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Five Blogging Tips for Indie Authors

Screenshot_1introBlogs are the core of most indie authors’ online platform, which is why it is essential to write blog posts that get seen by both people and search engines.

Before I get down to the five blogging tips, I just want to emphasise that nothing, I repeat nothing is better in social media terms than regularly posted, well-written, original blog content.

1.    Write a Headline that Tells your  Whole Story

What is the first thing people see? Your headline or post title. On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. They often see it in isolation, and often on another platform like Twitter. Does it tell enough about your story to make readers want to click through to your blog?

TIP: Keep your headlines factual, searchable and relevant. Forget smart heads or puns. Search engines don’t get ’em.

2.    Your Intro Paragraph Must be a Summary

The intro is also called a summary paragraph. Your intro needs to be short – 1 to 2 sentences. Type a search term into Google and have a look at the results. What you see there are the headlines and intro paragraphs – or beginning of them. Now understand why you need to start your intro with the really important stuff. Don’t waffle. Don’t put a little headline, or piece of chitter-chatter, at the top of your post.

TIP: Ask yourself: Will this interest people who are skimming through search results to click on my post?

3.    Photos and their Captions

Make sure that every blog post has an image. If you can, find a great photo and write a great caption.

As you will have noticed from the exercise above, search posts with photos are much more eye catching.

Photographs with captions are also more useful to you because people may use them  via other distribution channels on the web. If they are relevant, they could Pin them onto Pinterest.

TIP: Make sure your caption includes at least one of your most important keywords

4.    Schedule your Blog posts

Timing is important.  Have you hooked up your blog posts with your Facebook Page and Twitter? It seems to work better when they appear on a regular schedule. So you can schedule them on your blogging software to appear when you think you will have the largest audience.

TIP:  Check out Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Buffer. They each have different features depending on your needs

5.    Keep Your Blog posts Short and Scannable

People don’t read the same way on the web as they do when they are reading print. On the web they scan. They pick up headlines, subheadings and captions. That is why all blog posts have to employ scannable text:

  • meaningful sub-headings (again, not “clever” ones)
  • bulleted lists
  • one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
  • the inverted pyramid  style, starting with the conclusion
  • half the word count (or less) than conventional writing

TIP: After you’ve written your post, go back through it removing every extraneous word.

That’s my five. What have you found most useful as a blogging indie author?

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23 Responses to Five Blogging Tips for Indie Authors

  1. debby woods June 29, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    Number 5. Keep Your Blog posts Short and Scannable

    So what is a good length ?

    • Debbie Young June 29, 2017 at 10:37 pm #

      We aim at 600 words on the ALLi blog, with plenty of visual interest to break it up and make it easy to digest e.g. subheads, images, boldface on key points, bullet points etc. Sometimes posts need to be longer if it’s a complex topic, but the shorter and punchier a post is, the more likely people are to read the whole thing.

  2. lin lin October 21, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

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  3. John Shaw August 19, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

    I’m just reading this for the first time. Very helpful! Thanks!

  4. Emily Arden August 26, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    Good post – thanks
    I always try to add a good picture to my blog, although hadn’t thought of adding a caption. I will try that next.
    I also spend a bit of time trying to get a catchy title (including # to help with searching)

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  16. Debbie Young February 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Great post, Karen! Another tip I’d like to share is “deep-linking”, which includes links to other relevant posts on your own website at the end of the article. That way you can drive people who have come direct to one specific post to explore further – and if the like what they find, with any luck, they’ll also click the “subscriber” button (make that easy to find, btw!) and become a regular reader.

    Also, it’s always worth commenting on other blogs with a link back to your own, e.g. http://www.otsbp.com/newsblog/ – although beware that this practice may sometimes temporarily trap your comment in a spam box!

    😉

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