Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#WWoW: #Blog, Website, or Hybrid? What's an Author to Do?

Welcome to this week's edition of Writer's Words of Wisdom on Not Enough Time in the Day. I've had a few topics I wanted to touch upon over the next few weeks, but another has had to be brought to the top of the list. Last week I covered how to avoid the diva syndrome. In that article I mentioned one particular diva author who didn't know what a blog was, how it was used to promote an author's work, or what they needed to do in order to be a guest on another's blog. For most of you visiting here, this topic may seem very basic, but there are many more authors out there who haven't got a clue what a blog is let alone how to create one.

I was one of those people when I first published in 2011. I found out very quickly I was behind the rest of the pack. Luckily, the wonderful veteran authors with my publisher pointed me in the right direction and I haven't looked back ever since. With three pen names, I now have or share four adult website/blogs, one PG rated blog(this one), one PG rated website/blog, and one book review blog.  That's right. Seven distinct sites. Three of them I  own the domain names and the others will soon follow.

What's the difference between all of them? What makes a blog a blog and not a website or vise versa? I thought it would be a great idea to repost a blog article my alter ego Stephanie Ryan did not to long ago on this very subject. She isn't published yet, but is getting a jump start on her online presence so that when she does put out her first mainstream romantic fiction, folks will already recognize her name.  (Yeah, I've learned a few things by the third pen name! LOL) The following was of course on her own blog, so the references made in the article apply to Through Stephanie's Eyes.

Blog, Website, or Hybrid? What's an Author to Do?

Being relatively new to the publishing game, I've come across many discussions about creating a separate website from my blog. Now these talks are between other authors mind you so I thought I would put the question out there to them.

What's the difference between the two?

Silence...yep. That's what I got. Oh I got great advice that I should have both and that a website would make me appear more professional than a blog, but not one of them told me WHY this is so and what's the difference between the two. Well, I went searching with good old Dr. Google (to borrow the term from my veterinarian alter ego Tammy) to see what I could come up with. Guess what? Most of the folks out there can't answer that question either!

So what's a girl to do?

Don't freak out! I did find a few great articles that put it all into perspective. Jeff Korhan wrote a very concise and easy to understand article about it HERE.  For those of you who already know the difference between the two, please bear with me as I go through this for those of us who were confused.  A blog is actually a specific type of website (shocker I know!) that has content that changes on a regular basis. A blog's home page will have the most recent post at the top followed by the older ones. Think of it as an online magazine.  An actual website can be looked of as a storefront. It's selling a product (you as an author and your work) or service. The content is dedicated to that product you're presenting for purchase. Of course you can manually update the pages of your website, but they don't update on a continual basis with each new post like a blog would.  Here's another article comparing the two and their basic features. Oh what the hell, here's another one for those of you who need just a bit more convincing.

Still confused? Don't be!

After reading the articles, I've decided the best option for me is to have a combination of the two like Tammy has with Behind Closed Doors. When you click on that link, you are taken to her static "About Me" page on  Yes, she's allowed comments there, but for the most part, the information is static showcasing her book covers, information about her, a few banners, and of course the tabs at the top will take you to one of her blogs, her poetry, guest author guidelines, etc.  With Wordpress it was easy to do that and set up another page as the blog for Behind Closed Doors. I won't get into all of that here, but as a whole all of my alter egos like Blogger better. Why? It's a bit more user friendly when it comes to the fonts, colors and basic set up when dealing with the free services. Wordpress has specific fonts for each free template. Of course you can purchase more and custom design your own, but for today's discussion, I'm sticking to the freebies.

So how can I set up my "website" here with Blogger and connect it to the blog? Easy! I'll make it a static page. Right now it's just my About Me section but as I get published, I'll add more content. I may add it to that tab or even...get this...start up ANOTHER page to showcase my titles with their buy links.  Okay, I'm being a smart ass here, but you get the point. I've freaked myself out for far too long thinking I had to get a separate website and keep it separate from my blog in order to appear more professional to readers and others in the publishing world.  Why? Because someone else said I HAD to that's why.

Isn't the whole point of having an online presence is to be noticed? If you start doing everything according to some cookie cutter template like everyone else, how will you stand out? How will you attract those folks just randomly searching the Internet to first stop in and look at your site and then STAY there, maybe even follow you for future updates and posts?

I'm going to follow my own drummer here and make my blog/website combination as professional and welcoming as possible. I want this to be a spot where my friends, fans, fellow authors and the curious to stop in and relax checking out what's here on the pages. Hopefully they'll all like what they see and keep coming back. That's the sort of thing that keeps me going back to my favorite blogs.  How about you?


I hope that was of some help. Next week, I'll go into a bit more about creating a "gimmick" for your blog posts and that of your guests.

For more of this week's Words of Wisdom, please stop in on the following authors. If there is a topic you'd like to see covered, just drop me a line and I'll see what I can do!

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