Monday, December 9, 2013

Don't Be Too Quick To Shut Down That Author Blog

As many of you already know, my Publetariat site was offline entirely for close to two months in the early part of this year, and then it was back online but laying more or less fallow for several more months while my work continued behind the scenes to ensure the site was secure and functioning properly.

Now that I've got it up and running again, with new material being posted there five days a week, I've discovered that many of the sites and blogs I used to visit when searching for possible content to share on Publetariat have disappeared.

I suspect many of those missing site and blog owners eventually threw in the towel because they felt they didn't have the time or energy to keep adding new material on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis, and having been repeatedly admonished to do so, felt there was little point in keeping the site or blog going if they couldn't live up to that requirement.

Giving up was a mistake.

As you may have noticed, I don't post here daily, weekly, nor even necessarily monthly. I post when I have something to say that I think is worth sharing, and frankly, it just doesn't happen all that often.

Don't get me wrong: I am most certainly NOT saying that people who DO post daily, weekly, et cetera are just flapping their gums for no good reason. Plenty of bloggers have a lot of interesting, valuable, educational, or even just amusing stuff to post on a regular basis, and I applaud them for being so prolific.

But even if you're like me, only posting as time allows and when inspiration strikes, it's still worth keeping your blog up because longevity has intrinsic value on the internet. Here's how the cycle works:

The longer your blog is up, the more legitimate and "trustworthy" it looks to Google and other search engines. The more search engines "like" and "trust" your blog, the higher (closer to the top) its posts come up in search results.

The higher your blog's posts come up in search results, the more exposure you get. The more exposure you get, the more traffic you get. The more traffic you get, the more people you get sharing links to your blog. The more traffic and links you get, the more legitimate and trustworthy you look to search engines.

And the cycle repeats, ad infinitum.

What all of this means is, even if you're NOT posting fresh content on a frequent basis, the mere fact that your blog exists---and continues to exist, year in and year out---is helping to cement and build your author platform by improving your search rankings.

Even when I'm not posting new stuff here, people keep coming every single day from web searches and by following direct links to stuff I've posted here previously.

Of course, posting fresh content regularly will always help to drive more traffic and get your books more exposure. So if your goal is maximum sales, the laidback, infrequent posting approach won't work for you.

But if you're considering shutting down your site or blog merely because you don't currently have the time or energy to update it regularly, DON'T. Someday you may again have the necessary time and energy, and until then, your "resting" blog is still building traffic and credibility for you. Given that it can take years to build a following and reach respectable web traffic numbers, why on Earth would you want to throw away the equity you've already built?

Let your blog lie fallow if that's what you need to do right now, but don't shut it down if there's even the tiniest possibility you'll want to blog again in the future.


judy schechter said...

Hi April, I'm just wondering why I cannot get onto your website or click any links in your blog posts because when I try I get a 403 – forbidden error. just wanted to make sure you are aware of this problem.

April L. Hamilton said...

I don't know, Judy. I'm not seeing that problem on my end. It must be a problem on your own computer, or with your own browser. I tested several links and visited all my sites, and they all appear to be functioning normally.

Olivia Bersell said...

Hi April, Great post... I came here through a blogroll link and decided to read this post. I've only recently started my own blog to coincide with my upcoming book launch. "Posting something when you've got something to say" sums it up for me, I found it quite difficult to write my first post.