In this highly digital world, authors are often pressured to have an online presence. One question new writers frequently ask is: do I need to start a blog?
Our answer: it depends.
Ask yourself these two questions before you start yours.
1. What is the purpose of my blog?
A blog can be about anything you want it to be. It can be full of random musings about your life, your family, and your cats. You may decide to write about your writing projects or make it a technical(ish) blog, like this one. It could be about books you’ve read, short fiction, or just pictures. The Internet is full of blogs, so what will make people want to read yours?
- If you’re planning to keep it mainly for friends and family, posts about your cat or dog or random musings about your life may be enough.
- For fiction writers, snippets of your book, some short fiction and flash fiction, or updates on your writing projects may be the calling card you need to engage new and existing readership.
- If you’re writing a non-fiction book, posting about your expertise could help increase your credibility and visibility. People who read your blog and find your posts useful may very well go on to buy your book!
You need to know why you want a blog before you start one. Otherwise, it will just be a lot of work for no reason. As a writer, your blog is a place that can help you promote your work but if your blog is only filled with “buy my book” posts, what’s the point?
Ultimately, your blog should be about whatever you want your readers to know about you.
2. How often am I able post?
Blogging is a very time-consuming task. As you can see from the (in)consistency of this blog, it’s a lot of work! (We’re trying to do better, promise!) Writing a post can take anywhere from 5 minutes to four hours, depending on what you decide to write about. Obviously, if you’re just posting cat pictures, that should take about 5 minutes… except that you need to take the perfect picture of your cat, and then you get distracted by cat memes and oh look at the time! You’ve been writing that one cat picture post for two hours.
You don’t need to blog every day. To help you decide how often you should post, estimate:
- how much time you normally take to write a post, and
- how much time you can spare to write posts.
You can then set a posting schedule that works for you, whether it’s once a day, once a week, once a month, or anything in between. Consistency is key, even if we’re not the best examples of that. Regular posts help readers know when to check your blog for your latest updates.
So should I blog or what?
If you’ve got answers for both questions, you should have a good feel of whether starting a blog is right for you. Don’t worry if it isn’t. Not everyone likes blogging and it’s best to not have one if you’re just going to hate doing it and then end up abandoning it anyway.
If you need help getting started, the upcoming Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April is a brilliant way to get organised. Whilst the schedule is gruelling at first, it’s a great way to fill your new blog with content and then ease down into a schedule that works for you once you’ve gotten into the habit of blogging. It also comes with an inbuilt community of supportive bloggers with whom you can network and find great support!