I’ve got an Author’s Website—Do I Need a Blog, Too?
I hear this all the time! Whether published or unpublished, writers all over the world tell me they’ve got a beautiful, slick author’s website that took time and money to put together and they don’t see why they need a blog as well.
In a word, the answer is… conversation.
Can you have a two-way conversation with fans, librarians, teachers, or friends on your website? No. It doesn’t have a comment function.
All you’re doing is saying “Look at me! Aren’t I great?” and maybe you are great, but imagine you’re at a party. Because that’s what the internet is. It’s the biggest party ever invented. All around you people are chatting animatedly to each other but you’ve somehow got yourself in a corner with someone who’s not interested in letting you say anything. Let’s call him Humphrey. Humphrey just wants to tell you all about himself. He’s not talking about his hobbies, fascinations or opinions about the world at large. He’s just telling you all about his accomplishments. And no matter how wonderful they are, there’s a point at which your eyes glaze over and you start wishing you had never come.
You manage to slip away, claiming a need to refresh your drink or get something to eat and meet a girl who’s tucking into the food with gusto, piling everything that looks interesting onto her plate. You laugh and ask if she’s gathering food for the winter and a conversation begins. “Doesn’t it all look just wonderful?” she enthuses. “I couldn’t possibly neglect a single thing! Did you know that chocolate is…”
Her conversation is peppered with interesting facts I didn’t know, and every time she asks me a question I feel she cares about the answer. And she responds to my opinions with enthusiasm and more questions. She’s a lover of life, a magpie gatherer of its universal fascinations, and I like her enormously. Then she introduces me to her friends, and I like them too. When it’s time to reluctantly take my leave I wish there was a way to stay in touch, but she’s one step ahead of me and gives me her number.
“I’m going to see a play next week with some friends – want to come?”
Yes. Yes, I do. She was fun and informative and curious about all sorts of things. Hanging out with her and her friends made me feel like one of the cool kids. Later, as I walked home, I reflected on the difference between the bore who droned on about himself and Lizzie, with her enquiring mind and appealing way of making me feel like I was the most interesting person in the room.
And that’s why you’d do better to have a blog than a website. So you can be Lizzie, not Humphrey.
Other reasons to blog:
- Website pages don’t appear on search engine bots as easily as blog posts do. If you write about what inspired your romance set in wine country, no one will ever find it by doing a Google search on wine if it’s on your website, but if they will if it’s in a blog post.
- Blog posts can be easily shared. They can even go viral. If you’re part of a blog network, like Tumblr, something you post can be reblogged thousands of times if you hit the sweet spot and have something to share that appeals to a lot of people.
- A blog can be set up in minutes and managed by yourself. The same is not necessarily true of a website, unless you’re technologically savvy.
- RSS feeds which automatically “ping” various sites around the world announce each new post the moment you press “publish”. This blogging and RSS combo creates a powerful presence on the internet, virtually overnight.
- You can’t post updates to your website across social media sites. It just sounds like you’re doing a Humphrey. But if you post a blog update on something you’ve recently found interesting (not necessarily related to you except that you’re sharing your slant on it) then you bring yourself to people’s attention organically, by association, by talking about something they’re interested in.