views. My blog is for me to put thoughts as I write and for (eventually) my fans to come read more about what I'm working on. I could get more "eyeballs" if I made the rounds of blogs and commented and tried to see if people would link back but I just don't have the time for that.

My internet time goes to writing, reading the commentaries I follow, and now Goodreads. I just don't have time to do much else.

But, I also think that the blog for me is important to establish myself and to be prepared as more and more people realize just how fishing awesome I am. :)


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

rob, good attitude. without that attitude, you won't have a chance. for me, blogging is sometimes a break from revising/editing. i'll sit in this chair here for three or four hours revising. i need a mental break, so i'll read news, check facebook, etc. and i'll see news items that i have opinions/reactions about and need to write them. one way to break writer's block is to write about something else for a little while. a blog helps with that.


message 28: by Pam (new)

Pam (pammangol) | 4 comments I absolutely agree that you've got to participate in other people's blogs.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

about a month ago i might have had 5 followers. now i've got about 50. a month ago, a good day was 20 views. yesterday i went over 200 for the first time.

it all comes from reading other blogs, making comments, good comments that ask questions so the writer knows i was really reading. many of my followers have come from other blogs, and they leave a note saying "i saw you on whoever's comments and thought i'd check out your blog. good thing i did."

i make it a point to "follow" anyone who follows me. you can either click "like" to signify that you've read someone's posts or leave a comment. i prefer to leave comments and questions. when i find a particularly good blog, i read their past entries and leave comments and questions on those too. they usually return the favor.

wordpress has a page on which you can see a chronological column of all the recent blogs of all the people you follow. i make it a point to read through them at least once, sometimes twice a day to see what others are writing and to leave comments and continue the practice. wordpress makes it very easy to keep up with others and for them to keep up with you.

wordpress has something called "freshly pressed," where someone picks 10 blogs a day and posts them on a specific page that many people read, leave comments, and many others see them and check each others' blogs. also, wordpress has a good system of "tags," so i can add search words to my blog that will bring up my page when someone searches "writing" or "novel" or anything i chose.

but mainly it comes from reading, commenting, and being polite. i'm no expert, but i'm learning. and if you use blogspot, which is nice, consider changing to wordpress. it's a better, more professional look, many customizable themes. and BEST of all, you can completely transfer your entire blogspot or blogger body of work to wordpress with just a few clicks. every picture, every post, everything. then leave one last post on that site with your new wordpress address so those people can find you.


message 30: by Mirvan. (new)

Mirvan. Ereon (mirvanereon) | 209 comments Elle wrote: "The idea of starting your own blog is an exiting one, but once you start doing a little research, you realize it is also a scary and overwhelming endeavor. Here is an article that breaks down the p..."

I have been blogging for a week now and I love it. It helps boost my creativity.


message 31: by Red (last edited Mar 24, 2012 02:34PM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 24 comments I think some could find it overwhelming, and there are definite reasons for that. For me, my blog, like my own works, are written entirely above what moves me in the moment. I hope people might enjoy them, but I write what I feel to and must write, so it is incidental really if others like or follow it. I do not write to try to gain followers or please and attract other people. As I can, I try to participate in other's blogs and do, but not just as a means to an end. I have to care about and wish to, I don't do that either just to get readership back to me.

I have my personal blog website, but separately a book blog that is exclusive to reviewing books and interviewing writers, then I have a smaller one for my indie press label. I wanted them separate because on my main blog it is, as I said, personal and topics vary from current events to my poetry someone looking for only literary topics or reviews would likely tire of it. It has more followers, but my book review sites gets far more hits regularly because it is devoted to a singular theme.

I use Wordpress and I like it for my page "Songs of the Universal Vagabond." I have a profile on Blogger, but don't really care for the interface so I never attempted to use it more than basically. All of my blogs automatically feed to Twitter, Amazon, Facebook and a few other sites as well.


message 32: by Mirvan. (new)

Mirvan. Ereon (mirvanereon) | 209 comments Red wrote: "I think some could find it overwhelming, and there are definite reasons for that. For me, my blog, like my own works, are written entirely above what moves me in the moment. I hope people might enj..."

i want to read your poetry my love but my payapal in smashwords is not working at all after a million attempts...


message 33: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 24 comments John wrote: "Red wrote: "I think some could find it overwhelming, and there are definite reasons for that. For me, my blog, like my own works, are written entirely above what moves me in the moment. I hope peop..."

