How To Get People To Read Your Blog

oldpost

Following on from The Author Platform: Are You Being Cautious… Or Just Lazy?, a few readers commented that they’d like to know more about how to go from blogging into the void, i.e. me three years ago, to having ten thousand followers and 25-30k views a month, i.e. me today.

I’ve avoided doing this thus far because I don’t think you’re going to like my answer. It’s:

  1. Write good blog posts
  2. Don’t over-think it
  3. Wait.

That’s it.

(Sorry!)

Write Good Blog Posts

I tell writers considering self-publishing that the first thing they should do is make sure their book is good, because there’s really no point doing anything else unless it is. When I use good in this way I don’t mean the ‘Oh, the Booker prize judges said that book was really good’ because that’s mostly subjective and we all like different things. I mean good as in has appeal. As in someone else is going to want to read this. Lots of someone elses, preferably.

The problem is that we all think someone is going to want to read what we’ve written. I mean, of course they are. Why wouldn’t they? We’re fascinating! But in the real world, that’s just not the case.

So this is where I tell you how to write blog posts people want to read, right? I really can’t do that. We’re not talking about a checklist, or a template, or a recipe of keywords and search topics that has been proven to work for others. You can either do it or you can’t. Like writing books, I believe you can learn to do it better, but ultimately you can either do it or you can’t.

It’s the same with all aspects of social media: you either are the type of person who does it well, or you’re not. If you’re the former, you can learn some tips that’ll help you improve, and you might pick up a few tricks that make your use of it more effective, but if you’re the kind of person who hates the idea of tweeting, thinks Facebook is for teenagers and has their blog posts set to private, then I can’t help you.

Let’s just all cut the crap and admit this, once and for all.

The only good things about the Irish version of The Voice are what Bressie, one of the judges, looks like, and what Eoghan McDermott, one of the presenters, says. A couple of weeks ago he told the contestants, “remember, if you don’t get through… it’s because you weren’t good enough.”

Bressie-2

Behold: The Bressie.

Not everyone can blog. Not everyone can write. Not everyone can whistle. And if you feel like you need somebody to tell you what to blog—as opposed to the tech stuff, the how to blog—then maybe you should reconsider trying to be a blogger.

That’s the bad, glass-half-empty news.

The good, glass-is-half-full news is that if there is any little blogging spark in you at all, it should be easy to hit the right note with blogging. Going back to the similarities between blogging and writing books, I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: my favorite writing advice is write the book you want to read but can’t find, and my favorite blogging advice is create the blog you want to read but can’t find.

Why do you like the blogs you read? (And, going back to books again, would you take a writer seriously if they said they didn’t read books? I wouldn’t even call them a writer. So why do you think you can be a blogger when you don’t read blogs?) Think of your favorite five or ten of them and examine why you keep coming back to read them, day after day. I bet your reasons will include things like:

  • I enjoy reading them—they entertain me
  • They give me useful information, e.g. self-publishing info
  • I personally like the blogger and/or relate to their life. If I knew him/her in real life, I bet we’d be friends.

Do these sound familiar? If you’re a regular reader they should, because they’re the same as my criteria for creating the kind of online content that works. (Read more about that Why Promoting Your Book Online Is (A Bit) Like Fight Club.)

If you are literally starting from scratch, as in, there is absolutely nobody reading your blog right now because you started it yesterday, you can begin inviting visits by commenting on other people’s blogs. That’s the most high-tech, practical tip I can give you.

But if you want to be a blogger, you should already be reading and commenting on other people’s blogs.

Twitter is also a huge driver of traffic, but let’s focus on blogging for today. You already know how I feel about Twitter, which is the same way I feel about watching subtitled Danish TV dramas: I can’t understand why everybody isn’t already doing it.

I really believe blogging is a “build it and they will come” type situation. I know it is, because it’s what happened with this blog. If you write good blog posts that people want to read, people will end up reading them. People want more than that, but there’s no magic formula.

Picture 5

Don’t Over-Think It

I haven’t spent a minute of my life worrying about SEO.

