My top 3 tips from 9 years of author blogging

My top 3 tips from 9 years of author blogging

My top 3 tips from 9 years of author bloggingTo celebrate entering my 10th year of author blogging – which makes me pretty much a centenarian in blog years – I thought I’d rustle up my top three tips specifically for author bloggers.


Author blog tip #1: Work out why you’re blogging

It took me about five years to get to the bottom of this.

I started out with the blog because a wise friend suggested I should. I blogged daily because a) I liked it and b) that’s what all the blogging experts said you should do to build a blog.

One day, I realised that I’d written 350,000 words on my blog in one year and cut back to three times a week because – well, 350,000 words is about three adult fiction manuscripts.

Lots and lots of people visited my blog. People approached me about taking advertising, raising the word ‘monetise’. I said no*.

Everything changed the day I put up a chicken soup recipe (in my defence, it’s a really good one).

My dear friend Kerri Sackville emailed to ask, politely, WTF I thought I was doing.

“You are not a food blogger,” she said. “You are an author.”

She was right. I looked at all the things I was doing on my blog. I mean, really looked at it for the first time in five years. And I made some changes.

This is why I blog

I blog to share my thoughts, an insight into my author life, and news about my books.

I try to share useful information and insights about writing and publishing because I know that’s what my community wants (how do I know? I asked them).

I offer space on my blog to other authors because I strongly believe in sharing the love and the insight, and I keep lists of recommended children’s books because I know, as a parent, how difficult it can be to keep kids reading.

This blog is not about traffic, it’s about community.

As I wrote in my fifth year of blogging, I blog because it’s worth it.

So, ask yourself: Why do you blog?



Author blog tip #2: Don’t overthink it

There’s an awful lot of information out there about blogging – from optimal word lengths for posts to how many sub-heads you should have to which latest tech improvement you should be making the most of.

My advice for author bloggers? Don’t overthink it.

You are an author. You are a writer. So, write things.

When I’m wondering what to blog about, as I wrote in this post last year, I ask myself three questions:

• what am I thinking about?

• what am I feeling?

• what can I do that’s useful?

And then I write about one of those things.

I don’t ignore SEO, but neither do I obsess over it. I try to think about what I would search to find that particular post and I go with that.



Author blog tip #3: Blogging is more than platform building

Every year when I write my annual ‘what I’ve learnt in X years of blogging’ post I come back to one thing: blogging has been so very good for my writing.

When I began the blog, I was a fulltime freelance journalist (or as fulltime as one could be with a three year old in tow) and I had been writing for magazines and newspapers for nearly two decades. I had a very well-defined, most excellent broadcast voice.

An outside voice, if you like.

What blogging every day gave me was my own voice.

My inside voice.

Good blogging requires you to look closely, to reveal what you think, how you feel.

It shows you that a whole story can be found in a tiny moment in your day.

Blogging was a great tool for helping me to find my voice as an author.

Obviously, you don’t need to go public on a blog to do this, but if you’re struggling to really find ‘you’ in your writing, look at a daily journal of some kind. But there is something about ‘putting it out there’ that helps to focus the mind – and, of course, bring readers to your website.


You’ll find more thoughts on authors and blogging here:

Blogging: Inviting Readers Home

Social Media For Writers #1: Blogging (featuring Jane Friedman)

Let’s talk about blogging and authors

Why blogging is not writing

My #1 tip for bloggers

How to write a better blog

Or take a look at my online course at the Australian Writers’ Centre on How To Build Your Author Platform.


A L Tait The Fire StarAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries (you’ll find book #1 THE FIRE STAR here).

 You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

*For the record, I did introduce bookseller affiliate links on the blog around 18 months ago, as per the disclosure here.

My top 10 posts about authors, blogging and social media

My top 10 posts about authors, blogging and social media

Author Allison Tait shares her top 10 posts about authors, blogging, and social media (2016)Continuing my series of wrap-up posts for 2016 (see my Top 10 Post About Writing here), this time we’re delving into the world of authors, blogging, social media and author platforms.

Without further ado, here are my top 10 posts for 2016, counted down to the most popular!

10. My #1 Tip For Bloggers (And Writers)

9. Industry Insider: How To Promote A Book

8. Social Media For Writers #7: How To Choose The Best Social Media Platform

7. 50 Of The Best Australian Authors And Writers On Twitter

6. My Top 10 Posts About Blogging (As Voted By You)

5. 5 Aussie Author Blogs To Watch

4. What To Blog About When There’s Nothing To Blog About

3. 10 Things To Do While You’re Waiting On Your Writing

2. What to blog about: 5 top tips for new and aspiring authors


1. Ask The Writer: How To Build Your Author Platform

Hope you find these helpful! If you’d like an in-depth, step-by-step guide to building your author platform, check out my course at the Australian Writers’ Centre and get yourself ready for 2017! 

Industry Insider: How to write a better blog (tips from a Problogger)

Industry Insider: How to write a better blog (tips from a Problogger)

Wondering how to write a better blog? Is it about what you do with the words, or is there more to it?

Darren Rowse is Problogger (@problogger on Twitter to be exact). He started his first blog in 2002. He now has several blogs, several books (if you’re a new blogger, do not miss his 31 Days to Build A Better Blog Workbook), and a brilliant career extolling the virtues of blogging to the wider world.

