One of the most important self-promotion tools available for writers is an author website—and, more specifically, the writer’s blog featured on that website. A blog gives you the opportunity to connect directly with your readership, to contribute to the literary community, and, of course, to promote your writing.
But maintaining an effective, interesting blog that keeps your readers coming back for more can be harder than you might expect. Just because you’re a writer and have a certain mastery of words doesn’t mean you’ll be a successful blogger. Blogging requires an additional set of skills, such as putting on your marketing hat and considering what will hook your readers.
Here are the top five problems writers face when maintaining their blogs, and the tips that will help overcome these obstacles:
Problem #1: Lack of inspiration
As a writer, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of staring at a blank screen while waiting for inspiration to strike. But as a savvy writer, you should also know that writing only when you’re feeling inspired is a recipe for slow progress, wasted time, and wasted potential. Keep writing, and make sure your blog looks sharp with interesting designs and graphics.
Solution: Dive into it!
If you’re not sure how to begin your latest blog post, there’s one foolproof way to overcome that obstacle: Just start writing. It doesn’t matter if what you’re writing isn’t polished—use this time to explore ideas. In short, when inspiration can’t find you, you should go looking for inspiration instead. And remember to stay motivated and on track using these smart blogging tips.
Problem #2: Scheduling conflicts
Between work, family, friends, and writing, it’s no wonder that maintaining a blog is the first thing to fall to the wayside for many writers. There are only so many hours in a day!
Solution: Plan ahead
Create a schedule for yourself that includes dedicated time for your blog. No need to go overboard—an hour or two a week should be enough time. Be sure to make your blogging time something you look forward to by including a special treat for yourself: Schedule a walk or an indulgent snack for when your blogging is completed. (Okay, you can have the snack while you blog!)
Problem #3: No audience
Of the many difficulties associated with maintaining a blog, the most frustrating is the demoralizing effect of having little or no audience.
Solution: Consistency and patience
An audience does not pop up overnight. To be an effective blogger, you must put in the time and effort to cultivate an audience. And to do that, you’re going to have to consistently provide your readers with compelling content.
Problem #4: Not showing up in Internet searches
When you search for your blog on the Internet, it doesn’t show up at the top of the search results—and maybe not even on the first page.
Solution: Utilize SEO
Make sure search engines can “see” you by using SEO (search engine optimization). Always include the keywords or tags in your article and headline that will make you more “findable” by the top search engines, Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Problem #5: Technical hurdles
For many writers, the hardest part about having a blog is dealing with the technical demands of running your own curated space on the Internet. After all, you’re a writer, not an IT specialist! (Unless, of course, you’re an IT specialist who also happens to write poetry or prose.)
Solution: Ask for help
Enlist a tech-savvy friend to guide you, or check out helpful online resources. And if your author website is built on a user-friendly platform like WordPress, it will be much easier for you to navigate.
While it may not be easy to maintain your blog and keep it current, fresh-looking, and interesting—it’s definitely worth the effort. A blog is a great way to reach new audiences for your writing and to increase interaction with your existing fan base.
Question: What are some of the problems you’ve faced while maintaining your blog, and how did you overcome them?