Attract and keep readers via blogging

Among the best ways to begin a dialogue with readers as well as keep them and the media up-to-date is by creating a blog. A link to your blog should appear on your website among the navigation links. Never underestimate the value of fresh, original content to keep people coming back to your website and interested in your books.

If you’re apprehensive about setting up a blog, don’t be. They’re much easier to construct (and far less time consuming) than a website. They’re also free (such as Google’s BlogSpot), so don’t let a company sucker you into paying for one. The blog host will offer online tutorials about how to get your page set up.

Give your blog the same name as your website. Don’t worry about there being confusion over which is the blog and which is the website; readers will be able to tell them apart. There will be much more confusion if the names don’t match, as some readers will wonder if your blog is related to your book.

When setting up a blog, you’ll need to select a template (or design) for it. Try to find one that reflects your book’s mood or subject; for example, my hiking book’s blog features a background that is a trail through a field of tall grass. If all else fails, select a generic template in which the colors come close to matching those of your website.

Your blog will include a narrow column, typically on the left or the right side of your blog entry, in which you can add all kinds of pictures, notes and goodies for reader. That a cover of your book with a synopsis of it appears at the top of this column is vital. This helps connect the blog to a book or author. The book cover ought to be linked to a page where visitors can purchase your book online.

Below the thumbnail of your book cover and its description, add a brief “Meet the Author” blurb in which you offer a picture of yourself and a bio. The bio can be the same one used in your book or on its back cover.

If you offer consulting or other services related to your book – for example, maybe you’re a financial planner who’s authored a book about how to get wealthy – also include a picture or logo of your business as well as a brief blurb advertising it. Include a link as well to your business website.

Other items that might be included in the navigation column are a list of “followers,” or other bloggers who regularly read your blog (those bloggers typically declare that they are followers or fans of your site), as well as a list of previous blog entries with links to those pages. These elements typically are automated so that you don’t have to worry about maintaining them.