Friday, May 27, 2011

Armchair BEA and Blogging About Blogging

I'm of the mindset that blogging is a casual thing and unless you're actively making money from it (meaning you're getting paid by someone else for) it shouldn't be taken all that seriously. For some people blogging is somewhat of a job because of the amount of time they put into it. But that's personal. What you do with your blog, how much you do with it, is entirely up to you so if you have someone telling you to do more, or take it more seriously, I say tell them to stick it. Because at the end of the day, it's a blog. You're doing it because you want to do it. You love books and you want to share that love with others. You're not getting paid for it (although the FTC says otherwise) and in many cases, far more money is going into the blog than coming out of it.

So I just have a couple of pointers to keep from losing your mind, and losing perspective, with your blog -

Keep yourself one step removed from the insanity.

Chances are you started blogging because you loved books and wanted to share that love with other book people. Pretty soon you started getting review offers from authors or publicists and started receiving books in the mail. Before you knew it you were buried under your own TBR pile and felt like you can't keep up with other blogs that were posting eleventy billion times a day or getting more books or hit counts or whatever.

Keep it all in perspective. What do YOU want for YOUR blog? Do you actually care that you're not getting 500 unique hits a day? Do you care that you're not getting 10 new followers a day? Do you genuinely feel guilty if you decide to spend more time in your real life than in your blogging one? It's not a foot race. It's not about keeping up. Just do your thing. Trust me: people will love your site for just that. The rest that bow down into the crazy hype and do everything that everyone else is doing do nothing but blend in with the fray. You want to stand out. So do it.

If you don't know anything about SEO, who cares?

And it's not just about SEO (of which I have no idea what that is and this is me rushing out to find out what it is and how to use it). It's about networking in general. Do you have an obligation to get your book blog out there into the world? Technically no but if you started your book blog with the hopes of connecting to other book lovers, you're doing yourself a disservice by not at least somewhat getting involved in networking. But you don't have to belong to 400 networking sites to do it. Who the hell can keep track of all of that?

Being interactive on other blogs does wonders for traffic to yours alone. Twitter is another great marketing tool (one that I was really against until about a year ago when I finally caved and got one). Believe it or not, Twitter can make you human to your readers. That is if you post more than just links to your blog posts on it (which I find annoying, why use Twitter if that's all you're going to do?). I've found Facebook to be pretty ineffective when it comes to marketing but I don't pay to advertising. I just have an image on my blog linking to its Facebook site and that's it. Goodreads is another great place not just for you but for the books you promote as well. Double-posting your reviews here gets you, and the author, noticed more. Same goes for Random Buzzers.

But do what YOU want to do. It takes extra time to cross post shit all over the place. If you want to do that, go for it. If not, don't bow to the pressure. Try a few out and then look in your Blogger stats (you don't even need to go all fancy with Google Analytics, just the standard stats thing that your blog comes with) and see where you're getting your hits from and narrow it down. I get a lot of my hits from Twitter so I'm sticking with it. No sense in spreading yourself that thin if it's not benefiting you. It's about what YOU can do. Just posting a review itself is more exposure for the book. Beyond that is the extra mile.

Don't listen to anyone.

Which negates this very post. Do what YOU want on YOUR blog. Do what YOU feel comfortable doing. Don't bow to the pressure of others. Don't feel the need to keep up. Just go at YOUR own pace and things will work out. Figure out what you want for your blog and go from there.
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