Why Do We Blog?

If you’re a blogger, chances are you’ve asked yourself that in a weak moment. Blogging has its challenges at all stages: In the beginning, we don’t know what to write about and don’t see a lot of return on our investment. Later, we’ve run out of topics ideas and may be disillusioned about all the time we spend on it.

If you haven’t started blogging yet, you’ve probably asked yourself the same sort of questions: What should I blog about? How will blogging help me sell books? I’ve been there, and I understand. Don’t give up! Let’s run through it again. Why are you (or should you be) blogging, and what are your goals for your blog?

  • blogging tips in letterpress typeTo connect with readers. Our long-term goal is to build a community of readers who might be interested in purchasing our books. We blog to begin a two-way communication with supporters who will spread the word about what we have to say to other readers who might be interested in purchasing our books.
  • To practice craft, discipline, voice and style. Maintaining a blog and consistently delivering good content can help establish self-discipline while it allows a writer to practice craft. It’s almost inevitable that your writing will improve over time when you commit yourself to delivering good content in small sound bites.
  • To form relationships with other authors. Blogging and social media will introduce you to a community of writers, and these generous souls share ideas on these platforms that can help us find our way. From your blog, you can reach out to other authors to learn, to cross-promote, and to swap guest posts.
  • To establish an effective platform. A successful blog is ground zero for platform-building. If your goal is to get a traditional publishing contract, one of the first things an agent will do is Google you to see if you’ve done your homework.
  • To blog a book or two. That’s right. With a little long-term planning, you can write a series of posts that evolve into a stand-alone work or an ebook you can package as a giveaway or incentive to subscribe to your blog. On February 25, I’ll be launching my how-to titled, Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand. Some of the content was inspired by past posts on my blog that I’ve updated, re-worked, and expanded. Then I added new content to create a stand-alone manual designed to help new bloggers leap ahead on the learning curve. The book will also help disillusioned bloggers regenerate interest in their blogs. I’m really excited about it!
  • To build an email list. Of course, the primary goal of every author’s website is to sell books, but few accomplish this directly through blog-driven sales. Instead, we rely on the second most important goal for a website, which is to generate great content that prompts visitors to subscribe to our blog and/or newsletter. A great email list can be the most effective method for an author to actually sell books.

Bottom line, the real reason to blog is to get noticed. By readers, by Google and Alexa, by colleagues and peers, and by anyone else who may be able to offer support and/or opportunity.

Blogging helps build confidence!
One of the best paths to improvement is to study those who’ve been successful – to learn from the greats, the experts, the popular bloggers whose ranks you’d like to join. I mention a few of them in my new book, Blog It. I’ve found that one important element they all share is confidence. Confidence is contagious, and it comes across in the written word. Readers sense it, are inspired by it, are drawn to its energy. So go forth with confidence. Be brave, take a risk. Believe in yourself and your readers will believe in you.

Although the ultimate goal is clearly to earn an income from our books, keep in mind that those anonymous writers of ancient Chinese proverbs are right: The journey is the reward. And the journey begins on your blog!

Purchase Blog It! here:    Amazon US     Amazon UK     Barnes & Noble     Kobo

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Molly Greene is an author, blogger, and blogging coach with a preference for reading, writing, and rural life. Her nonfiction titles include Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand and the self-awareness guide, Someone Worth Becoming (July 2013). Molly is working on a second novel, Rapunzel; her fiction debut, Mark of the Loon, is available at major online retailers. Follow and Friend her on TwitterGoodreadsFacebookGoogle+

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49 Responses to Why Do We Blog?

  1. Toby Neal February 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Another great article from the fabulous Molly Greene!

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      Thanks so much Toby, and I’d like to apologize profusely to my email subscribers who received the notification TWICE! So sorry all, I found the problem and it won’t happen again, please forgive me!

  2. Larry Crane February 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Hello Molly – Great post. We all need to go back to ground zero from time to time and re-assess what our goals are, and if we’re moving in the right direction to achieve those goals. You’ve really found fertile ground here. And the core concept is right on:
    keep it up!

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      Larry, I wrote that to remind myself!! Thank you so much for your support, I love seeing you here on my blog!

  3. Belinda Pollard (@Belinda_Pollard) February 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Hi Molly, as you know, I’m a big believer in blogging, even if it doesn’t ALWAYS translate into action. 😀 But even with my sporadic blogging schedule, I have still managed to meet some great people via my blog and theirs, who have been a genuine help to me in my writing. (As you also know!)

