You often read that blogging for authors is an essential tool to help sell your books.
But that is a broad simplification, and it is not always the best advice, especially if you are a new author.
Yes, you should definitely have a website to showcase your books. But setting up a static website is not at all the same as starting a blog.
Once you have a website, that’s it, and you can almost forget about it. With a blog, though, it takes a lot of time and effort to maintain, on top of continually writing new content.
Any of the free blog and website builders make it easy for authors to have a website.
It might take a few days or even weeks of work to build an attractive site.
But once you create your front page, book pages, about page and add a contact form, that’s it.
You might also want to add a page with your events and news and keep it updated.
It will only take a few minutes from time to time to add your updates.
Some of the free website services allow you to buy a domain name for a small fee.
It doesn’t help you with SEO (search engine optimization), but you can get a URL address that is more memorable for your readers.
With a static website, you have your point of presence.
You can use it with your social media marketing or with other book promotion activities.
Yes, you can easily add a blog section to a website. But then you need to write new blog posts regularly.
If you don’t, your website will begin to look outdated very quickly.
Unlike the pages on your website, blog posts have a published date.
If a visitor notices that your last post was a year ago, it may seem that you have given up on writing books.
Many new authors think blogging is a necessity. It’s not.
Writing a book takes a long time. But writing regular blog posts and articles is time-consuming and an ongoing commitment.
Yes, regular blogging can be beneficial for authors. It can certainly help attract new readers and perhaps build a mailing list.
However, you need to be sure that you will have the time available to write books and maintain a blog.
Blogging is not only about writing and publishing a few articles each month.
You also need to react to comments, answer questions, promote your articles, and maintain your site security.
For an author, blogging can quickly become a time hog that will eat into the writing time you need to finish a book.
Do you have the time for both? If you are not sure, wait before you start a blog. You can always change your mind later.
Promote your books or your blog
You want to sell books.
There are so many ways that you can advertise and promote your books without a blog.
However, if you want to use your blog as your primary book marketing tool, you will need to promote it aggressively.
It is a method that many authors use.
The upside to this approach is that you can develop your blog to do more than promote your books. You can add extra income potential with affiliate marketing and advertising.
This can be an attractive option for authors because it can help offset the ups and downs of book royalty income.
Monetizing a blog has advantages
The only problem is that it takes time, hard work, and patience to succeed.
As a general rule of thumb, it can take one or even two years to establish a good search engine ranking.
It rarely works with a free website, so it usually means moving to a self-hosted WordPress blog.
For a lot of authors who do this, it is a point when writing books can become secondary to being a blogger.
When you compare the income cycles of books and blogs, you can see why.
The typical sales and income cycle for a book is strong after launch and then tails off to a trickle.
So you have to publish books regularly to maintain your income.
But for a monetized blog, it works in reverse.
The big difference is that a blog starts very slowly. It can take up to a year to start earning any income at all.
But once established, it will continue to earn money every month.
Being a writer and making an income from your writing is not an easy occupation. Relying on one income source can be problematic.
That’s why being an author, and a pro blogger is advantageous. But it’s certainly not for every author.
Don’t rush into blogging, thinking that it’s one of the things an author needs to do.
It’s a choice and not a necessity. Ask yourself these questions before you decide.
Do you have the time to commit to writing regular blog posts?
Do you have a topic or topics that you can keep writing about for years to come?
Will your blog help you sell more books than a website and free and paid book promotion?
Do you have the computer and technical skills to maintain an active blog?
If you can say yes to these four questions, then blogging might be for you.
Just remember that an abandoned blog is worse than no blog at all.
Once you start a blog, links to and from it will be crawled by search engines.
You might not rank highly on Google or Bing, but these links will remain for a long time. They will also stay on social media.
If a visitor arrives from one of these links and your blog is abandoned, it can only harm your chances of selling books.
Even if you delete your blog, the links will remain active and lead to a 404 error.
That’s why it’s a big decision to start a blog.
You have probably visited a lot of author blogs. Many of them are great resources for writers and authors.
If you believe you have the expertise and knowledge on specific topics and subjects that are worth sharing, then you can do the same.
But before you jump in, consider the following positives and negatives.
The pros of blogging
• Connect with your readers through comments and a mailing list
• Broaden your book promotion with great content
• Become a recognized expert on a topic
• Gain traction and more traffic through search engine indexing
• Possibility to earn more income with affiliate marketing and PPC advertising
• Use automation to share your content on the web and social media
The cons of blogging
• Very time consuming
• A long-term commitment
• A long learning curve with a self-hosted blog
• Takes a long time to rank on Google search
• Needs regular maintenance and updating
• Can require the services of a developer as you grow
For authors, blogging is a promotion tool that needs a lot of consideration.
There are many other ways to promote and market books that are less time-consuming.
If you are looking at supplementing your writing income, it’s a different story.
A successfully monetized blog can deliver a reliable and consistent income over the long term.
You need to be patient and work hard at it in the beginning. Many give up after a few months.
But if you are prepared to learn and develop the skills you need and invest a little in your blog, the rewards will come.