Friday, August 12
A Blogging Start-Up Kit
You've never Blogged, Tweeted or Facebooked but now you're ready. What to do?
First, congratulations! This is a big step, it's a lot of work, but if you're a writer, or thinking about becoming a writer, building a platform is expected and essential.
It seems that the most popular blogging platforms are www.blogger.com and www.wordpress.com. I chose to use Blogger.com rather than Wordpress.com because, while both are free to use, Blogger doesn't make one pay to take down advertisements. I know of people, though, who have a flourishing blog on Wordpress and couldn't be happier with the service.
Google Analytics. This is essential. It shows you, on a month to month basis, how the traffic on your site changes as well as what sort of traffic your site attracts.
You have your blog set up so it's time to get a Twitter account. In my opinion, if a writer had to choose between blogging and tweeting, I'd say tweet. After I tweet a link to one of my blog posts I get a spike of traffic that represents folks visiting my site to read the article.
Twitter drives traffic to my blog and my blog gives me a way to share longer pieces of content with my readers, but if I only had a blog ... well, who would read it? My friends and family, sure, but Twitter gives me a way to reach out to people I don't know. It gives me a way to connect with people looking for the kind of content I provide. Okay, that's my plug for Twitter. :)
Before I move on, here are some links to sites that help you gauge what sort of impact your tweets are having:
- Twitter Counter: While you're there, check out Twittercounter's Twitter Profile Checker and get recommendations on what to do to attract more followers.
- Tweetreach.com: Tells you how many people your tweets have reached.
- Topsy Social Analytics: Tells you how many times your tweets were mentioned.
- Klout Score: Klout will give you a score that is based on your Score Analysis, your Network Influence, your Amplification Probability and your True Reach.
- TweetGrader: Gives you a grade out of 100
- TweetStats.com: Lots of interesting stats. For instance, looks at your tweets according to number of tweets and time of day
You've got a blog and you're tweeting up a storm, the next step is to take out an account on Facebook. I'm going to admit that I should do more with Facebook so this section is as much for me as it is for anyone.
A little while ago I wrote an article on how to set up a Facebook page. I like fan pages because it removes the uncertainty of whether a writer intends their page for real-life friends only or whether they are inviting anyone who is interested in their work to connect with them.
After you're blogged and tweeted for a bit you'll find yourself looking for new content. I've found the best source of content is other bloggers and news feeds. Below are the sources I've found most useful.
Joe Konrath: A Newbie's Guide to Publishing
Dean Wesley Smith
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Passive Voice Blog @PassiveVoiceBlg
The New Yorker
Google Alerts. Interested in who is talking about you? Your book(s)? To start out with, create an altert containing your name and one for each title you have available.
This post is by no means in-depth. My goal was to give a person new to blogging and tweeting a few useful links, links that I wish I had known about when I started.
Cheers, and good blogging!