    So I would add another ancient proverb: You can’t help someone else across the river without getting to the other side yourself.

    When all the technicalities of blogging and SEO and platform building get too bewildering, if we fall back on the philosophy of being genuinely helpful and useful to others in whatever way we can, the rest will fall into place. 🙂

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      Why didn’t I say that? OH, that’s right – because you’re my smart, lovely, grounded writer friend who says the loveliest, most thougthful things. So well said, Belinda!

  4. Anne R. Allen February 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    This is all great advice and I think blogging helps authors in dozens of ways.

    I know its an article of faith with book marketers, but I’m not so sure about email lists these days. I’m doing an informal poll on my blog re: newsletters and most readers say they hate them. We definitely have to use them sparingly and respectfully.

    Also it’s important to point out: blogging a book is great if it’s nonfiction and you’re going to self-pub it later. But blogging the rough draft of a novel is not a good idea, especially if you ever want to traditionally publish it. Rough drafts are by definition, sucky, plus you’re giving away first rights and most publishers won’t touch it.

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Hi Anne, thanks for these tips and there must be ways to use newsletters (quarterly?) that wouldn’t be annoying, I’ll have to come up with a blog post about that. As for blogging a book, I have three in the works – I wonder if there aren’t several ways an author of fiction can blog a couple non-fiction works, even if they’re used as a giveaway on the author’s blog — oh! another blog post! By the way, I’d love to have you guest post sometime!

  5. David February 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Hi Molly
    I laughed with the opening of the article. I’ve never had any trouble with topics. Sometimes there is pauses in inspiration. Other times my readers get overwhelmed. These days I usually keep it more reasonable.

    But yes I have stopped to ask myself why on occasion. What is driving this? And in the early days, I wondered if I was mostly talking to myself.

    My initial motivation for one blog was to see if there was any interest in what I had to say. Was there a market for a book? It’s evolved from there. The other was more for sharing techniques and tips i’d discovered and to avoid having to rewrite the “steps to set up X” emails I used to send.

    Both were also spun off of former web sites that had become too big and cumbersome to maintain. (hand coded)

    At a certain point I stopped putting pictures in the articles even though this reduces their impact and attractiveness – partly because of the time it was taking to select and prepare them. (it adds up)(also because of drive space constraints)

    But the feedback I eventually got from readers of the first blog was not only positive but occasionally suggests it’s a revelation or life changing and they really appreciate it. That sort of thing makes it all worthwhile and verified the original motivation. As I mention in prior comments here, I’m planning a migration to a hosted blog and more formal preparations for the book are underway.

    This is much less on my other blog on science and tech. Lots more equivalent articles around. Some of those articles get 0 attention while the occasional gets numerous hits a day 5 years later. That one I may phase out but there are occasional things I find useful to share that are better in that forum.

    • Molly Greene February 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      David, lucky YOU! The topic issue drives most fiction authors crazy. It’s great to hear about a blogger getting such wonderful feedback from followers, I think that’s something we all aspire to. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!

  6. Laura Zera February 18, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    Good post, Molly. And there’s another non-fiction book coming this year, too?! Yay you. This post prompted me to finally go check out Alexa. Now I hope you’ll write a blog post on Alexa. I’d really like to know why Alexa says the top search query to my site is “flavored toilet paper.” Seriously?

    • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 7:06 am #

      But Laura, you wrote a post about European flavored toilet paper, didn’t you? Seems that post made the world beat a path to your door, hahaha.

      • Laura Zera February 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

        Once. Once little mention about “chamomile-flavored toilet paper” in Romania. Why are people searching on that string, though?! LOL!

  7. Pat February 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Great blog and a good reminder as to why I blog!

  8. Marianne Wheelaghan (@MWheelaghan) February 19, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    Hi Molly, by sheer coincidence I’d been thinking about my blog and whether I should continue with it when I saw Belinda’s tweet to here, so I clicked and read your top tips with lots of interest. They are very helpful! A big thanks. However, the main price or cost of blogging to me seems to be a drain on my creativity and I’m still not sure if this is too high a price to pay especially at the moment when I’m starting a new writing project. Does anyone else find blogging drains creativity? If so, how do you deal with it? If not, sounds like it’s just me ;o)
    PS: David, I am very envious of you never running out of topic ideas!

    • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 7:18 am #

      For me, blogging can both drain and enhance creativity. On one hand, it makes me look at nearly everything with the thought, “Can I blog about that?” and on the other hand, writing blog posts is both a distraction and a time commitment. I’ve found that a single post a week combined with hosting guests gives me a little breathing room AND offers my readers some pretty great information. You might consider planning a series of posts that you can compile into an ebook as a giveaway for visitors – repurposing posts gives you more incentive to write them!

      • Marianne Wheelaghan (@MWheelaghan) February 19, 2013 at 8:33 am #

        Hey Molly, thanks for this. That is exactly how I think when it comes to blogging ie: can I use this picture or this idea etc. And it does also take up so much time! Maybe I need to be better organized? A single weekly post sounds a good idea – until recently I have been striving for two a week and posted more often in the past. And hosting guests is a GREAT idea (why have I not thought of this before!?), And a series of posts to giveaway in an ebook is another GREAT idea! I may need to think it out a little but the idea of repurposing posts is a definite incentive. Thanks so much for spurring me on … 🙂

        • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 8:44 am #

          Yaaaaay! Pre-planning, re-purposing, guests, one post a week. Now you know most of my secrets. Can’t wait to hear how it all goes for you, Marianne!

    • David February 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

      Hi Marianne
      (laughs) Thanks, but nothing to be envious of. And I don’t see any creativity as a drain on itself. Perhaps it’s in how you frame it. One example is this great talk by Eliz Gilbert – author of Eat, Pray, Love. Creativity is not our responsibility. It comes through us.

      Creativity certainty can consume time. And inspiration can show up at awkward moments – I keep post-its all over the house to catch the fleeting ideas that make little impression and vanish if you don’t capture them. But the act of writing itself is like a muscle. Exercise it and it gets stronger. The muse flows more easily. And stuff beyond your conception and imagination can flow out when you’re open to it.

      I’d say that’s the only downfall of a scheduled post. Or scheduled writing time. If it obliges you to produce on cue, it can stress you out and get in the way of the flow. Better to capture the ideas as they arise. Then you can sit down at formal times to give them life. 😉

      • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

        I LOVE ELIZABETH GILBERT! I totally hijacked something from her and use it as my own now: “I am my best person when I don’t have too much on my plate.” (laughs) Oh what a luxury those times are!

      • Marianne Wheelaghan (@MWheelaghan) February 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

        Hi David, thanks so very much for sharing this link and I’ll certainly look up Liz Gilbert and Eat, Pray, Love. I agree with what you say about always being ready to catch the fleeting moments – these moments are very much like the snow that falls on the river that Robert Burns talks about in his poem Tam O’ Shanter *, so fleeting you can blink and they are gone. I have a notebook to capture them though – well, a few note books actually 😉 I also believe the more you write the better you become at writing and the more open you are to new ideas. I think being organised definitely helps though – even if that seems a contradiction. The thing I find most difficult is switching from my blogging writing head to my novel writing head. So, I think the time has come to replan and get better prepared – and having just read Molly’s quote below I think I am going to like Elizabeth Gilbert’s book! Thanks for support and encouragement, David! 🙂

        •But pleasures are like poppies spread,
        You sieze the flower, its bloom is shed;
        Or like the snow falls in the river,
        A moment white–then melts for ever …

  9. A.K.Andrew February 19, 2013 at 1:01 am #

    Really enjoyed this Molly – good to have a bit of grounding in with the flurry of trying to get posts out , research material, make connections etc. In the low points one can wonder why am I doing this, especially as I am not yet published, though coming to the end of final draft for my second novel. It was good to have a concise reminder.Thank you so much for the post.

    • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 7:19 am #

      My pleasure, A.K. – best to begin a blog/webiste long before you’re published, good for you!

  10. Deborah Jay February 19, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    Hi Molly,
    Thanks for a timely post – I’m almost ready to start blogging – hoping to finish setting up in the next couple of weeks, and I am brimming wiht ideas at this point, so its really interesting to hear from experienced bloggers about what it can be like further down the line.
    I have a question though – I keep hearing about newsletters and I’m unsure what is the point of them – if your blog posts are notified to every person following you, what’s the point of newsletters as well?
    Cheers 🙂

    • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 7:23 am #

      Deborah, a periodic newsletter (not too often, as Anne notes above) is a great tool to announce new books, contests, and educational and/or fun stuff to your subscribers. If you send one, every newsletter should offer value and be attractive and interesting.

