Putting out the Welcome Mat

Welcome mat

I read a post today, over on Christina L. Rivers’ blog that really got my thinking. She likened finding one’s target audience to the elusive search for Big Foot. I laughed at the analogy but ended up going over her reflection list a few times, the furrows on my brow deepening with each reading. As Christina writes, is it simply happenstance? Or is it all about creating the right habitat, setting out the appropriate welcome mat?

As a self-published author trying to attract readers to my work, this blog is my prime real estate corner in the cyber-world. This is the place where I unfurl that welcome mat. A reader who has never heard of me can get curious about my books right here.

From the beginning of its inception, my blog has been eclectic. Writing about writing is writing about life. I have sought to create posts that give readers an insight into the living that occurs in the background of my books. Not to say my writing is autobiographical, but all fiction authors are (to a degree) spinning out their own experiences through various creative lenses. I am fortunate enough to have access to a huge archive of photographs taken my both myself and my husband, Bruce. I use these to illustrate (often in obscurely, artistic ways) the posts I write.

The right hand sidebar serves as a low-key means of alerting readers to the various social media sites where we can interact as well as highlights my books and, with a simple click, a means to purchase. The top photo bar hints at the setting for my work. My author photo brands me to this blog. Tabs lead to more details.

In approximately three and a half years of blogging, I’ve posted 418 times. That averages out to a bit more than two posts per week. In my opinion, when it comes to blogging, more isn’t always better. It is easy to overwhelm committed followers by over posting.

So, that is what I have been doing. What do you think of this welcome mat? Does it invite interaction? Am I creating a habitat that invites readers to jump on board? Suggestions, feedback, critique – feel free to weigh-in with whatever occurs to you.

The Inner Circle - Bruce Witzel photo

14 comments on “Putting out the Welcome Mat

  1. I’m glad you limit your posts. When bloggers post too much recipients can feel it’s like spam and rather than read the posts delete them. So top marks for getting timing and content spot on.

    • I’ve been posting a bit more lately to make up for time away but I know what you mean. Finding that balance is important. I know I can get irritated when I have time to cruise down the posts in my WordPress Reader and the space is taken up with endless posts and reblogs by a small handful of bloggers. The fine art of re-blogging is something to discuss in another post, for sure.

  2. reocochran says:

    I think it is a relief when I see real original writing over only quotes or jokes. I am a very busy worker, did 90 hours yhe past 2 weeks. I don’t unfilled and I set up a hard of time my posts. I did find people weren’t reading my longer essay posts and respond better to my photos and thoughts posts. I have only a few more commenters than when I was only one year into blogging but have 3 x the followers. Not really sure if any of this is helpful, Francis? Smiles, Robin

    • The rhythm of blogging – once we’ve been doing it for a while and paying attention to the posts that get attention and those that don’t (and this includes all kinds of things – topic, day of the week and time posted, length as you have mentioned.) it is possible to develop a flow. Number of comments is always my gold standard for engagement. Thanks for being part of that standard on this post 🙂

  3. I like to follow and support a lot of bloggers, so for me, shorter is better. Also, once a week is enough, but to each his own. One major problem I have is when blogger don’t respond to their comments. Typically I’ll stop following those people.
    We have that same Welcome mat, Fran!

    • So glad to make you feel at home, Jill. Since I’m after engagement, I can almost always be counted on to respond to comments. I know the time it takes to read through blogs and contribute, so I value those who make the effort for me. Shorter is something I do struggle with – long-winded novelist and all of that. I generally aim for approx. 500 and try to never stray past 800 words.

  4. I agree with the other commenters. I feel under pressure to produce blog posts, even though I love doing them, but knowing how it is to try to read posts of all the other blogs I follow, I find that too much (either too often or too long) makes me turn away. Lately I’ve felt more pressure to get posts out because I see some other bloggers posting several articles per day. I don’t want to do that many but I began to wonder if I should be aiming to do more. Such a relief to hear that nobody wants that kind of bombardment. I enjoy hearing from my followers and love to interact with them.

  5. Erin says:

    I think your welcome mat has worked… I can’t quite remember how I found your blog, but, regardless, I keep coming back, reading your posts and finding insightful/useful information for my own journey as a writer.

    • Many thanks, Erin. I know I’ve said this before but it bears saying again. An important aspect of my involvement in social media is giving back and making whatever corner of cyberspace I occupies or visits just a tiny bit better when I leave. I love the opportunities for exchanging ideas, insights, tips and information that blogging provides. Glad I am a useful info source 🙂

  6. nrhatch says:

    The more genuine a blog is, the more attracted I am to it . . . especially if posts make me LAUGH or THINK or BOTH.

    And as has been said above, I want “real” interaction. I stop leaving comments when bloggers don’t have the time or inclination to respond and engage.

    Good luck!

    • Thank you for the well wishes 🙂 I am heartened to hear that followers want authenticity, a good laugh now and then and the opportunity to wrestle with various topics. And of course – real interactions. I think I’m on the right track.

  7. Behind the Story says:

    I like your welcome mat a lot. From my point of view, it’s perfect. I like seeing the lake and your face. I don’t want the writer of a blog to be a mystery. Once or twice a week is good for me. When bloggers write more than that, I delete most of them. I like to blog and to follow other blogs, but I worry that it cuts into my novel writing time too much. I’m a slow writer. I’ve been blogging once a week, but I may cut it down to twice a month for a while.

    • The age old question – how to justify the time spent on various social media sites – blogging included. I really go back and forth on that one. What I’ve decided is this – when I can’t post to the blog, I don’t. When I can, I may exceed the average of a post or two a week but it all comes out even in the end. I think there should be a slow writing movement like there is with food. It takes time to do something right 🙂

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