Sylvia Day
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Networking with Weblogs

© 2005 Sylvia Day

Weblogs have quickly grown to become one of the most popular pages on romance author websites. Authors who maintain blogs will tell you that their blogging has increased traffic to their sites, encouraged readers to participate in discussions, and helped to build a stronger fan base. But does blogging help a writer network with other writers?

Using weblogs to network was an inevitable use of the platform. Visit any weblog and you’ll find the “sidebar”, a slender row of information that can extend down the left or right side of the main content. In almost all blog sidebars you will find links to other weblogs, and from those links you’ll find even more blogs. In addition, some blogs also “plug” the sites of the people who leave comments right on the main page.

Unlike message boards or forums, a weblog gives you the flexibility to write entire articles, allowing you to go into greater detail than you would with any other medium. Adding a static page to your site does nothing to help you connect with other writers, but post the information on your blog and the commenting feature enables you to have “conversations” about the topic, which is the whole point of networking–an interchange of information.

As your blog becomes more popular, you will find a wonderful mix of individuals and opinions. If you have a question, all you have to do is ask. You’ll find any number of responses tackling the issue from various angles. If your topic is interesting to others, they’ll mention your post on their blog, exposing you to new readers who will then visit you. You’ll be networking without getting dressed, leaving your house, or spending a dime.

The promotional value of this networking is tremendous. Search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, use incoming links to a website to determine how popular that site is. The more popular a website is deemed, the higher it appears on search results. If you want your website to be the first result returned when someone searches your name, having a multitude of other websites linking to you is important and having a blog is an easy way to get more links to your site.

Blogging is not for everyone, since it requires an investment of time and your own personality. But for those of you considering the pros and cons of starting a weblog, know that you’ll be enjoying one of the most effective ways to increase visibility and network on the Internet.

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