  11. carol hedges February 19, 2013 at 2:58 am #

    Yup. All this and more! Started blogging in May last year. Love it. Mainly because a novel is such a long piece of work, and a blog is a tiny little complete one. Love the feedback, the awards, the red carpet and champagne ..nono that’s not blogging, is it! Great post. Stop by my blog sometime. I have a PINK SOFA!

    • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      Good for you, Carol. I think the short-term goal of blogging fits well with our long-term writing goals, just as you said! I’ll stop by and have a chat on your pink sofa one day, thanks!

  12. Caroline February 19, 2013 at 4:03 am #

    Hi Molly,
    thanks for this useful reminder about why we blog. As a recent starter I have had to think these things through, but it’s easy to lose sight of them when dealing with the technicalities or the pressure to keep up a good schedule of posts.

    My main purpose is to join and add to a community of people who share my interests. I know writers are expected a. to publish and b. to promote sales through all possible media, including blogs. Some of us want to engage without these purposes. I don’t expect to be believed.

    Thanks for the posts which I enjoy and find helpful to develop my own blogging.


    • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 7:28 am #

      Caroline, I think we all have the potential to “get lost” in our blogs. Planning helps. And I’m so happy you’ve found my blog helps, as well! Thanks so much for the read and comment.

  13. Cindy February 19, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    Another great post, Molly. You inspire me! Love the look of your site. Looking forward to the release of Blog It! & Someone worth Becoming.

  14. Pamela Beason February 19, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    Great post, Molly! Now I feel even more guilty for not spending more time on my blog. These days I’m trying to work some actual book writing in between my social media gigs. It’s so hard to fit everything in!

    • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      It’s really, really hard to fit it all in Pam, no argument there. Glad to hear you’re writing another and I can’t wait to read it!

  15. Lori Draper February 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    You’ve got that right! I’ve just begun with my blog and building my following. It’s a slow and painful process, but I keep at it! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

      One step at a time, one foot in front of the other!

  16. Christina February 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Since I follow you on Twitter, I assumed I followed you here, but I didn’t before today. Fantastic article, I needed a reminder today!

    • Molly Greene February 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

      We all need a reminder – I wrote this for me :-O Thanks so much, Christina!

  17. elaine pinkerton coleman February 21, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Thanks, Molly, for this post. I’ve been waffling about the time and energy spent blogging and know that the reasons to continue far outweigh the cons. I have wondered if blogging is keeping me away from “real” writing but of course it is real and immediate to reach out to readers in cyberspace. I have no idea if it is helping my book sales but have concluded that “the path is the way” and that writing is writing.
    Your wise essay brightened my day.

    • elaine pinkerton coleman February 21, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      looking forward to more on blogging!

    • Molly Greene February 21, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      Elaine, I understand all about questioning our decision to blog – I’ve done it many, many times. I think every blogger needs to remember what we’ve gained, it keeps us going. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  18. Jeff Machado February 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm #


    I’m so glad you highlighted that building your email list is an important objective for a blog! It amazes me how many bloggers miss this important step.

    But blogging a book – I’ve heard it before but it really hit me this time how that could be done. It just goes to show that every piece of content is an investment!

    • Molly Greene February 21, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

      Oh, yes, the all-important email list. I think of these folks as my biggest fans, as they care enough to want to hear what I and my guests have to say week after week. As for “blogging a book,” it applies to nonfiction, not really fiction, as blogging a work of fiction would taint it in the eyes of a trad publisher (if that’s important to you.) But I see no reason why novelists can’t turn essays and how-to posts into something salable, right? At least a giveaway for subscribers.

  19. Bill Kasal February 24, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Love this one, Molly. I started my blog a little over two years ago as a way to make myself start writing. Since beginning my blog, I self-pub’d a cookbook, Kindle short, a non-fiction about my days as a reserve police officer and took many of my early posts and re-worked them into an compilation. I totally agree with you on this… blogging FINALLY got me writing! Thanks for the reminder!

    • Molly Greene February 24, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      YAAAAAY! This is such a testament to what we can do with a little pre or post-planning (pun intended). Thanks so much Bill for your comment! Can’t wait to hear what you’ll do next!

  20. Sakib Khan September 7, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    yes!.. blogging makes you versatile and you know it also helps in academics too!.. Thank you Ma’am.

  21. Robin Follette November 2, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    Thank you! I’m glad you shared this again on Twitter this morning. It was helpful this morning while I’m putting together a new blogging plan.

    • Molly Greene November 2, 2014 at 8:25 am #

      My pleasure, Robin, and best to you as you blog your way into 2015 – it’s right around the corner!