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How A Question Created a Post: This Month’s Blog Creation Process

June 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

Ever have non-existent ideas or too many that they are over-whelming?

Blog Post Header Titled The Month's Blog Creation Process by Denise M. Colby

Never fear, my brain can think of plenty of ideas when I have no time to flush them out but when I finally schedule time to write this blog post, they all have escaped my brain.

Anyone else have this problem?

Sometimes the blog creation process can be easy or hard. In searching for a topic to write about this month, I asked myself the question ‘what is the point of a blog post?’ and then decided to google it.

Interesting, that!

Here’s what popped up…

What's the purpose of a blog? google search screen shot of description for post on Blog Creation Process

I love how google also provides similar questions on the same topic. Notice the different choices in words, but they all fit within the same topic. Obviously, people have searched this topic before.

What's the point of a blog post? google search additional questions screen shot for post on Blog Creation Process

And this is why SEO and keywords matter. Someone may not google your name or book directly, but they may google something you’ve answered in a blog post or on your web page.

All of these thoughts should go into your blog creation process.

What is the Purpose of a Blog Post?

These are all the pages that show up on the search’s first page. Notice all the different page titles. Those matter too.

What's the point of a blog post? google search page results screen shot for post on Blog Creation Process

So this leads me to more questions as I ponder my why about my blog creation process. (Yes, my family calls me the Question Queen)

Why do I write blog posts? 

  • I love to write.
  • I love to share ideas.
  • I love to teach and encourage and be positive and inspire.
  • I want to keep learning and challenging myself and writing blog posts do that.

Why do I read blog posts?

  • I want to be informed.
  • I want to connect.
  • I want to learn something specific.
  • I want to read what my friends write.

Why do YOU write and read blog posts? 

I really would love to hear your answers!

As I formulate this into something someone would actually read, I’m asking the question ‘what would you like to read?’

  • Should I write more about branding and SEO topics?
  • Or what’s happening in my writing world over the next few months?
  • Or should I write something related to my continuously never-ending book I’m editing?
  • Or something fun and distracting?

Keep in mind: The process to create a blog post can start with just a question.

Even though I picked a topic out of thin air to write about, as I asked questions and googled one, I was able to create something. It all connects. And that’s what it’s all about.

So, in essence, if we have a topic for a blog post, performing a search about it may wield ideas of phrasing or additional keywords to use so that your post would appear in these searches too.

As I wrap up this post, I now realize I have to figure out a keyword that fits the topic in order for me to have strong SEO. Why I make stuff challenging for myself, I’ll have to cover in an entirely different blog post in the future.

I really would love to know what you would like to read.

It’s much more fun creating content people enjoy. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

On a side note…I’m teaching on the subject of SEO during the month of July!

Clean white desk with words July Classes on SEO by Denise M. Colby

SEO Marketing for Authors in the ACFW course loop in July. If you are a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), these courses each month are FREE!

I’m also teaching a course on Branding, SEO, & Content, at the Virtual SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference July 9-11. Here’s the link to the conference website.

If you’d like to take a peek at some of my other blog posts, here is a link to my archive on this blog.

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Do or Do Not, There is no Try When it Comes to Building your Brand

May 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

Since May is all about Star Wars, I thought I’d start with a famous Yoda quote and apply it to a building your brand message:

“Do or Do Not, There is no Try”

Yoda

How does this apply to your author platform?

  • We write or we do not write.
  • We post social media or we do not post social media.
  • We start building a brand or we do not. 

When it comes to building your brand, there’s this fear of getting things wrong.

And sometimes this fear prevents us from doing anything about it.

But that’s exactly what I want to encourage you to do. Do something! Don’t just say you will try. And know, whatever you do, it doesn’t have to be 100% perfect. It’s most important for you to do.

Yes, I know, all the different variables to building your author brand can be stressful. But keep in mind, I’ve seen several small businesses evolve and grow in their online presence. It has opened my eyes to the fact that they did not get to their current place overnight. There’s not a magic switch that turns on everything perfectly. Most sites have evolved over time, trying things that work and don’t work and making adjustments as they work out the kinks.

Our author websites and social media are just like this.

We need to do some things first before we figure out if it works or not. 

That’s what happened with my Marketing for Authors newsletter. I saw a graphic I liked and wanted to make it into the brand for Marketing for Authors. But no matter what I did, it wasn’t working the way I pictured it. And so I put off sending out my newsletter, or doing anything else for that matter. Not very business-minded, was it? So, I too am right in the thick of it, challenging myself with starting over and moving forward.

I’ve since chosen a simple design (thanks Canva!) and color scheme that I can incorporate into my training materials easily. And if I need to change some things as I go, I’m okay with that.

Here’s my new logo.

Building your brand one step at a time blog topic includes Marketing for Authors Logo - Teal, black and white text with a light bulb and MfA over it. By Denise M. Colby

What do you think?

I’m super excited about it. I didn’t overthink it like I usually do, and I can incorporate the colors into my training materials. The only issue is when I print it on my home printer, the color comes out a little more blue than what it looks like on the screen. Since most of my stuff will be digital anyway, I’m moving forward with it. And boy does that feel freeing.