SEO, if you’re not familiar, stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means making your blog posts, etc. as Google friendly as possible, so that people can find you. This ranges from activities such as tagging your blog posts to actually changing the wording of your posts so that Google will like them more.

Personally, I believe that for the vast majority of writers and their blogs, SEO is absolute horse feces.

Let’s think about it. If you’re selling used cars, it’s important that whenever someone Googles “used cars”, your website is sitting pretty atop the search results. For writers, it’s important that when someone Googles our name, our website or blog or an Amazon listing is at the top. Mine is, and it was back when almost no one was reading my blog and I’d only been around for five minutes. That’s because I’m the only one with my name. That’s because it got up there naturally, without the bells and whistles and time-wasting of SEO.

If you have a self-publishing blog, you might think it’s important that you’re at the top (or at least the first page) when someone Googles self-publishing. I don’t think it is. I don’t think it is because (a) there’s an ocean of self-publishing info out there so making this happen artificially (like with SEO) will be near impossible and (b) you’ll get far more traffic organically, by writing good blog posts that people find useful and enjoy, and so share with their Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, etc. And when that happens, Google finds you anyway. Most of my referral hits (as in, links that come from elsewhere) are from Google. So after subscribers, Google is responsible for the biggest chunk of my traffic, even though I forget to tag my posts half the time and if I cared any less about SEO, I’d pass out.

Good blog posts = traffic.

SEO = time that should be spent on writing good posts.

And if you do make it to the top of page 1 and the link is to a crappy blog post, what good is it going to do you in the long run?

Focus on the content instead. The content should always come first. Build it, and they will come.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think you should actively make Google hate you. That’s just being silly. As I wrote about The Writer’s Guide To Making Google Your Friend, I talked about how I use Catherine Ryan Howard instead of Catherine Howard (my real name), and how I don’t think you should use a title for your book that’s already been used for something else, especially if that something else is famous and has been around forever. You should also tag your posts (even though as I said, I forget to do that half the time) and come up with good blog post titles, because that’s just good sense.

We don’t want to hide from Google, but we only want to be friends. We don’t want to see Google naked or anything.

The same goes for questions like how long should my blog post be? and how often should I blog? and what’s the best time of the day to post your new blog posts? We’re talking about blogs, people. Don’t over-think this. They can be anything you want them to be. The most important thing—perhaps the only important thing—is that they’re good.

Wait

The important thing you can do for your blogging career is to wait.

Building a following takes time. Let’s look at my stats and blogging career over the last three years and examine in a bit more detail how I went from talking to myself to talking to, potentially, ten thousand people.

2010 PIC

Hits per month, 2010.

I launched this blog in February 2010, and the first month I had about 1,500 views. I’d been using Twitter regularly since November 2009, and held a Twitter contest (I gave away some coffee) to ensure that everyone on Twitter (probably around 300-500 followers, at that point) came and had a peek at my blog during the first month it went up.

Having self-published in March, April was when my “how to self-publish” blogs really kicked into gear, because now I’d completed the process of publishing and was able to share my experience. Blog hits jumped up in August/September, when I “revealed” my sales figures for the first six months, as those posts were shared a lot. I think what’s important here is that this graph suggests that the majority of people who discovered me through those posts stuck around.

2011 PIC

Hits per month, 2011.

2011 was the year I really focused my blog on what was appealing to people: self-publishing themed posts. Mousetrapped was out a year in March (and I shared my sales figures again to mark the occasion), and then I released two more books, Self-Printed at the very end of May and Backpacked in September. Each event was a bump up in readers. You can also see in this graph that my post-release burn out periods—where after a sustained period of enthusiastic blogging I took a little break—led to little drops, but it was easy to pick it back up again afterwards.

2012 PIC

At no time in 2012 did my monthly hit count drop below 10,000. I actually spent most of the year over the 20,000 mark. I think that’s because the quality of my posts improved—because now I’m a couple of years in and have a greater sense of perspective, so my posts are more broad-ranging opinion style pieces than step-by-step instructions, which you can get anywhere—and this led to increased sharing on Twitter, Facebook, other blogs, etc. (I think.)

