on the blog
An author blog is a great way to make your content marketing strategy more robust. In this article, we will dive into how to start an author blog from hosting to publishing your first post!
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If you don’t already have an author website, then you will need to treat your blog as the creation of a website.
What does that mean?
You need to choose a great web hosting service.
There are a lot of options out there, but for developing a WordPress blog – which is what I highly recommend – you will want to go with the best of the best: Bluehost.
Bluehost offers affordable and reliable web hosting services. They are rated #1 for WordPress Hosting and offer 1-click WordPress installation.
It is perfect for a first time blogger, including a robust, 24/7 help center, a 30-day refund to guarantee your satisfaction, and a free SSL License.
Considering my SSL License cost me $80 (before I knew about Bluehost) you will definitely be saving money!
Bluehost offers three different hosting plans. Because you are just getting your author blog started, you will want to go with their “Shared” plan.
Once you increase your blog’s traffic, you can consider moving on p to the VPS or Dedicated hosting plans.
However, no matter which plan you go for, you will have access to the sign-up perks:
All for the fantastic deal of only $2.95/month.
Other perks of the Shared Hosting BASIC Plan:
Creating the Perfect Blog Post
Having an author website in the past, as well as an author blog, I learned a lot about productivity and organization the hard way.
It took me years to finalize and master the perfect blog post.
Fortunately, I’m going to dive into crafting your first post, and I will discuss organizational techniques and best practices that have grown my blog traffic like crazy.
When I first started blogging about marketing, I would often decide on the title before I wrote the content.
This was a problem. Whenever I did this, I would typically run into writer’s block.
With the title set, it was as if all creativity flew out the window. I couldn’t explore anything outside of the title.
While I do believe outlines can be fun to create prior to writing a blog post, life is just better when you finalize the title at the very end.
For creating titles that rank well via search, I suggest utilizing CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.
This is something I only recently started doing, and it has made a huge difference for backlinking.
Backlinking is an SEO technique where you link to in bound and out bound material across the web to establish your blogging credibility.
You want to link out to valuable articles similar to your own from reliable sources, as well as to other articles you have written.
When it came to in bound links, I never had a problem. It was easy enough to remember to link to Tuesday’s blog post here and there.
With out bound links, however, it would take me at least an hour to find articles I read on Pinterest or Medium earlier in the week that inspired my content.
The simple solution was to bookmark what I read! Maybe that’s common sense, but in the moment of reading them, I just wasn’t thinking about it.
Now, I have a specific bookmarks folder on my laptop, as well as a secret Pinterest board.
Any time I’m stuck on which outbound links to include in an article, I simply sift through my reads.
Going along with the previous point, you should be reading other blogs related to your niche.
Many authors have a blog, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a role model.
This doesn’t mean copy their content. You still need to be original in your writing.
However, it’s okay to take notes.
Follow some top author bloggers, because what’s working for them should – theoretically – work for you. You’ll just need to adjust it to your brand.
Here are some author blogs to get you started:
These are just a few I have glanced at over the year and been impressed with. Hopefully, they will be helpful in getting you inspired!
Back in 2013, when I very first started blogging, I didn’t know anything about SEO nor did I care.
Now, trying to make a living from my blog, I’m very much invested in its performance.
However, optimizing your content isn’t just to make money Maybe that’s not even on your radar.
It really comes down to visibility. You want others to find and read your blog. To do so, you need to provide not only valuable but long content.
Some of the best performing blog posts out there are around 3,000 words. However, I have found the sweet spot on my blog to be between 1,500 and 2,500.
The key word in this piece of advice, however, is valuable. Don’t rant for 12 pages without delivering value. That will count against you per SEO best practices.
It’s also a good idea to assist in readability (the flow of your content for the reader) by breaking up paragraphs. Use this blog post as an example.
I do my best to keep my paragraphs or “blocks” to only two or three sentences. I also keep my text large and in an easy-to-read font.
How often do you read a blog post on the computer? Not as much as on your phone, probably. That goes for most mobile-users, which means your author blog needs to be responsive.
Having a responsive blog simply means it works across various devices while emphasizing the same readability as it would on a large desktop.
Several website builders have responsiveness built into them, so you can visualize how your content will look on mobile.
I use Elementor Pro to build my blog posts, as well as check how they will look on a tablet or cellphone.
