Books: Susan Gourley/Susan Kelley!

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Making Your Blog a Hit

Marine's HeiressWriters and other professional people who use the web in their business pursuits must use their time wisely. With the plethora of social media venues available to promote a product or build a brand, no individual can maintain a meaningful presence on all of them. I’ve chosen to concentrate my online minutes on my blog.

The first year after I started my blog, Susan Says, I hovered at around forty to fifty followers. If I received five comments on a blog post, I was thrilled. I posted in an erratic manner, no particular day or regular pattern. The subject of my postings usually involved something about my writing experience. At some point, I stumbled upon a few blogs that had hundreds of followers and were so interesting I started to seek them out nearly every day. From them I learned some things. Within a year, my followers doubled and then doubled again.

Here are a few things these mentors taught me:

  1. Decide on a theme for your blog. Is it promotion, reviews, craft oriented or a personal log?
  2. Keep posts short or you’ll lose readers to the TLDR rule. Too long, didn’t read.
  3. If someone comments on your blog, respond to their comment and blog etiquette requires that you visit their blog in return.
  4. End your blog with a question or questions, leading your readers to answer and react to your post.
  5. Make it easy for people to follow your blog. Don’t put your follow button at the bottom of your sideline.
  6. Provide links to your other social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
  7. Don’t use word verification. It turns people away. Many bloggers I know will not even comment on a blog that has that hurdle.
  8. Include useful links in your posts that may in some way benefit your readers.
  9. Make a schedule and stick to it whether it’s twice a week, every day on like mine, MWF.
  10. If you want more followers, join a popular blog fest like the famous A to Z Blogging Challenge that runs every April.

Today I have over five hundred blog followers and I often have between twenty and thirty comments on my posts. Has that helped market my books? I don’t know but it is the social media type I’m most comfortable with. Being comfortable means I don’t feel like it’s hard work to keep it fresh and active. Those kindly bloggers who helped me as mentors are now my partners in a group blog we run to help other writers called The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This is another great place to build blogging contacts and participate in a once a month blog hop that will expand your circle of friends.

I’ll be relying on this circle to help promote my newest release. The Marine’s Heiress, is the second book in The Recon Marine Series. It follows the bestselling The Marine’s Queen into the outer regions if the galaxy. Recon Marine Vin searches for vengeance but instead finds duty, honor and love, but it might be too late to stop the violence he’s already set in motion. Buy it at a discount directly from the publisher for a limited time.

Thank you to the ladies for having me here again and including me in their circle of friends. Do you think you’ve done everything you can to make your blog successful? Can you add any advice to my list?

Susan Kelley has three romance series published and writes epic fantasy as Susan Gourley. She lives in Pennsylvania in a large country home with her husband and children. As a full time writer, she spends her days at the computer with a cup of coffee or hot tea at her side. Find her:

Blog: Susan Says

Facebook: Susan Gourley

Twitter: Susan Kelley

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6 responses »

  1. Yep, those are all excellent tips, and I’m not at all surprised that you’ve reached such success!

    I’ve never managed to incorporate most of those. I turned off word verification and was flooded with dozens of comments a day that were not only spam, but malware-laden spam. That can get you blacklisted with Google faster than you can say “today’s post is about”!

    I’ve also never been organized enough or had enough to say to set a schedule, and I’ve been too busy to go to any blogs on a regular basis, so I suck at all points! LOL In fact, I’m pretty resigned to sucking at all types of social media and promotional activity. All I can do is shrug and tell myself that someday I may get time to write again…

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