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  • [NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] 10 Blogging Tips for Authors
[NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] 10 Blogging Tips for Authors
Written by
Meghan Ward
November 2012
Written by
Meghan Ward
November 2012

For those of you who are new to blogging or still thinking about setting up a blog, here are some of the "Best Blogging Practices" I teach my students in my Blogging for Beginners class at the San Francisco Writers' Grotto. Have a great Thanksgiving next week. I'll see you on November 29!


1. Bookmark Your Blog

It's easy to forget the URL for your blog dashboard, so be sure to bookmark it. On my browser toolbar, I have one bookmark for my blog and one for my dashboard, so I can quickly add new posts or update pages. Make sure you store your passwords somewhere, so you never get locked out of your blog!


2. Set Up Google Analytics

If you’re using Wordpress.com or Blogger, your blog stats are probably already incorporated into your blog. Other services like SiteMeter and StatCounter are good, too. But nothing compares to Google Analytics in its depth and breadth. Install it as soon as your blog is live because you don’t want to lose months worth of valuable data about your readers. You can use that data to track which of your posts are most popular and to write more posts like those.


3. Write Great Posts

Write posts that are 500-800 words, at least once a week, preferably on the same day, staying focused on your topic. Write posts that are informative, engaging and entertaining. If you’re good at humor, use it. Otherwise do some research and tell us something we don’t already know. Quote other sources, and link to articles and other blogs. If you’re going to simply tell us your thoughts, make sure they’re REALLY entertaining or engaging because you have a lot of competition out there and you need to keep your reader’s interest if you want them to come back.


4. Write Great Post Titles

Titles with numbers in them (10 Blogging Tips for Authors!) tend to be popular, but those can be overdone quickly. Think of titles, though, that are either informative (Writing Contest Landmines to Avoid), Clever/Funny (Do you do it for love or for money?), or grab the reader in an emotional way (Do you worry that you’ll never get published?). Remember that your goal is to post the title on Twitter and Facebook and have people retweet and repost it. You want your titles to be as retweetable as possible.


5. Think Twice Before Posting Excerpts of Your Work

Don’t bore people by posting long chapters of your work. If you want to post your work, quote a paragraph within the context of a larger blog post, post it under Writing or Excerpts on a separate page, or link to content that is posted online. Don’t post too much that isn’t already published. People can plagiarize it, and your work can become devalued if you give too much away for free.


6. Ask a question

A great way to get people to comment on your post is to ask a question at the end of the post. But don’t just say, “What do you think?” and don’t undermine your authority if you’re selling yourself as an expert on a topic. (ie If you’re an expert on rock climbing, don’t write a post listing the best places to climb in California and then ask “What do you think?” Think of questions that will spark conversation instead.)


7. Don’t Apologize

If you have been absent from your blog for a while, or you don’t feel your post is up to snuff, don’t apologize. Always appear as professional as possible. If you need to take a break from blogging to finish a manuscript, simply write a short post beforehand explaining that you’re taking a hiatus and will be back on such and such a date. Otherwise readers will check your blog each week, see that you’re not blogging, and remove you from their RSS reader.


8. Follow the Six-to-One Rule

In all social media, whether it be blogging or Twitter or Facebook, follow the 6-to-1 rule. Six posts that are informative and entertaining, one that promotes your work. If every post says, “Buy my book” or "Read my blog," people will stop reading.


9. Respond to comments

I once attended a local blogger networking event and met many local bloggers. I visited their blogs the next day and commented on each one. Not one of them responded to my comments, and none visited my blog in return. I never read those blogs again. Social media is all about being social. Unless you have 100 comments per post, respond to the comments people leave on your blog. Start a dialogue. Make some friends. And take the time to check out their blogs, too. If you like them, add them to your RSS reader. If you don’t, that’s okay. You took the time to visit them.


10. Comment on others blogs

You should not only visit other blogs, you should comment on them as well. Otherwise, how will that blogger know you exist? This is the number one way to build an audience for your blog before your blog gains some traction and you begin guest blogging and publishing your work elsewhere. You can't expect others to comment on your blog if you don't take the time to comment on theirs. And be sure to leave interesting and insightful comments, not simply, “Great post.” Write something that will spark a discussion. For a post on How to Write a Good Blog Comment, visit Nathan Bransford’s blog.


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  • Cheryl Russell

    Good tips. Thanks! :)

  • Barbara Storey

    That's exciting, Diana! Where is it - details!! :)

  • Diana J Febry

    Whoop - my first ever guest blog has just appeared. It's a start!

  • Geena Bean

    Thank you Meghan!  Keep me posted if you have any other blog tips=)

  • Meghan Ward

    Here's a list of 10 FREE blog directories: http://bit.ly/UQJ131

    Geena - Congrats on creating your first blog!

    Lissa - My brother Brian is married to a Lissa, so it stopped me when I read that your name was "Lissa Bryan." I've always loved the name Lissa!

