Author Blogging in 2019 – Still Relevant?

Author Blogging in 2019…

It’s 2019 and I’ve had a few people ask me if blogging is still relevant, and more specifically if it’s relevant and important to blog as an author.

The short simple answer, yes and yes.

Here are some concrete reasons why yes, as an indie author, you should be blogging in 2019:

Search engines want fresh content.

What does that mean? Search engines give more relevance rating and weight to websites with fresh consistent content over a static website or a website that gets infrequent updates.

Key take away: blogging consistently helps your search engine rankings.

Give your readers something to read.

Blogging regularly on your author website is critical in helping to build that oh-so-important relationship with your ideal readers.

(And I cannot state how important this point is!)

As indie authors, to grow a base of loyal fans who want to read all of your words — be it books, short stories, or yes, even blog posts — you need to be blogging.

Key take away: relationship building with our ideal readers and fans is a critical part of being an indie author, and your blog is one of your best resources to do that.

Here are some questions I’ve received from indies recently concerning blogging:

But I’m already on social media, why should I have to blog too?

This one is an easy answer (that you already know the answer to). Social media platforms, any social media platform, can change the rules, their algorithms, or put your posts behind the “pay to play” wall. Think about the experience you’ve had with your own pages, and you will see it for yourself.

Over the past few years on different platforms we have seen algorithm changes which dropped visibility of posts on our author pages to near zero, at times; and we’ve seen our posts need to be “boosted” by paying money to make our posts more visible to some of those same users.

Short version: with social media platforms, they are in control, you are not. On your own website and newsletter, that dynamic changes you have control over your list of contacts and whether you make your content available for them to see.

But how am I going to find time to write social media posts for all the different social media platforms and my blog and my newsletter?

This one is surprisingly more easy than you may think. (Especially if you are using a WordPress-based websites). There are plug-ins available that will allow you share it to all of your social media platforms either automatically, or with a single click of a button.

What does that mean? That means you post once, and it goes to many places. One post… lots of visibility on different platforms… no extra work for you.

Also, don’t re-create the wheel!

Re-purpose your content. Just because someone may follow you on social media, does not mean they have seen your blog post. It also does not mean they have seen your newsletter. Even if they have, you can still re-purpose that same content effectively across all of those platforms.

What’s the point? I feel like no one ever sees it!

Two things:

      1. Refer to the ‘sharing it automatically to all your platforms’ bit above – they’ll see it.
      2. That’s why you keep doing it consistently!  You didn’t give up on trying to walk the first time you fell down (or the first 500 times!). Keep doing it — they will come! 😁

Now next week, we’ll dig deeper into blogging and how to make your blog posts more effective, read-worthy, and without losing your sanity!

So, what do you think? Drop a comment below and let us know.

How GoT Can Help You – (don’t worry – no spoilers!)

So, as a HUGE(!!) fan of Game of Thrones – books and series – my Facebook feed has been inundated with posts and memes from both sides of the opinion ‘wall’… season 8 is great… season 8 is horrible, lazy writing…

And yes, I have my own opinions on it too, of course. But I would like to offer another option for us writers — whether you are a fan and watch GoT or not.

Now, in this post, I’m specifically referencing the GoT show, not the books, because… ugh… come on GRRM – give us the last books… please!!

But, I digress… /sigh

However… here’s what I’m getting at:

Whether you watch and love/hate Game of Thrones series, or you haven’t watched a single episode… this is a PRIME learning experience as a writer.

What do I mean?

This:

If you are a Thrones-addict like myself, then gauge your own opinions of season eight. Good or bad… and objectively write them down and analyze why you have that opinion.

Is it the writing? Is it the characters? Is it the situations? Is it something else?

Look at it and figure out why — as a fan — you have this opinion and justify it – what are your reasons?

If you are not a watcher on the Wall… (and really couldn’t care less)… that’s okay – there’s a lot to be learned here for you, too!

Gauge the reactions you are undoubtedly seeing everywhere online. Take time to read some of the articles on the various websites like Buzzfeed, PopSugar and others. Even ask some of your GoT-loving friends.

(and yes, feel free to preface it with “I’m not watching, this is research” so we don’t try to wrangle you into a week-long GoT marathon!) 😉

Not that I would ever do that to someone. 🤪

There is a lot of juicy info to be learned here from this phenomenon… about reader (watcher in this case) expectations, character arcs and development, good-vs-evil, redemption (or not), and all of those things that us writers use in our own stories on a daily basis.

Whether you’re a fan or not — this is a great time to do a little research and maybe even learn a few things about this crazy rollercoaster that is the GoT final season.

What do you think?  Comment below… and please – no spoilers! 🤪😍

 

How to Choose the Best Author Website for You (Free Checklist!)

As with most things, technological advancements have completely changed the face of websites for businesses… Which also means websites for us authors.

I have been in the web development and technology industry for over 20 years, and it used to be that if you needed a website, you had to hire someone like myself, which was no simple (or inexpensive) matter.

But times —how they change!

Now with the readily available options such as self hosted WordPress, WordPress.com, (which yes, it differs from a self-hosted WordPress), wicks, square space, and others authors have a plethora of choices and options available to them.