If you want to know how to make money on your blog, or off your blog, he’s your man. He’s also the go-to guy for tips on creating blog communities, using social media, and building your blog into a force to be reckoned with.

But I didn’t want to talk to him about any of that. Oh no. I wanted to ask him all about the art of writing for blogs. So I invited him to the Fibro and, oh joy, he popped in for a (virtual) cuppa and a chat.

Settle back, this is good.

How to write a better blog

Do you believe that writing for blogs is different from writing for other forms of media? Why/why not?

Darren Rowse: “Tough question. I’ll say yes… but with a small disclaimer! In general, I think blogs can do well with a more personal and playful voice than perhaps writers in other forms of media could get away with. This informal and personal style is something that blogs had a lot of success with in the early days and, from what I can see, is still often important in building an audience and relationship with readers.

“Having said that, my disclaimer – it does depend a little upon the style of the blogger and the goals of the blog. Some blogs do really well being written in a more formal and less personal voice. I am also increasingly seeing the more personal style appearing in other forms of media.”


I’ve seen the line ‘content is king’ over and over – do you think that comes down to what you say or how you say it?

DR: “I think it’s both. What you say is of vital importance – it needs to be useful to people in some way. I find that the best content is content that solves a need that somebody has. That need might be a big or important one like ‘I need to know how to raise my child’. Or it could be something a little more frivolous, like ‘I’m bored – entertain me’.

“How you say it is just as important though – in some ways, I think it is often what lifts good content to being great content. Your style or voice as a blogger is something that for most people comes over time and is hard to teach. Some bloggers just seem to be born with  it (Mojo), while for others it develops as they experiment with different approaches to writing and see how others respond to it.”


Do personal bloggers need to worry about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? How can they incorporate it without losing the rhythm of their writing?

DR: “My philosophy with SEO is pretty simple:

1. Search engines are some of the biggest referrers of traffic going around. When someone wants to find information, it is more often than not a search engine that they head to.

2. So if you want people to read your content (whether that content be ‘personal’ or something else), it makes a lot of sense to me to pay some attention to SEO and maximising your chances of being found in search engine results.

3. So I advise learning the basics of SEO. Having a good understanding of how search engines rank sites and what you can do to optimise your blog is something that can be the difference between having a blog that is read – or not.

4. However – I don’t personally obsess about SEO. I know the basics and find that knowing them and practising them a little will, in time, bring changes to the way that you blog, that will lead to a natural SEO as you blog. For example – knowing that the keywords you use in the title of your post is important in SEO means you start to think about keywords more and, in time, develop better-optimised titles.

5. Google is in the business of ranking the best and most authoritative content highest. So one of the best things you can do with SEO is to write high-quality content and build trust, credibility and authority in your niche through networking. While there are things you can tweak in your content to improve your SEO, the best thing you can do is write quality content that people share around.

So, learn the basics, implement them, don’t obsess about SEO and build something of high quality.”


For me, blogging is about voice. Stand-out bloggers have stand-out voices. Would you agree? Any tips to help bloggers develop their voices?

DR: “Voice is one of those elusive things that I wish I could bottle and hand out to bloggers. It’s difficult to teach – some bloggers seem to be born with it, others find it develops in time and for others, it just seems to elude them.

“The main tips I could give:

*Practise – it takes time to develop your voice. The first 5000 posts are the hardest!

*Experiment – part of practising is experimenting with writing in different styles and voices. Set yourself tasks to write different types of posts. Experiment with different lengths, with formal and informal writing, with humour, with writing in the third person, with writing lists posts, case studies, question/discussion-based posts.

*Pay particular attention to how your posts are received – watch for sparks of energy and resonance from your readers. As you experiment, you’ll find that some posts just seem to click with others, while others flop. This gives you hints as to what types of posts to keep experimenting with.”

If you were a writer trying to build a community and a profile through a blog, what would you focus on? Is it enough to just write good stuff?
DR: “There are other factors that I think are important in building a good blog. Content is part of it, but I always try to add two other elements:

*Community: Engagement from readers (and among readers) is where the magic often happens. Ask readers questions, get them interacting with you and each other, give them homework, make them know that they’re valued, build a culture of inclusivity. All of this helps make your blog more useful, but it also builds social proof and makes it easier to grow, because when new visitors come they will be more attracted to a site that is obviously active and inclusive – rather than one that simply has good content.

*Get off your blog: A ‘build it and they will come’ mentality doesn’t really work with blogging. Just focusing all your energy on building a great blog is part of what you need to be doing, but also important is getting off your blog and interacting with other people’s spaces. Identify who you want to read your blog and where they are already hanging out online – then go and interact (and be useful) in those spaces. In doing so, you’ll start to build yourself a profile, credibility and, hopefully, in doing so, find readers for your own blog.”

For everything you ever wanted to know about blogging, visit Darren at the Problogger website, or go say hello on Facebook. If nothing else, tell him how much you like his glasses.

So You Want To Be a Writer bookAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

Subscribe to So You Want To Be A Writer podcast for more amazing writing advice.

Or check out So You Want To Be A Writer (the book), where my co-author Valerie Khoo and I have distilled the best tips from hundreds of author and industry expert interviews. Find out more and buy it here.

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