  • Geena Bean

    Thanks for the great tips Meghan.  I recently created my first blog as a place for people to share their experiences and help each other gravitate toward success.  I thought it would be a good way to connect my children's book to my own personal experiences and how hard work and dedication are sometimes overlooked or forgotten.  What a wonderful way to help others stay focused and provide what it takes to create an intriguing, yet well-informed blog.

  • Barbara Storey

    Thanks, Lucy. :) And Meghan, that list of directories is a fantastic resource - thank you!

  • Lucy Martin

    Thanks for visiting, Barbara! Found your blog very interesting, moving and beautifully written. The article on blog directories is really useful too - thanks, Meghan. I'm trying ontoplist.com...

  • Meghan Ward

    Grace, Thanks so much for mentioning blog directories. Although this post is dated 2007, it was updated in 2011, and lists 24 of the top blog directories: http://bit.ly/QS8kAm

  • Kate Campbell

    I've been blogging for several years, but your list is full of good reminders about how to connect with readers. In the daily rush, it's easy to lose focus and your tips help this little dawggie move along. Thanks, Megan.

  • Barbara Storey

    Lucy, just took a peek at your blog, and I'm looking forward to reading and exploring more. "Limbless cockroaches"? *shudders* And thanks for that link, Jagoda - my blog is not a business, really, not about selling anything, but there are some good suggestions on that page!

    I've been doing NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month - with Blogher.com, posting every single day this month, and it has helped get my blog out there to new people, too - I've discovered some cool people as well. Posting every day has been a challenge - not in that I have trouble coming up with things to write about, more just getting used to posting every day and a bit exhausting! But it's been good for me, as a writer and blogger.


  • Jagoda Perich-Anderson

    Such a practical and helpful list, Meghan. I'm definitely going to keep your suggestions in mind as I prepare to launch a blog. In my research on what to do when starting a new blog, I came across this: www.incomediary.com/day-one-blog which lists 10 things to do on the first day of launching your blog.

  • Lissa Bryan

    This is the article which brought me to SheWrites. The advice in it is very useful.

    As an introvert, I've found marketing, networking and blogging very difficult. These are tips I can use. Now, if only I could think of something to say on my blog ....

  • Monica Kilian

    Great advice - thanks! However, I don't think I'll ever make a great blogger. An occasional-whenever-the-mood-strikes-blogger, maybe. Though you have prodded me to make an effort!

  • Karen Sosnoski

    Have taken a break from blogging to finish a novel, but enjoy reading advice like this and am storing it away for when I come back. Thanks!

  • Lucy Martin

    Lots of sound, common sense advice here - thank you, Meghan. Have only been blogging for a few weeks but am loving having this focus for my non-fiction writing and really enjoying reading some of the excellent writing that is out there - for FREE - amazing! Lucy (www.homesickandheatstruck.com)

  • Barbara Storey

    This has been a great thread for ideas - thanks again, Meghan!! :) And thanks, Grace!

  • Grace Peterson

    Oh yes, PINTEREST! How could I have forgotten this wonderfully addictive site?  I haven't stumbled upon StumbleUpon in several months. I'll make a note to do it too. :) 

  • Barbara Storey

    Thanks, Grace!  I'll try that.  I also use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and StumbleUpon to spread the word.  And now, I'm starting up here again! :)

  • Grace Peterson

    I just Googled "Blog Directories" then vetted the sites that came up. This was a few years ago. I can't remember many of the specific directories now. Also, I try to use Twitter, Facebook, She Writes and several forums, posting a brief announcement of a new post with a link. I'm not always very faithful with this unless I have an important post, like I do right now. :) 

  • Barbara Storey

    Grace, that's a great idea, but how do you find the proper blog directories?  I try to find writer's sites, or others with chronic illness, and sometimes I see badges from other sites on their pages.  Is that what you mean?

  • Grace Peterson

    Great post. I haven't read all of the comments so if this is already mentioned, my apologies. It wasn't until I applied and was accepted to a few blog directories that I saw my readership increase. For example, my garden blog, I became a member of "Blotanical," and quickly went from zero to 150 followers. Of course, for both of my blogs,  I faithfully follow your # 10. I visit and comment on the blogs of the wonderful people who are kind enough to leave a comment on my blogs. It's the right thing to do although right now I must admit I'm way behind.  

  • Sharon Sterling

    Meghan, these are great suggestions.  As someone relatively new to social networking AND an introvert, the task of "getting out there seems" overwhelming at times.  I'll actually do at least some of these! 

  • Diana J Febry

    Thanks Meghan. I didn't realise could do that. I'll have a play around over the weekend and see what I come up with.

  • Meghan Ward

    Christine - I know how hard it is to find time to comment on other people's blogs. But the truth is, if you don't comment, you can't expect others to comment on your blog either. Sometimes I just spend an hour or two once a week reading and commenting on other blogs. I don't do it every day.