The big news in 2012 was that I got Freshly Pressed, not once, which would’ve been amazing, but twice! The first time shot my hits way past the 50,000 mark, because it was a self-publishing-themed post (How To Sell Self-Publish Books: Read This First) that then also got shared a lot, and also climbed the charts over at Reddit. But it was so popular that it was clearly a complete anomaly. I’m not complaining though. I get a badge. (The blue thing over this way –> and probably up a bit.)

And for those of you wondering how do you get Freshly Pressed?, that’s the wrong question. The only question is how do I write blog posts people want to read? That’s what I did, and the post got noticed. There’s no other way to make it happen because WP editors, as far as I know, don’t take bribes of coffee and chocolate. (Although I have LOTS of coffee and chocolate. *meaningful look*) They have, however, written a post called So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed… that’s worth reading.

If you look at this graph, it shows the entire life of my blog, from less than 500 hits in month one to just under 30,000 in December 2012. But this took three years. Three years of blogging regularly, consistently and well. (For the most part!) Three years of not giving a second thought—or, as far as was possible, a first thought—to SEO, or what days to post on, or how long my posts should be.

OVERALL

So in summary, if you want to create a successful blog…

(Say it with me, now!)

WRITE GOOD BLOG POSTS.

If you think there’s some practical aspect to this I can help you with, do ask me in the comments.

But if you think there’s more to it than this, I’m afraid I have to respectfully disagree. And do you really suspect there’s more to it than writing good posts and waiting, or do you need for there to be?

A postscript

I had finished writing this blog post, and then I thought of something. Something so important I can’t believe I left it out.

I love blogging.

It’s like a relationship: I don’t particularly like it all the time, but I do, deep down, love it. Always. I started my first blog in early 2008, as a ways of keeping friends and family up to date with my adventures in Central America. This blog is my favorite thing about self-publishing, and it’s probably the only thing I would really, honestly miss if someone took it all away. When I get an idea for a blog post, I usually want to drop everything and start writing it now, although I write most of them with one eye on the TV (hence, The Voice of Ireland references in this post). It’s not work to me. It’s something I honestly, genuinely, really enjoy, and I appreciate so much the fact that there’s anyone at all out there listening—or reading, rather. I LOVE BLOGGING, and who do you know that’s good at it that hates the bloody thing?

I talked about this very subject recently at a social media panel at Waterford Writers’ Weekend. When people ask the question how much time should/must I spend on social media? my instant reaction is to think Social media is not for you. Because why would you be so desperate to quantify something you enjoy doing? Would you ask how much time should I spend chatting to my friends? (Twitter.) Or how much time should I spend reading entertaining articles? (Facebook; my Facebook friends post very entertaining links.) Or how much time should I spend writing, which is apparently what I love to do because here I am trying to be a writer? (Blogging.)

So that’s another must do. You must love blogging. Or at the very least, really, really enjoy it.

Do you agree?

60 thoughts on “How To Get People To Read Your Blog

  1. David Michael Williams says:

    For someone who once hated blogs and all they stood for (http://david-michael-williams.com/2012/03/13/why-i-hated-blogs/) but who now wants to get the most out of the precious time he devotes to his creative nonfiction and, yes, self-promotion — we’re talking about me, by the way — I thank you for above blog post.

    Personally, I think the “wait” section is the most valuable, followed closely by “write good blog posts.” I do have lots of questions about frequency, how much time a guy should spend reading and commenting on others’ blogs (at the expense of fiction-writing time), but I suspect the answer is different for each of us.

    I suspect at some point I’ll be contacting a sample of successful folks who blog about writing and publishing with a questionnaire of sorts to see how much of an investment is needed to yield “good” results. But that’s a project for another day…

    Thanks again!

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Writing good blog posts comes first, always. A blogger can wait all they want but if there aren’t good blog posts at the end of their URL, they’ll be waiting forever.

      As for investigating what successful bloggers have done to get where they are, my point is that that’s not as important as studying your own blog. Even if you do find common denominators (e.g. posting more than once a week, posting in the morning, etc.) it won’t cancel out the most important fact, which is that they’re all writing blog posts people want to read, and they’re doing that, first and foremost.