You can also use Elementor to craft your entire author website. I love that it comes with a pop-up builder, too, so I don’t have to pay for a separate service to create pop-ups for my website (like a subscription form).
Remember that, at the end of the day, it’s a blog. Even if you decide to tackle technical topics, it’s important to use first person and to use your personal experiences to back up claims.
This will help your readers connect more with your writing.
Your personality is part of your author brand, or it should be. So, it’s okay to implement it into your posts.
It’s just like on this blog. When I recommend one of my favorite products for author marketing, like Tailwind or ConvertKit, I make sure to talk about my personal experience with the product.
Maybe you want to do book reviews. In that case, it’s a good idea to insert your personal opinion, because that’s what readers will come back for (especially if it’s valid).
Getting Your First Post Out Into the World
After you have proofed and reviewed your post, you can publish it.
Congrats! You did it!
The next step is to get people to actually read it. This comes down to your marketing strategy.
The one I’ve outlined below is my personal marketing strategy for my blog posts. Feel free to steal it, customize it, whatever you want to make it work for you!
My primary resource for post referrals is Pinterest. That means a lot of my marketing efforts focus on Pinterest.
To create my “pins”, I use Canva. Canva offers a free trial and has a really awesome free version of their pro account.
Unless you’re making graphics left and right, you probably don’t need a pro account.
I enjoy the pro account for the free stock photos that come with it.
It makes designing my pins easier, too, because the pro account gives you access to several amazing templates.
To craft a pin people will actually click on and repin, I suggest using bold fonts and faded images.
You don’t want your text to fill the entire pin, but you do want it to be the center of attention: that’s where the bold text comes in.
You can place the image in the background, or you don’t even need to use an image (although images tend to perform better).
When first creating your pin, you also want to be sure you follow a 2:3 ratio. You can go as large as 728 px by 2800 px.
I love Tailwind. There is no doubt about that.
It has grown my blog so much in the last three months that I have paid for it. Just check out these Tribe results!
Tailwind also has an amazing auto-scheduler for your pins.
Basically, it will generate a schedule based off when your followers are most active. All you have to do is plop your pins in, and it will do the rest!
Several bloggers use Tailwind for their Pinterest marketing. Although I’ve never used the Instagram portion of Tailwind, I have also heard phenomenal things about their auto-posting.
I also like to prepare some longer lead-ins for posting to any Facebook or LinkedIn groups.
When crafting your lead-ins, you want to be able to include a call to action or CTA. I go over what makes a great CTA in this article.
I also like to make sure I’m not just copying and pasting and rearranging text. It’s essential to really come up with different lead-ins each time.
That way, you can easily plug them into your automated scheduler, and you won’t need to worry about it looking like you’re posting the same thing over and over again.
I like to pull lots of related photos from Pixabay and Canva, making sure to attach a different photo to every lead-in. Again, this is to ensure your social media feed isn’t crowded with the exact same content.
After I have my lead-ins written, I will import them to my automated scheduler, Sendible.
Sendible is used at the small marketing agency I work at, and my boss allows me to have a separate account under theirs. This enables me to get pro features without the payment.
In all honesty, I don’t recommend Sendible unless you need to juggle several accounts across various clients. It’s just not practical for posting just your blog posts.
While I have not used Buffer, I have used Hootsuite in the past. It was great for what I needed at the time – which was the basics.
I always like to give my email subscribers exclusive extra content. I do so by expanding on my blog posts.
Typically, it’s a single tip or piece of advice I deliver directly to their inbox.
I will often send them freebies too.
Part of my blog post marketing strategy is crafting this exclusive email and queuing it to send about 24 hours after my post is published.
This allows the email to be a bit of a reminder to check out the blog post.
You can craft amazing emails and deliver freebies with something like ConvertKit.
ConvertKit was designed by creators for creators – which is awesome because that means it’s really user-friendly.
You are their ideal customer, and they offer an affordable plan option for beginners.
ConvertKit also creates landing pages and forms, so you don’t need a third party to do those to collect subscribers.
It really is a cost-efficient solution to proper email marketing.
That’s all I have for you, today! Just remember that you will want to take a look at your posts every month to see if there is any room for updating them.
Oh, and also, the more evergreen content you create, the better! This is content that you can pretty much promote forever – even when you’re home sick!
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