I went to a regional writers’ conference in September that offered really good ideas for writers who know they should plan to do their own marketing. I know I don’t read everything that is available on the subject of blogging, so there were a lot of new ideas for me.

We all know that we need a “platform”— a way to reach the people who will be the audience waiting for our books when they are published. We have all heard that we need a blog, so those people can find us before the book comes out. But what should we write about? And how can we ever hope that people will find it?

WHAT TO WRITE:
o Research that doesn’t fit in your book!
o Sample book content;
o Expand on places/scenes in your book;
o Relevant issues in the news;
o Back stories on characters;
o Sample book content;
o Review books in a similar genre; (This I have tried. Do I dare criticize writers who have published in the field, when I have not? Is that audacious, or what?)
o What is on your nightstand.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO):
o In case you have been as out of it as I have, this means getting as many people as possible to find your blogsite! This forces me to admit that I have clearly not been on top of blogging trends. I had not read the posts that told me to watch out for this. But maybe it won’t be that difficult:
o Most important: use keywords or tags to identify ideas in your posts that are popular among people using GOOGLE to find info, answer questions, etc.
o It is apparently important to GOOGLE [I now realize that the “word” must stand for God Of … … … … … — have you figured it out?] that we post regularly. If we don’t post regularly, then GOOGLE somehow knows, and does not rank our blogs highly. Fortunately, “regularly” does not mean daily; it may not require weekly effort; and it may not even require monthly writings on the web. Apparently, it should just be on a regular schedule. (I tried to ask GOOGLE if it were true, but all I learned is that they use an algorithm to establish Page Ranks. If that is the case, regularity could be a factor.)

OTHER IDEAS FOR OPTIMIZING SITES & MAKING BLOG LIFE EASIER:
o Write shorter blog posts: 300 – 800 words; 1200 words is no longer the expected norm.
o Include one photo per page or post. Unless, of course, the whole purpose is to show off your photos. I suppose a travel journal could have more photos than text, but if the purpose of your blog is to show off your writing, let’s weight the scale in favor of words.
o It is better to renew your blogsite subscription for more than one year. Apparently GOOGLE knows that too. Longer subscriptions suggest that you can be found there for a good while, and are not just trying out this writing thing before moving on to another interest.
o There are marketing businesses that can make your site a star. There is software you can link to your blog to give you a daily evaluation. There are whole books on the subject —available as e-books, of course.
o Or you can relax, write about what interests you and connect with people who share those interests.

Good Luck!