      For example, I want to be an internationally bestselling author. I could find 25 of the world’s bestselling authors and put a questionnaire to them about what they’ve done to get where they are today. There’d probably be many common factors — more than one of them might have got an agent first, or got up early in the morning to write their novel, or sent a one-page synopsis, or written a series, etc. — but they’re all only after the fact of writing a good book that other people want to read. So my time is better spent figuring out how to do that, as opposed to worry about what font my submission should be printed in.

      I think the same, generally, goes for blogging.

      • David Michael Williams says:

        While I don’t dispute the basic premise that “good” blog posts are more likely to get readers, followers, and so forth, I have more than a few reservations about building my writing habits around that philosophy alone.

        We writers all know (or should know) that a certain amount of marketing savvy and expertise in self-promotion now comes with the territory. There’s just no getting around that. And so a fiction writer like myself must decide how much time to devote to fiction and the nonfiction that, one hopes, will buoy his primary passion. I started a blog, follow other blogs, comment on other blogs, created Facebook and Twitter accounts because I want to build up my credibility and to share what I know/what I’ve learned with others. But there is an inherent competition between the craft and the promotion of the craft…a balancing act, to be sure.

        And think of it this way: If everyone who writes a book starts a blog, that’s an insane amount of blogs vying for attention. Sure, a travel writer will have a certain niche, and someone who is primarily interested in romance novels will likely attract readers and fellow writers of that genre. But still, one wonders how many different blog posts need to be written about self-publishing or story arc or how to write a blog to promote your book.

        Among the reasons I am interested in polling “successful” bloggers is that I want to make sure there truly is a payoff: that increased subscribers result in increased book sales…and that the time taken from book writing pays for itself through all of the various promotions.

        And I must admit that I become skeptical when I see how many followers certain blogs and Twitter accounts get when the quality just isn’t there. I understand there’s a certain amount of quid pro quo when it comes to this kind of networking, but why work towards thousands of subscribers if they are only subscribing so that I subscribe to them. Social media too often becomes an echo chamber, and my time is too precious to play a numbers game. I’m looking for value and that includes defining what makes a successful blog.

        I hope I don’t come off as too terse. I appreciate your feedback!

        • catherineryanhoward says:

          No at all, don’t worry. Thanks for commenting so thoughtfully.

          I guess the main thing with me is that although promoting my books may have been the push behind starting this blog, it’s really not the reason anymore. I would guess that only a tiny fraction of my blog readers have read my books, so although I do mention them and of course there’s pics in the sidebar and stuff, my blog posts/hits don’t really relate to my book sales. My blog hits have gone up and up, for example, but my e-book sales have leveled out. Yet I probably put more effort into this blog (and enjoy that effort) than ever.

          It all boils down to what you want, and what you like. But at the end of the day I still stand by my assertion that before all other considerations, you must start with a blog that people want to read. That’s a blog of good posts.

          • David Michael Williams says:

            Thanks for taking the time to write back. I’m still trying to hold out hope that the cream really does rise to the top in this brave new world of the “democratized web.” That goes for both blogs and fiction!

            Take care!

  2. catherinelumb says:

    This is a fantastic blog post and a testament to why your hits have increased year on year. You blog well – partly because you love it, partly because you write what we didn’t even know we wanted to read!

    I do get a little obsessive about my Stats page and have only had 4,000 views since I began in 2011. I want to improve this, but at the same time I started the blog to encourage me to commit to my writing goals – not to become a worldwide blogging sensation! (though I understand these aren’t mutually exclusive – case in point right here!)

    Having only 120 followers still makes me feel responsible to update my blog regularly and give them an insight into my writing journey. It means that I’m more reflective about my ambition to become a published writer and feel that I am making progress, hopefully demonstrated by my posts.

    I haven’t quite ‘got’ the social media bug – I still have doubts that anyone really cares enough to be interested in my little corner of things. But, I’m lurking in the background waiting for my inspiration. In the meantime, reading posts like this one reminds me why I enjoy blogging and the reasons I set out to do it in the first place.

