Monday, March 4, 2013

What makes a good blog? Hope Clark has the answer,

“Every piece of content you write on a blog has to either solve
a problem or entertain the reader.”  Hope Clark

Hope Clark is someone I greatly admire. Her blogs and her newsletters are food for writers, in my opinion. So when she says a blog must either solve a problem or entertain the reader, I know she is right.

My Writers Circle blog is designed to give writers information about workshops and classes and the writers who teach at my home studio. At times, I throw in a post on the craft or my opinion.

Writing Life Stories has been all over the place since the beginning. It has changed in theme and content, but that is because I have changed since the blog was started in 2007. Many of my readers manage a blog or many blogs on various subjects. I understand that a blog concentrated on a theme like quilting, chicken farming, or single mothers raising kids, that discuss the problems and offer solutions is going to have a large audience. Those blogs require a concentrated schedule and plan I think. That might be too much work for me at this time in my life.

How I became a blogger and Netwest Writers was Born

It was fall of 2007 at a panel discussion at a writers conference that I realized what a blog was and what it could do. A young mother had written a book on stay at home moms working from home and she found out she could sell more of her books on a blog than by going through a New York Publisher. On the panel were three other writers who had found success from writing a blog.

I came home and told my husband I was going to learn how to blog, not for myself, but for the writers and poets in our chapter of NCWN. I had taken the job of Program Coordinator for NCWN West. Nancy Simpson and I had often talked about the problem of getting the voices of mountain writers in our area over the ridges and past the ranges into the rest of the world. I believed a blog was better than a website. A website at that time was static and unchanging. A blog gave us freedom to share new material everyday if we wanted. And the blog was free!

I was scared. After all, I didn't know anything about this new technology. Would our members accept this and use it? Would it do what I hoped it would? Soon I was holding classes on blogging and some of our members, Brenda Kay Ledford, Nancy Simpson, Carol Thompson, and Sam Hoffer began their own sites. What pleased me the most was that all of us were beyond the young stage. We were all over fifty. It wasn’t long before Netwest member and Poet Laureate of North Carolina, Kathryn Stripling Byer created a blog. When she became Program Coordinator for Netwest, she brought readers from everywhere to the Netwest blog.

I have been disappointed that more of our members have not used the Netwest Writers blog. We have a number of authors listed who have the capability to write posts and other members can ask for and get permission to post on the blog. It was created for our members.

I am so thankful, however, that Netwest Writers blog has been successful in promoting our writers and helping them reach across the state and around the world. We have readers from many different countries every day.

Nicki Leone, president of the NCWN Board of Trustees at that time built a website for the state organization and plopped our Netwest blog right on the front page. Since they have thousands of visitors every single day, those visitors saw us here in the mountains, clicked on our blog with little effort and read about our writers and our poets and playwrights. The voices of our writers have indeed reached beyond the mountains.

Where do we go from here?
I hope that other members of Netwest will post articles that appeal to readers. One of our members said the blog had simply become a bulletin board of upcoming events. We need to change that. We need posts that will keep us worthy of exposure on the home page of the NCWN website. We need an administrator who will help keep the blog on the radar of the search engines. Who out there is ready to do that?


  1. Writing requires daily discipline. So does promotion and I thank you for giving me a push.
    I agree that, while we all need a website, it is wrong to expect the site to do the promotion for you. Websites are, as you stated, just too passive.

  2. Glenda,
    I'm so glad you taught us how to blog. This has been a wonderful experience learning how to blog. Thanks for all the hard work you do for NCWN-W.

  3. Yes, Bill, part of the business of writing is promoting your work. We have many ways to do that and this site is good for helping our members become known. Last month we had 4,250 page views on this blog. We could do much better if our members would use this site.
    When I look at the most popular posts, I see they are when members are featured or when we post an article of value to writers. We have 90 members of Netwest. If one member wrote an article each month for this site, we could have fresh material every three months.
    Bill, write something for us. Your bookfest is coming up. Write us 400 words on why people should come to the Blue Ridge Bookfest.

  4. Brenda Kay, you have been an excellent student of the blog and your blogs are interesting and bring many viewers to read your work and get to know you.
    I appreciate your posting on the Netwest blog, as well.

    What do you think would draw more readers to the Netwest blog?

  5. GREAT post! You know how much I love blogs : )

  6. Tipper, thank you for being a faithful follower of this site. Your blog is one of the best ever and we could all take lessons from you.

    I'm afraid my math about members and posts shows my lack of math skills. Anyway, it would be great if our members would post more on this blog.


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