But with great choices, comes great… Indecision.

      • Which platform is best?
      • How do I know which one to choose?
      • I’m not a techie, I don’t even know where to start!

And to be frank, while I highly recommend asking for other indie authors’ opinions, choosing the option that is best for you for your author website is a personal matter.

Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding which platform to go with:

Your Personal Comfort Level with Technology

If you are relatively comfortable, and can follow it straightforward step-by-step directions, then doing it yourself with a self hosted WordPress site may be the best option.

A self hosted WordPress site is simply a WordPress site hosted with the hosting provider of your choice, such as Go Daddy, blue host, host gator, and countless others. With a self hosted WordPress site set up your hosting account and with a one click install of WordPress you are up and running. This option gives you the greatest amount of flexibility and control however, this option is also the one that will require the most amount of comfort level with technology. Besides the initial one click install, you must choose your themes, your plug-ins, and any add-ons are extras you may want for your website –—and unless you are already familiar with these options, you would need some guidance and advice.

Your Budget

While most people think your budget is typically the main consideration, the multitude of choices you have to build your author website are, mostly, relatively inexpensive in this day and age.

However, the biggest consideration where your budget is concerned is to remember this: what appears to be the least expensive option, can sometimes turn out to be one of the more expensive.

Why? Because the “free” starter package is often so limited that to do what you need to do with it as an author, you will need to upgrade it to one of their more expensive paid packages which can often run $20, $30, $40 or more per month.

So, What’s the Difference between the Options?

WordPress.com 🔗

Authors can get started on WordPress.com for free. However, if you need to do much in the way of plug-ins to extend the functionality, use custom domain names, remove the ads, or do any social media integrations, payments, analytics, or advanced SEO you must upgrade to one of their higher level plans. For example, to for something as common and straightforward as installing plugins, or to include advanced social media and SEO options you would have to go with the business plan which is $25 per month at the time of this post.

Wix.com 🔗 / Squarespace.com 🔗 / Author’s Mojo Website Builder 🔗

These, and others like them, are known as packaged website builders. These can be a great option for someone who wants to go the DIY route, but does not want to go with a self hosted WordPress website.

These are easy, drag-and-drop style website builders that require little to no tech knowledge to get up and running and can be up and running and his little as a few minutes to an hour depending on how much you’re trying to build.

The considerations with packaged website builders is the cost. To get security, metrics, upgraded support, additional functionality such as a newsletter and list integration, and social media integration, many of these types of services will require a higher tier subscription plan.

Self-Hosted WordPress

If you are comfortable enough and want to have completely control, optimal growth ability, and one of the best price-options… then self-hosted WordPress sites are for you. Most offer one-click installs that allow you to get up and running quickly, and hosting can range in starting at just a few dollars per month.

Some of our favorites include:

DFY (done-for-you)

These author websites can range from done-for-you WordPress sites to custom programmed websites and ColdFusion, PHP or other programming languages. And as you may imagine, the price can vary wildly depending on what you’re looking for.

There are several options for DFY author websites, we here at Author’s Mojo offer 🐾 PAWsPersonalized Author Websites. This is a completely done for you package that includes a complete WordPress author website, with plug-ins and integration with your MailChimp (or other) mail list service.

(Because we think that writers should be… you know… writing… not spending time trying to figure out all the tech stuff! 😉).

It includes the first year’s hosting, and an industry-standard SSL certificate. A feature that makes our products stand out, is that we offer 24/7 tech support, where you have an actual phone number you can call if you need help that isn’t answered in the video tutorial library that come standard with the 🐾PAWs sites.

There are other options for done for you author websites, such as AuthorCats, or any website developer can build you a WordPress website relatively inexpensively, even people from freelancing services websites. If you go this route, make sure the developer is recommended and has a portfolio and history of satisfied customers. To make sure you’re getting an author website that meets all of your indie author needs, I strongly recommend choosing a developer that is also an author, or has a history of working with authors, to ensure you’re getting the best website for your needs.

To Sum up…

The option you go with, should be based on which product most meets your needs and comfort level, and your budget. Keep in mind, with your site being completely customizable such as with a 🐾PAWs site, or self hosted WordPress, you can use your website as your central hub, even having all of your blog posts automatically shared over to your various social media platforms reducing the time and work you have to put into keeping yourself active on all of those platforms.

To help make your decision-making process a bit easier, grab a copy of our quick Choosing the Best Website for Me Checklist.

(Go ahead – click – we aren’t even asking for your email — really, really! It is, actually, totally, free!) 😉

👉 Choosing the Best Website for Me Checklist

Five of our Fav Facebook Groups for Indies

Nowadays, a great number of us suffer from information overload. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the other social media networks that most of us frequent and use for our author business, the endless stream of information can be overwhelming. Not to mention a lot of the information we would like to see gets lost in the noise.

So without any extra added fluff, here is a list of five of our favorite Facebook groups to follow for any indie author working on their marketing:

So, there you have it — just a few of our many favorite Facebook groups for authors doing their own marketing online. These are just a few of some of the many fantastic Facebook groups available to and the authors, and we hope you find these helpful. Come back and leave us a comment on this post if you, too, ❤️ these groups.