    Thanks!
    Cat x

  3. Jamie Clarke Chavez says:

    Great post. I’m in complete agreement with you. I did not have a Twitter presence before I began blogging, but I definitely saw a jump in subscribers when I began tweeting. It made a believer out of me. (I wish my numbers were as good as yours! However, I see two differences: I don’t have access to Freshly Pressed in spite of being a WordPress blog, since I’m self-hosted; I also am not selling anything from my blog and do not make reference to my business from the blog in terms of looking for work.) Nonetheless, I’ve seen a steady increase in traffic. And your mention of tweeting a contest to get folks to look at your blog is intriguing; I’ll give that a whirl. Otherwise, thanks for the encouragement. I think I’m on the right track.

  4. risingwoman says:

    Ah, reality! How I love thee!

    Thank you so much for posting those blog stats – I have had my blog for just over 3 months and I am enjoying watching the numbers and followers climb steadily. I have been patient, and I am good at waiting. But it’s so great to SEE how a blog following can be built up with time, hard work, and (of course) great content.

  5. evahudson says:

    I really WANT to like blogging, but I don’t think I’ve found my niche yet. I could probably rattle on about self-publishing for post after post (it could be my specialist subject on Mastermind by now), but I’d really like to appeal to readers of books rather than just writers (I know writers also read, but there’s only so much time…).

    Whenever I consider ways to make blogging a joy (like it obviously is for you) I’m reminded of the t-shirt with the slogan “More people have read this shirt than your blog” and I get to thinking – who gives diddly whatnot about what I’ve got to say?

    Do you think maybe I’m over-thinking it? >:} (that’s a confused face btw)

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      There’s plenty of time to find your niche. I had an awful blog for 3-4 months before this one, and the first year of this I was still trying to figure it out all. And I do think you’re over-thinking it! The clue is in the fact that you’re thinking ‘am I over-thinking this?’ ;-D

      And I NEED one of those shirts. Where can I get one?

  6. theftandsorcery says:

    This sounds like the kind of advice that lazy old me actually can get behind!

    But seriously, I started my little blog just over a month ago, and I’m actually rather surprised at how many people seem to stumble over it and then decide to follow me, and I am enjoying doing it too! I have no idea whether I’ll keep up a big enough stream of topics to still be going in three years’ time, but so far I’ve come up with about three ideas a week, and I only post weekly. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going.

  7. Sherry Carter says:

    I love this post – and boy, did I need it! Especially the “Wait” part. I tend to throw a party of success before the horse is out of the gate 😦
    I LOVE blogging! I write an article for my website every month and I find the simplicity of my blog posts so much fun. But…I’ve been blogging for 6 weeks, yes, I said weeks. I have to fight being down because I have only 5 followers – including me and some friends I’ve bribed! So I need to WAIT!!
    (selfish promotion: sherryjcarter@blogspot.com It’s wonderful – trust me!)

  8. Carolyn Mustian says:

    Thank you, Catherine, for this encouraging post. It confirms my suspicions that I should worry less about “rules” and “expert” advice (who defines expert?) and simply be myself in my posts. I feel somewhat like Alice in Wonderland tumbling into the self-publishing world first, and then finding a land of social media tools afterward. Though I wander about in this strange new world, there’s a lot to learn and see; new people to meet and new adventures to explore.

  9. writerlyderv says:

    Thanks for reminding me of the one thing I forget – to enjoy it. Too much emphasis is placed on what people ought to do on social media. It’s time to think about what you want to do. Oh, and thanks for zinging our panel discussion, one of the highlights of my year so far.

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      I think if people stopped worrying about what they “ought” to do, we’ll all be better off! (In all aspects of life!) 😀

      For example, people are obsessed with how often you “should” blog. You’ve probably noticed this yourself; the question often comes up. But we all blog at different rates, and even I’ve gone from blogging every day to blogging once a fortnight and back again. It just doesn’t really matter, does it? We should all just have fun, and do what we enjoy. That’s the main message.

