I'm talking about building a community of support. Will blogging bring readers to you (I'm talking readers of your future books)? Maybe or maybe not. But I'm not wholly sure that's what matters anymore. It matters to have an on-line presence so a reader can find you if they want to. And it matters that your on-line presence is professional. And it matters a heck of a lot that you WROTE THE BEST BOOK(s) you could.
But most of us blog because it's an outlet (to show who we are). Plus, we like the idea of a community.
And maybe that's all that matters ("if you build it, they will come"?).
With that said, I think the following TEN THINGS are important when you're blogging. They'll make people want to visit you more often and establish a relationship of support (Remember, my opinion ONLY. I'm okay if you respectfully disagree).
1. SHORT POSTS most of the time. For example, this is the longest post I've done in ages. In my opinion, your posts should be no longer than 500 words--250 words is even better, etc. etc.
2. WHITE SPACE. Please, put lots of white space between paragraphs and maybe use pictures that help capture the topic (and be sure to cite where the picture came from).
3. NO MUSIC. Stop forcing your style of music on me when I click on your page-- I CANNOT TAKE IT! :D
4. ONE TOPIC/THEME PER POST. When people jump all over the place, my first thought is always, "Geez, they could make five whole posts out of this one."
5. DIVERSIFY. If I always see the exact same kind of post (i.e. book reviews, author interviews, writing goals or tour dates), it doesn't show me who you are as a person. Unless that one topic is what your blog is touted as (then, carry on).
6. DON'T APOLOGIZE. For being gone or off topic for that specfic day/week and here's why: most of us read tons of blogs and we don't remember your "schedule". REALLY. Announce you're leaving if you'll be gone for awhile (especially if someone from your "target audience" wanders across your blog).
7. DONT ASK FOR SUGGESTIONS. Sorry, but this drives me BATTY. It's YOUR blog, write about what you're passionate about (I strongly believe that)--don't ask readers to decide for you, I'm not sure that they really CARE that much. The market is over-saturated with similar information. If you decide to change how or what you blog about (remember, diversity is nice), people will probably come back for a specific topic, but mostly they'll come back for your personality or your relationship!
8. GET OUT OF YOUR BLOGGING HOUSE AND GO VISIT OTHERS. C'mon, if you only respond to comments on your own blog, don't expect people to come back and read your reply. VARY your responses if you're too busy or you have too many daily comments to handle. Respond back in the comments section and/or through email some of the time, but also GET OUT THERE and visit others every now and then. If you expect people to come visit you, but you NEVER go see them--shame on you! It's about building relationships.
9. FOLLOW. Is it going to kill you to follow someone back? Open yourself up to others, you'll be pleasantly surprised. We all know our Google readers are hard to manage. Forget about it-click on what you find interesting and that's that, we can all forgive each other for the rest.
ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?
(cartoon network, I can has cheezburger)