I understand how much establishing brand and building content is complicated and time-consuming. That’s where I want to help you in figuring out what works and to offer encouragement.

As a writer and a small business person, every little action can help propel your brand forward.

For myself, I’ve written my first newsletter and I’m ready to send it out (you can sign up for my free newsletter here). I’m also preparing to teach my first online class and give my first zoom interview. I’m trying not to over think things, but just take baby steps, one step at a time.

I hope to encourage you in the same way.


If interested in learning more about brand and SEO, take a look at some of my past posts:

Why it’s Important to Have a Blog and What to Write About

Why Link Building on Your Website and Blog is Important

Why SEO Should Matter To An Author

Or you can visit my website by clicking on the button below.

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Why it’s Important to Have a Blog and What to Write About

April 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as ,

Writing a blog takes time away from writing your books, but a blog is something an author shouldn’t go without. Why is it important to have a blog and what do you write about? I’ll go over both of those questions in this post. 

Blog Header titled Why It's Important to Have a Blog by Denise M. Colby Marketing for Authors

Just know, the most important reason for a blog, is your brand. 

If done correctly, blog posts can help build your brand.

And your brand will thank you for it.

Here are four ways a blog helps build your brand:

1. You choose what your write about.

All of the parts in your stories build brand because this is what your books are about. Readers choose your books because of the genre, setting, characters, era, and other details, so why wouldn’t they be interested in learning more about those things in blog posts?

Don’t share where your book is being sold (unless it is a new release), but you can share about research, or why a character likes the color blue, or even a theme of your book (When the Plan Does Not Go According to Plan) which all relates back to your books. It might even help new readers to go search for your book and buy it.

2. Build relationship with your readers.

It takes a long time for a new book to hit the market, so connecting with your readers frequently keeps you in their minds.

Build excitement for the next book by sharing a little about your characters or other topics (see point #1) in your books.

You can also connect with your readers about topics that are near and dear to you. Being a Disney fan, I’m working on building blog posts related to my favorite things about Disney.

3. Build interest in your new books as well as your previous ones.

By connecting with readers, they can learn more about you and your books. A blog post about a past book and how much a specific character was your favorite to write about, or a trip you took to conduct research and your favorite sites, might encourage a reader to buy that book and read it.

In my post from this blog, It’s a Short & Sweet Mother’s Day I wrote about my first Mother’s Day without my mom and then the tribute article that was printed in a book titled Short & Sweet Family Album.

4. It adds new SEO onto your website

One of the only ways to add SEO to your website is NEW content. Even a monthly blog allows the internet to see your website is not stagnent. But more than that, having a planned out strategy for your categories and tags, allows you to build your brand within your SEO. 

In theory, readers who are interested in stories that include one-room schoolhouses, would be able to search and find web site pages related to one-room schoolhouses (It’s the One-Room Schoolhouse’s Fault), which in turn might lead them to my book. Or a post related to bookmarks (For the Love of Bookmarks), might connect with a reader who also collects bookmarks. That connection may encourage them to follow you and purchase your books in the future.

I don’t have published books, yet. But I’m building these concepts into my content on my website and blog now.

Screen shot of search with the words I love Bookmarks Denise to find Bookmark blog post
A search for ‘I Love Bookmarks Denise’ brings up my blog post and photos that went with it.

Once you brainstorm ideas, the choices of what to write about is unlimited. And provides another way to find new readers and connect and build a following with existing ones.

So don’t turn away from writing a blog. Embrance it. And consider writing for an outside blog as well. See last month’s post on Why Link Building On Your Website and Blog is Important to learn why I make this suggestion.

I love the topic of Brand and SEO and helping authors develop both. If you are interested in learning more, sign up for my Marketing for Authors newsletter.

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Why Link Building on Your Website and Blog is Important

March 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

Link building on your website and blog posts is important because it helps build your SEO (search engine optimization). Google uses links to measure the quality of a page. The more links there are that go back to that page from good sources, the higher the SEO. Link building is only one part of the bigger SEO picture, but for this post, I’m discussing link building only.

Linking between other websites and/or pages is important

Why is it important to have other pages link to your page and vice versa?

It’s a vote of confidence that what you’ve written is worth reading. Similar to a recommendation for say a plumber, car repair, or a restaurant. 

There are other benefits to link building as well:

  • Relationships between websites
  • Referral Traffic
  • Building your brand

The algorithm Google uses changes constantly, so no one truly knows specifically how much link building is appropriate, but in my research there are things you should and should not do. Do not submit your website to a web directory in order to get a link in return.

True organic links work best 

Denise m. Colby

This means links should be complementary to the content that the blog post is written about. Adding links is also a great way to provide extra content to your readers.

But what if you don’t have anything to link?

I have found some web pages and blog posts I write have links that naturally fit, and then with other pages and blog posts, I draw a blank. I especially found it difficult when my website and blog were brand new.

Potential content ideas that include link building:

  • Your welcome page can introduce your other pages with links to those pages (even if you have a menu).
  • Create a page for each book you’ve written and then talk about each one in a separate blog post and put the link to the book page in it.
  • If you are unpublished, you could write a blog post about setting, clothes, animals or any other topic that connects with your manuscript and include links to a pinterest page with sample photos.
  • Review other writers’ books and include links to where the book can be purchased.
  • Write a blog post about craft and include a link to the website or person where you learned about that topic.