      P.S. You don’t mean zinging in the critical sense do you? I wasn’t doing that at all, I was just talking about the discussion of the question…? I’m sure that’s not what you intended but just in case! ;-D

      • Opinionated Man says:

        What I mean to say, I was in a rush, was that your statement about good posts is partially true. I disagree with the waiting part, that is a good way never to get a visitor other than your mom. Interaction is the key to gaining an audiencein blogging. I only point this out because some of your commenters misread your post and seem to think followers will magically come to them. Very few will, even with great posts, you have to go find them!

        • Kira Lyn Blue says:

          I actually have been trying to follow the advice I found on Opinionated Man’s blog and it has helped a lot. I’m new to the blogging deal, but it seems very much a community and connecting with other bloggers helps. The more involved you are in other blogs, the more people will be interested in what you have to say.

          Get out and read other blogs. Like posts you like, follow bloggers you like, and get involved in comment threads. You still need good posts, but it’s much like having any other product to sell: you don’t have to wait for people to come to you, you can be proactive about getting yourself out there.

  10. Ann Kilter says:

    I have to say that you do write stuff that I want to read. 😉 That’s why I am following your blog.

    I do think it is good to find a topic that interests you. I am coming along a lot more slowly, but then the community I write to (autism community) is smaller in terms of numbers. I have two blogs. One that is focused narrowly (autism), and one that is more general. I have more difficulty with the general blog – maybe because it doesn’t have a focus. Also, “autism” does come up more easily in the search engines.

  11. beautifulorange says:

    Just to add to the surge of support… that’s a great post. You told it like it is! Sure, there are other things you can do to build up followers – but I think that most of those are ‘false’ followers ie. people who may come to visit once or twice but aren’t really interested in what you have to say. I started my blog a month ago purely to motivate myself to keep on writing my novel – because I was going through a lull. It’s great that I’ve picked up a load of followers and that they comment on my posts… but I just write what I feel like writing, I don’t write cynically to gain support!

    So basically, good on you. Carry on!

  12. Alta Walters says:

    I’ve learned that I like blogging. I’ve learned that my relationship with blogging, though it began on the false pretense of shameless self promotion, is a different kind of friendship. I’ve learned that people like your blog better it you’re technically adept enough to add photos from time to time. (Thank God wordpress makes that easy.) Otherwise it’s just a matter of patience.

  13. georgianaderwent says:

    As one of several people who made a plea for an answer to this on your last post, thanks for the fast and detailed response. I sort of assumed that would be the answer (ie that there’s no magic formula) but it’s good to have it spelt out. I’ve definitely noticed my blog (and indeed my book) starting to gradually get more and more readers over time – hopefully I’ll keep making an effort and it’ll keep improving.

    I couldn’t agree more on the enjoying it point. I only started blogging because it seemed to be something you had to do if you wanted to promote a book, but more and more I’m starting to think of it almost as a standalone endeavour. Posts like this one from over the weekend have increasingly little to do with my actual novels and I’d carry on writing things like this even if I stopped self-publishing: http://georgianaderwent.com/2013/03/31/boat-race-day/

    However, as my main aim is still meant to be book promotion, do you think that posts that go off at this much of a tangent are a good idea or a bad idea? It’s a post about the Oxford and Cambridge boat race. The only connection to my series is that the books are set in Oxford, but the books aren’t even mentioned in the post..

  14. deborahjay12 says:

    Great post! And so timely 😉 I published my first blog post – yesterday!
    Initially I decided to blog because ‘that’s what writers need to do to get noticed’, but the more I’ve delved into blogging and prepared some pages, the more I’ve realised that I’m gonna do this because I love sharing things, and that seems to me to be a good basis for a blog.
    I wondered about a niche for some long time, then came to the conclusion (after getting into a conversation with David Gaughran on his blog) that instead of trying to blog about self-publishing (just getting started with that), I would share my area of expertise – and so I am going to be producing ‘Horse Tips for Writers’ – which eventually should become an ebook.
    It’s a small niche, for certain, but I haven’t seen anyone else there, and lots of genres have horses in them. I’m a pubished author on the subject, and my day job is training/teaching competition horses and riders – and I am a comulsive teacher so can’t wait to get going with this new outlet.
    I’m self-publishing my fantasy novels (with horses in them, of course!), so I’ll be blogging about that as well – should keep me going for a bit!
    Oh, and such a good point about reading and commenting on other people’s blogs – I’ve just added the blogs I’ve signed up to so far on the ‘About me’ page on my blog and found I follow thirty.
    I think you can safely say I’m enjoying blogging, even though I’m such a newb 🙂

    • Cynthia Ripley Miller says:

      Deb: I’m a historical novelist for the Roman era and yes, I had to find a forum comprised of horse owners and riders. So, sounds like a great idea for a blog.