A number of my poems are on my website, http://redhaircrow.com/. My collection hasn't yet been published, it's still in editing and formatting stages.


message 34: by Susan (new)

Susan Spence | 22 comments I've been blogging for over two years about life on our ranch. There are more photos than text as I also enjoy photography. Instead of wracking my brain for topics to write about, I take pictures of our animals, daily tasks, etc. and write stories around them. I don't have a huge following, but I've sold a few books from it. I've thought that I should write more essays, but right now am focusing my writing energies on finishing my second book. Commenting on other blogs does help and I would like to connect with more writer's blogs.


message 35: by Mirvan. (new)

Mirvan. Ereon (mirvanereon) | 209 comments Susan wrote: "I've been blogging for over two years about life on our ranch. There are more photos than text as I also enjoy photography. Instead of wracking my brain for topics to write about, I take pictures o..."

i wanna see your work and will review it if you want. how can i get a copy? and please follow my blog too. i just started it a few weeks ago so there a re a few entries yet, barely twenty and all of them are quite interesting. =P i wanna follow ur log if u have too. please send me a link


message 36: by Pam (new)

Pam (pammangol) | 4 comments Another thing I like doing is if I get a spark of an idea for a post, I start it in draft. I have about 10 ideas like that. When I have time, I work on them. Right now, I have two weeks worth of blog posts ready to go and scheduled (this is important to do).

I have also noticed, now that I blog on a regular basis, my followers have doubled.


message 37: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments I have also noticed, now that I blog on a regular basis, my followers have doubled.

Agreed. People are far more likely to follow a blog that they know will be updated regularly, less so if they have no idea when or if it will have new content.


message 38: by Mirvan. (new)

Mirvan. Ereon (mirvanereon) | 209 comments what is the best blogging platform??? wordpress or blogspot or tumblr?? or are there better ones =P


message 39: by Christopher (new)

Christopher (ubersoft) | 9 comments Drupal. ;-)

Honestly it depends on whether you want to manage the site yourself or not. If you don't want to bother with maintaining your own site, but you think you might want your own domain name (or might want it some day), then consider tumblr. It has some nice features and the built in community sharing tools are very good.


message 40: by Mirvan. (new)

Mirvan. Ereon (mirvanereon) | 209 comments Christopher wrote: "Drupal. ;-)

Honestly it depends on whether you want to manage the site yourself or not. If you don't want to bother with maintaining your own site, but you think you might want your own domain nam..."


oh thank you for the tip =PPPP


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

as i've said, if you want followers, follow others. if you want comments, make comments on others. it's all give and take. don't just click "like." read. show that you've read by asking questions. think how much you like when others ask questions about what you write.


message 42: by Mirvan. (new)

Mirvan. Ereon (mirvanereon) | 209 comments Richard wrote: "as i've said, if you want followers, follow others. if you want comments, make comments on others. it's all give and take. don't just click "like." read. show that you've read by asking questi..."

true!!!!!! i appreciate it when other follow me back.. some do not even care to do that


message 43: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 29, 2012 03:01PM) (new)

when someone follows me, i immediately look at their profile to make sure it's someone who is really into writing and blogging. i've been "followed" by people who are just trying to send out advertisements. if they have the niceness, for the right reason, to follow me, then it's wrong not to follow them too.

what's funny is when i look at what other blogs of followers are mainly about. i have several followers whose blogs are mainly about religion and worshipping god and higher powers. i don't think there's anything on my blog about that at all, so i wonder what caused them to "like" me. oh well, the more the merrier.


message 44: by Allison (new)

Allison Levine (allisonblevine) | 55 comments Peggy wrote: "I started a blog last month when I released my first book. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what to write about, but I've come up with a few ideas recently that do not involve just talking ab..."

I'm in the same boat I started a blog to promote my book and my experience just now I started to branch out a little and try and do q and a posts and topical posts. I'm starting to gain readers but I have a lot of work to do. I use wordpress I like it a lot its minimal and very user friendly.


message 45: by Allison (new)

Allison Levine (allisonblevine) | 55 comments Richard wrote: "when someone follows me, i immediately look at their profile to make sure it's someone who is really into writing and blogging. i've been "followed" by people who are just trying to send out adver..."

Yeah I've developed that philosphy if someone shows an interest in my blog I will follow them cause if the like what I have to say we se usually kindred spirits in some aspect. I just wish I had more time to visit all the blogs I want to!!


message 46: by Allison (new)

Allison Levine (allisonblevine) | 55 comments Ugh typing on my phone may be the death of my writing career. Sorry for typos gang!


message 47: by Mirvan. (new)

Mirvan. Ereon (mirvanereon) | 209 comments Allison wrote: "Richard wrote: "when someone follows me, i immediately look at their profile to make sure it's someone who is really into writing and blogging. i've been "followed" by people who are just trying t..."

can u suggest the best blogs i need to follow as a writer or the really interesting ones in wordpress that u always follow?


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

can u suggest the best blogs i need to follow as a writer or the really interesting ones in wordpress that u always follow?
..."


http://novelsgroundup.wordpress.com/2...

i have no idea who this is, don't know if it's a male or female, but he/she has more advice about writing than i could ever dream of. i follow him/her and search his/her site regularly.


message 49: by Mirvan. (new)

Mirvan. Ereon (mirvanereon) | 209 comments Richard wrote: "can u suggest the best blogs i need to follow as a writer or the really interesting ones in wordpress that u always follow?
..."

http://novelsgroundup.wordpress.com/2......"


oh my god thank you so much!!!!!! i appreciate it


message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

nothing to thank me for. he/she does all the work.


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