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Having a blog as an author is an important part of ones online presence. But how to do it right?

In the first in this series I wrote about why writers should blog and how to set up a blog.

Despite all the reasons given why a writer should blog, it probably wasn’t compelling.

I addressed that issue with the second in this series and I think I’ve inspired a couple of writers to blog more.

But after everything’s set up and written, you probably haven’t had any hits on your blog yet. Or maybe you’ve had a few visits to your homepage but not much more. Let’s look at a few ways to drive traffic to our blogs.

How to Keep Readers Engaged

You’re writing high quality, relevant and actionable content, right? Good.

Use Links

Sounds obvious, but if you write about the same topics on a regular basis (e.g. different folklore creatures) there’ll be plenty of opportunities to link to different posts that have the same theme (e.g. different folklore creatures that live in the sea).

Now for the fun: don’t just link back to your old posts, go to those old posts and link back to the new posts.

Why? You know how you’ve been sharing your posts on different social media sites to build up SEO for your blog? Well, the posts you’ve shared last year are more likely to show up in search engine results than something you’ve shared last week. So if someone’s searching for, say, folklore creatures that live in the sea, your post about Selkies will show up first. And if you’ve added a link to your new Merrows post in the Selkies post, people are likely to click through to it after they’ve read all they could about the seal people…

Create Tags and Categories

It would be easy to just dump all writing posts in one category “thoughts on writing”. But how will that help readers? Having other writing categories makes it easier: #IWSG is obviously for posts regarding the writer’s life (and the tags used with these posts prove it, e.g. writer support, writer’s journey, writer’s life), #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is obviously for posts that will help writers (again, the tags prove it, e.g. writing tips, blogging tips, social media tips, etc.), and so forth.

The point with tags and categories is to describe what your blog posts are about, much like the genre of a book tells you what to expect.

Use Related Posts

Widgets or plugins on your blog automatically create this at the end of your post after you’ve set it up. It probably uses the tags and categories of posts to make the three recommended at the bottom of your new post relevant to what the reader had just read. I chose to share three related posts. No point in overwhelming readers with options. There’s always links in the new post they’ll open and related posts at the bottom of that post for them to read their fill.

Share Popular Posts

In the sidebar, showing tiles of the randomly chosen pictures of the most read posts of the last 24 hours, my popular posts are shown. There’s a widget or plugin in your blog that does this for you automatically.

And though some might fear that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, I haven’t had any posts stay popular just because they’re popular. Apparently SEO is much stronger bringing readers to my blog (see the part about old posts above) than any popularity contest.

Serialise Posts

Did you know that there’s a mermaid-type creature in every culture’s folklore? I’ve barely scratched the surface, yet, if I’d tried to put it all in one post we’d still be scrolling. So I cover one mermaid-type creature’s folklore in a post and link to the others.

You can do the same with any topic you have a lot to say about. On some blogs they’ve even collected series content in eBooks…

Now that you’ve made sure readers will keep clicking through to interesting posts on your blog, how do you get them there?

  • You tweet your posts (old and new) with relevant hashtags and catchy titles. Two great hashtags to use to share your blog content: #SundayBlogShare on Sundays and #MondayBlogs on Mondays. (Just don’t tweet any buy-links or anything that can look spammy – both are like mini-blog hops where readers interact with the tweets and blog posts shared.)
  • Share content on Google+ (old and new) with different groups. There are so many writer-oriented groups on Google+ that you can share that post about apostrophes multiple times. (Just don’t do it back-to-back or even in the same month: Google might see it as spam.) Remember to use hashtags.
  • Share posts on multiple Pinterest boards. You know how you’re supposed to share your #AuthorToolboxBlogHop post on the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop Pinterest board with relevant hashtags? Well do that and then repin that post on your Resources for Writers board (or whatever yours is called) and also repin it on your board dedicated to your blog posts.

You get the idea.

Any tips you’d like to share about keeping readers engaged? Have you tried any of the above?

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