      Catherine: I’m new to blogging as well. When you talk about ‘tags’ how do you think they benefit a post?

  15. Tracy Campbell says:

    Hi Catherine,
    Thank you for sharing your candid views about blogging.
    I blog, but just once a week. I spend most of my time reading other blogs to learn something new.
    Keep up the great work.
    Tracy

  16. marilynslagel says:

    Catherine, this post just lifted my spirits! My blog on WP is new and I know it will take time to grow a readership. I would love it if you would check it out. Read your blog faithfully!

  17. Judy Millar says:

    It’s clear you enjoy blogging, Catherine–and I enjoy reading what you write because of your wry humour (so many blogs are dry rants). I’m always surprised at how long your blog posts are. I’ve heard that 300 – 500 words is ideal but readers stick with yours for much longer because of good info and good fun. Curious how long a typical blog takes you to write and post?

  18. Widdershins says:

    Emegherd! The Emperor really isn’t wearing his SEO’s!!!!!

    Truth is, right from the beginning of my blogging career, (well over 2 years ago now) I could never reconcile what I wanted to post and how I wanted to write it, with tucking in specific words just to have this mysterious ‘higher ranking’.

    Even if someone did click on my blog specifically because I was on the first page of a Google search, If I hadn’t written something they wanted to read, they wouldn’t stick around!

    A while ago I resolved the whole issue for myself by deciding that I would continue to write whatever I wanted, and if I had time (hah!) I would check for any keywords and respond accordingly. Funnily enough I don’t appear to have found and spare time yet, I’m too busy writing.

  19. mandilynnwrites says:

    It’s horrible because getting a following really is just…simple. The hardest is starting up but once you get the ball rolling you’re golden. My following is on YouTube and for the longest time I struggled to gain a following but then I discovered the BookTube community (I do writing advice videos). Just waiting an commenting on book reviews has helped gain a following 🙂

  20. mrscarlielee says:

    Loved your blog, thank you. I was thinking about starting one (but then couldn’t imagine who might read it). Thanks to you, I know that I would like to read it, so that’s good enough reason. It’s going to be about dog walking and nature, which sounds very boring, but I love all that sort of thing (like Jilly Cooper’s Common Years).
    Totally inspired – totally grateful!
    Thanks again,
    Carlie

  21. Karen Wyld says:

    Great post, thanks for telling like it is Catherine. And for putting SEOs back in their cage.

    Being new on the blogging scene myself, for me your words bring up the image of attending a social gathering alone; a frightening prospect for an introvert like myself.

    You need to be a good communicator (write interesting posts on your blog and thoughtful comments on others’ blogs), don’t misjudge strangers ‘ body language or be paranoid (don’t overthink things), don’t expect to make friends instantly (wait) and have fun (love blogging).

    Blog world, and other forms of social media, is no different than the ‘real’ world really…..so we need to remember to be real, be ourselves…..and eventually we will make new friends, peers, and maybe even fans.

  22. Katherine Alva Cerulean says:

    Wonderful!
    It gives me hope. I too have a bit of a problem in that I don’t love Twitter, but I do love blogging (and novel writing!) so I’m going to focus on that and build up a love affair with Twitter later.

  23. Lily Paradis says:

    Reblogged this on Lily Paradis and commented:
    I normally don’t reblog, but this post is the epitome of everything I think a lot of writers struggle with, and Catherine Ryan Howard’s success is definitely a beacon of hope for the rest of us!

  24. CF Winn says:

    I love posts that give practical, low maintenance advice. This one did, except if you consider the soothing of the ego as we “wait” for “them” to come… Thanks for reposting!

