Writers know blogging is important, and not just because we have to build that mysterious thing called a platform, but also because it's a great opportunity to fulfill the first rule of writing: writer's write. But still, again and again, the question looms large: what to write about?
The following points are inspired by The Book Designer's post.
What to do:
1. Figure out what your blog is about.
When I began this blog I thought I might write about the experience of writing and post excerpts from stories I was working on. I also thought about making my blog focus on one small area such as, say, apps for the iPad.
I guess it's about both those things since I decided to focus on anything writing related with an emphasis on topics relevant to the self-published writer.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately!) that excludes as lot of subjects I think are important (the debt crisis) or worthy of coverage (the famine in Somalia) or just downright cute.
2. Post consistently.
This is something I have trouble with. I shoot for twice a day with a tweet or two thrown in if I come across an article I think would interest my readers.
Of course--as anyone who reads this blog knows!--intentions are one thing and execution quite another. If I blog and tweet once a day, I'm happy. (If anyone comes across an article they think would be good material for this blog, send it to me!)
3. Be considerate.
If someone takes the time to leave a comment, thank them for it.
Also, I think being considerate means taking points (1) and (2) seriously. Even though I think this video of Big Dog is amazing (and a little bit creepy) doesn't mean my readership wants to see it.
Similarly, just because I watched I Am Number Four last night and feel it would be a public service to tell everyone it was the worst movie in the history of bad movies, doesn't mean that's something I get to include in my blog. (Unless, that is, you can find some way of sneaking it in. ;))
4. Google Analytics is your friend.
Your best friend.
Blogging can be lonely. How do you know if anyone is reading your blog? How do you know if your numbers are going up or down? When people do read your blog, what do they most want to read about?
Google Analytics can help you answer all of these questions, and many, many, more.
I was going to say a few words about how to use Google Analytics but that is a series of posts all on its own!
5. Get feedback directly from your readership.
After all, who knows what they want to read about more than your readers!
Comments are already available on most blog posts but it's easy to give people polls if, for instance, you're trying to decide between book covers and would like feedback.
6. Be lucky.
Blogging is like anything, you can do your best and results can take a long, long, time in coming. Sometimes you might wonder if it's worth it. As long as you persevere, keeping steps (1) through (5) in mind, you'll develop a readership.
Photo credit: "Maximum Comfort" by Alan under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0.