Maintaining a Professional Blog

How important is it for writers to maintain a professional blog?

In the last post, most of us agreed that blogging probably won’t give us a huge readership before publication. Even though blogging can help establish a baseline, our largest readership will develop after publication.

So if most of us are blogging for encouragement, support, education, expression, building a web presence, and a hundred other various reasons, why would we need to worry about keeping our blogs professional?

I look at blogs as our cyber home-offices. The way we decorate them is often an expression of ourselves. From our backgrounds to our layouts—we often choose designs that represent ourselves and/or our writing. That’s all part of the fun of blogging.

Personal expression is good, but once we enter the realm of querying, professional expression must enter the equation too. In other words, once we begin to make contact with industry professionals—agents and editors—I think we need to make sure our cyber offices reflect this new step in our career.

Experience has taught me that agents and editors can pop onto our blogs for surprise visits. Not only has this happened to me, I know it’s happened to other writers in the querying phase. If our queries or sample chapters perk the interest of agents or editors, they may make a quick visit to our blogs to learn more about us.

Will we be prepared? And what are some ways we can make sure that our blogs are appealing to agents and editors? After all, why wouldn’t we want to make a good impression on them, as well as all of the readers who swing by on a daily basis?

Showcase ourselves and our books:

At the very basic, a professional blog should include the writer’s name and a profile picture. I’m surprised by the number of writer blogs I stumble upon that don’t mention the writer’s name but instead say something like, “Lovely Writer” with a picture of a heart or something like that. If we’re too afraid to put our name and picture “out there” then how will we cope when our books, our very souls, are released for all the world to see?

In addition, we may consider having links to more information about ourselves and our books. Blogger now has a gadget for tabs that open into separate pages (similar to a website). I’ve set mine up at the top of this blog. It’s a great place to showcase our author bio, current projects, completed books, etc. I would recommend making it as simple and clear as possible.

Keep our blogs tidy and easy to read:

The top page of our blog, the part that shows up first in a screen, should highlight the most important parts of our blog. We may only have a few seconds to make an impression, so we should carefully consider what things our readers see first. I would recommend again, an author picture and name, along with the aspects of our writing career that are most important to us.

Keep in mind that light type set against a dark background can be more difficult to read, along with certain fonts. Even if we really like something, we also need to start thinking “hook.” What will draw the attention and keep it of anyone who might stop by.

Just like we tidy our real homes, from time to time we need to evaluate our blogs and decide if we need to clean them up, or even do a home makeover. If we’re getting serious about publication, then we need to get our blogs ready. We never know who may stop by!

How’s your blog? Have you considered what impression your blog gives to your readers? And if an agent or editor stopped by, would you be ready for their visit?

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