Whatever you do, don’t despair. As you add content to your website and/or blog, you are building content. That content may be linkable material later. Just keep building your content.

For example, I have written several blog posts about SEO both on my own blog (Why the M), and here on A Slice of Orange (What is Alt Text and How To Use it).

And, my Marketing for Authors program now has a newsletter (where you can sign up and receive a free booklet of SEO help), with the plan to have training courses available this year.

Did you see what I did there? I added several links to previous blog posts as well as actual pages on my website, all in some way related to the topic I am writing about – SEO and link building.

Screen shot of the SEO results for Link building in a blog post. The green dots shows you have enough links in your post
The goal is to show green dots in the Yoast SEO Plug-in

Remember, SEO looks at both internal and external linking, which leads me to my next tip.

Write guest blogs so that you can link back to your website.

Another way to add links to your blog post is to add your social media links. These would count for outside links.

This can be done at the bottom of your post with a phrase such as: If you’d like to connect with me on social media, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

You could even link to a specific post on your social media. Since this post is about SEO, I’m linking two separate tweets here and here I’ve posted related to SEO.

You can go back and add in links, however, it is BETTER to REWRITE a new post with a little different angle or side-topic (SEO does not like duplicate content) so it reads differently, then add a link to your old post.

Remember, links can include other pages or posts on your website. Circling in a loop is okay. And you can add links to both words (Anchor Text) or photos. The goal would be for every blog post to have at least two links in it (one internal and one external).

There are many other things to learn about link building, but I will save those tips for another post. For now this is enough to get your started.

Give it time. You won’t have enough content in the beginning to do this right away. But in time you will be able to add link building into your SEO plans.


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Why SEO Should Matter To An Author

November 12, 2019 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,
Blog post title Why SEO Should Matter To An Author by Denise M. Colby. Brown background with three scrabble tiles spelling out SEO

There are several reasons why, as an author, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should matter.

SEO What? You ask?

According to Wikipedia, Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. 

Quote from blog post by Denise M. Colby - how SEO works

Basically when someone types in a set of words in their search bar, SEO is what determines which website pages get shown first. SEO is the unpaid results (not the paid ads we see that state clearly “paid ad”).

So what can SEO do for you as an Author?

  • Make it easier for people to find your content, which in turn they find you and your books. 
  • Teach you to think about your posts and your website differently. 
  • Tie your writing and your graphics together. 
  • Give direction as to what type of graphics to create. 
  • Direct you to write blog posts that fit into a content strategy based on your SEO goals.
  • Help you name your pages with urls that are SEO specific.

Here are some questions to ask and ponder when creating a website page or blog post:

  • Do you know your target audience?
  • Do you know the people you are trying to reach?
  • Do you know what you want to reach them with?
  • Why would someone want to read your article, book, post?

How do you find things on the internet?

Think about how you go looking for something on the internet.

Do you type just one word? a phrase? or a sentence?

scrabble tiles spelling out SEO and then a Blog Post Quote by Denise M. Colby

When you think about your overall brand, how would you look for something you write? What would the one word? one phrase? or one sentence be?  

As I’ve focused on SEO more, I feel it has helped me become a better writer. 

When I have to select just one keyword or keyword phrase to fit a blog post, my post is more focused and succint. When I had too many choices to pick just one, it made it harder to figure out the goal of my piece. If I can’t figure it out, how would I expect someone else to figure out the purpose of my writing?

What are some other things I feel SEO has helped me with?

Organizing my website, blog posts, and files.

I’ve developed a category and tag strategy that has given me ample blog post ideas. All which tie into my brand. It’s not perfect, but I feel like I’m going in the right direction. And that peace has been transforming.

Some other things to note about SEO:

Graphically SEO matters as well.

The algorithms look at sub-heads, which are used to break up the flow of reading, and images that match the written content which helps make your content more compelling. Faster website loading, and ease of use to find your content matter too. 

Keep in mind, being creative is great, but having something so obscure for page names won’t help your target audience find you.

There needs to be a purpose/strategy to everything you do.

The more thorough you are with SEO strategies, both with the things I’ve mentioned above, as well as ALT text, meta data, and so much more, the better indexed your pages will be for all the different search engines, allowing your pages and posts to index better. 

The goal is to land on the first page of a search - blog post quote by Denise M. Colby SEO goals for authors

The goal is to land on the first page of a search. That way any person can find you, easily.

So, as I’ve mentioned above, SEO should be an important component to your marketing strategy as an author. If you’d like to find out more, you can sign up for my free Marketing for Authors newsletter. When you sign up, you’ll receive a free PDF on how to improve your image SEO. I walk you through how to do ALT Text, captions, and file naming. Future newsletters will include other tips and suggestions.

You could also look back at a few past posts of mine on this blog, here, here, and here.

I enjoy sharing what I have learned with other authors. Let me know if this has been helpful and what, if any, questions you may have.

Blessings,

Denise

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