  25. Rosemarie says:

    I am just starting to share my life story. I figured awareness is the key to ending domestic battery and all the horrible things associated with it. I just wrote my first blog. It is not great but it is a start. I loved your blog and all the great advice in it. Hopefully my life will spark some interest. I think sharing my story will be of great benefit of other women who feel stuck. Thanks ( http://myperspectivediffers.blogspot.com/)

  26. Kelly Kuhn says:

    Thank you for this post. It had the best of blogging for me – valuable information with a personal (believable, likable) voice. I appreciate your candor with the numbers because I’m a huge fan of proactive honesty, and you’ve helped me cool my jets. It’s all about balance.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  27. Elle Knowles says:

    Sooooo….I’m still doing the baby steps, and reading your book – Self-Printed… – and your blog every time you post, and even your archives! I learn something new every day about writing, blogging, self-publishing, and social media. I’ve procrastinated in some areas (a twitter account, book trailer, posting regularly) but now it’s time to get hopping! Thanks so much Catherine, for all you do to help others in this very time-consuming, frustrating, demanding, and sometimes irritating process of getting our books out there! And yes, I do love, love, love, love blogging. I think in the long run it will make me a better writer.

  28. Elle Knowles says:

    I agreed with you on the blogging part…If there was a way to be a professional blogger and forget the writing/publishing parts (I do love that too) I’d do it! Like you said, When I get an idea I want to write that blog that very second!

  29. educater21 says:

    Very inspiring and well written post. It puts things into perspective for me. I started my blog with a different focus two years ago and only published one post. After an attempted robbery in which I almost lost my life and my ability to speak, I re-started my blog. The traffic is almost nil but I guess I have to wait and also start communicating with other bloggers.

    You are so right though. I love blogging now. I really used it as a form of therapy at first but now it has become addictive. As far as readers go I don’t worry I just need to say what comes to my mind.

    Thank you.

  30. Daniel Brennan says:

    Great blog post. I love it; and the information you have provided for me is incredible. I am 20 years of age and about to self publish my first ever book. Thank you for all the help, inspiration and guidance. Thank you!

  31. Jon (Jerry) Laiche says:

    As always, Catherine, you’re right on the money. But sadly, I am one of those people. What people? “but if you’re the kind of person who hates the idea of tweeting, thinks Facebook is for teenagers and has their blog posts set to private, then I can’t help you.” Before I discovered your blog, I was tweeting for about a year, still have two Facebook pages a personal one and a project one, I still like to blog-but can never think of anything to blog about, and I dropped out of LinkedIn a long time ago.

    I am of the generation that was raised NOT to talk about themselves. I can’t seem to get past that bit of my heritage. You know the old saying, some variation on “A wise man is one who keeps his ears open and his mouth shut.”

    But I am having a ball writing and publishing my books and blogs and I stillI like reading your blogs. Anyway thanks for all the advice, good luck at Trinity (it is Trinity, isn’t it?), and keep doing what you’re doing.

  32. aliyamcreynolds says:

    You make some awesome points! I’ve got two blogs, one where I talk about writing and another where I review movies. That on top of me working on my novels and doing all of the social media stuff can be daunting. I’m glad my passion for it all keeps me going! ^.^

  33. emilyardenauthor says:

    Great post – thank you. I love the bit about speaking into the void – that’s pretty well where I feel I am at the moment… I’m working on it, and trying to write the best posts I can as I share my journey towards becoming an author. So much to think about!

  34. Regina Clarke says:

    Thank you! I came across this post via Joanna Penn’s blog and so glad I did. I just set up a website a month ago and have been SO worrying at the SEO part and the learning curve–how could I make my blog seen/known–looking at all the things I don’t know about Google algorithms–eeeks, etc. I have been so serious about it. Truly a believer, I was in a maze of unknown methodology that I had yet to grasp and despaired about.

    Then I read this post and laughed out loud at the SEO remarks (and others) and felt a weight lift from me, a sense of great respite and relief. You are right. I have so fretted about time spent on the vagaries and videos by experts on “selling” my blog that it has already dented focus on the writing for the blog–the only part I actually enjoy!

    Thank you again. Wonderful. Like a prison escape…

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