Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Welcome Stephen Tremp

Please welcome today, my guest blogger, author Stephen Tremp. Stephen is the author of Breakthrough, an action suspense novel that "weaves together breakthroughs in physics and technology with greed, murder, and mayhem". (Sounds like my kind of book!) It is the first book of a trilogy. Please enjoy his post today as he writes about good blog posts. Be sure to stop by Stephen's blog to find out more this banking and finance guy turned author.

What makes a good blog post?

Content and format are the two most important things to consider:

Content: Blogdom is a world of “What Can You Do for Me.” And rightfully so. People have busy schedules. They have jobs. They have families. They have limited time to visit and read blogs. You have to write about something interesting or offer useful and practical tips that help people. Incorporate a focused obsession and where it’s taking you. This is what brings visitors back again and again.

If you have a blog that states common knowledge, or is long, visitors will likely move on to another blog. I try to cap my blogs at six or seven paragraphs. Be concise. I suggest breaking a lengthy blog into two or three blogs. I do this all the time. And don’t forget to upload a picture of your smiling face. People want to see and get to know the person behind the message.

Most bloggers focus on one subject matter only, like children’s books, poetry, or a daily devotional. Others, like myself, blog on multiple loosely connected subjects. I blog on the following topics:

* My experiences writing books and the pros and cons of self publishing

* Promotion and marketing.
* Basic concepts of science and technology and breakthroughs mankind may be on the cusp of discovering (this goes along with the themes of my books).
* I interview bloggers and writers, especially children’s authors. I think it’s important to support those striving to educate our youth with quality stories and poems. I’m happy to help by giving these writers exposure to an audience they may not normally reach.

Format: You want a format that is pleasing to the eyes. Bloggers can be a fickle bunch and may not return if they do not like your format. Here are two examples (IMHO) of competing sites: iUniverse and Dog Ear Publishing. One site looks professional and one looks, well, not so much. I will not use actual blog sites as I do not want to offend anyone.

First, both sites have white backgrounds. Personally, I like that. A funky green or hot pink might cause me to leave and not return. However, it’s common to see blogs with a color scheme that reflects their theme, such as earth tones for an agricultural theme, or black for dark mysteries, or red for murder mysteries.

Notice the tabs on both sites. It’s clear what iUniverse has to offer. I can easily navigate the site and understand what they can do for me. How much their services cost. And a toll free number I can call and speak with an actual person. However, Dog Ear has too many contrasting colors and font sizes (for me). It’s difficult to read and I spent a lot of time searching for the same information I found in moments at iUniverse.

You probably don’t want to have a cluttered look, or upload lots of videos, music, and a collection of large photographs and other graphics. These can cause your site to open very slowly. Clutter is an art some bloggers can get away with. In fact, clutter enhances their page. But for most of us clutter can detour visitors from returning.

How can a blog build a community of followers?

You have to visit other blogs, become followers, and leave comments. I use Twitter. Visitors can retweet my blog on their Twitter accounts. I also use a Facebook Fan Club called FANS OF THE BREAKTHROUGH TRILOGY. Yahoo! Groups are a great way to meet other authors. I do interviews, profiles, and book reviews. It’s a win-win situation as the spotlighted author will promote the interview/review to their friends and followers who will visit my blog. Both guest and host can literally reach hundreds of new people this way.

I have quite a diverse visitor base from all walks of life. I believe this is one of the strengths of my blog. I present an open-end topic, then encourage healthy conversation by posting question at the end of each blog.


If I can motivate and help people to publish their story or poetry, I feel I’ve accomplished something meaningful. And I’m always willing to listen to feedback and make corrections and changes to the material on my blog. I accept constructive criticism and encourage visitors to leave a comment.

About Stephen Tremp

I’m re-releasing a re-edited version of Breakthrough in late June. It will be available in hard cover, softbound, and ebook. Please stop by and visit my Breakthrough Blogs. My latest blog is Placing Your Book in Brick-and-Mortar Stores.


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Stephen, you make some really good points here. I do tend to skip blogs that tend to ramble forever or that post videos that are more than two or three minutes long. I think your honesty and your willingness to share the good and the bad is a factor that keeps followers like me returning to your blog regularly.

Martha said...

Thanks for the tips. I agree with Jane that I'll skip a video if it goes on past a certain amount of time.
Martha Swirzinski

Margaret Fieland said...

Steve, the point about the blog's appearance really strikes a chord with me. I don't have the world's best eyesight, and if a site is difficult to read, I quickly move on. I prefer light backgrounds with dark letters -- I find them much easier to read.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, and thanks for stopping by. One thing I've learned about blogging is to keep postings to a minumum. Edit out redundancies. Even break them up into multiple blogs. Educate and entertain through content, not bells and whistles.

Stephen Tremp

Accountant, Author & Freelance Writer said...

These are great points to share Stephen. Thank you!

Mari, Your blog is great! I just signed up to follow :)

Sharon Ball said...

Mari, thanks for having Stephen as a guest on your blog. The insight he provided was very useful and his book sounds like something I'd really enjoy.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Stephen certainly knows what he's talking about. I've noticed that any blog from blogger.com that uses their brown, patterned background is very slow to load, but all their others work fine. I wonder why?

Katie Hines said...

Wow, I've interviewed Stephen on my blog before, and didn't know all these interesting things about him. Absolutely loved the post and learned things I didn't know. Thanks for posting!

The Old Silly said...

Well written guest post article, Stephen, with a lot of good points. Looking forward to Breakthrough's 2nd edition release, too!

Dallas said...

What a helpful and informative post! Starting a blog can be a bit overwhelming, and you break it down into manageable, concise points. I especially agree with you about not making blog posts too long, and breaking them down into two or three separate posts if need be. Thank you Stephen and Mari for this interview. I will definitely be retweeting this!

All best,
Dallas :)


Anonymous said...

Great tips.
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer
Children's picture Book Klutzy Kantor
Coming Soon Marta Gargantuan Wings

kathy stemke said...

Thanks for the info. I love your blog Stephen. You have mastered the art of blogging! I've noticed that you get many visitors too. WAY TO GO! Good luck with your re-release!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Lots of love going around today. Thanks everyone for the kind words of encouragement. And thanks Mari for having me.

BTW, I really like the background of your blog. Its really cool. And blu'es my favorite colr. Very soothing and easy on the eyes.

Stephen Tremp

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I wanted to come by earlier but things got away from me. I love blogging, too, Stephen. In fact I wrote a book on blogging. It's for retailers but the essentials are all there for anyone else, even how to publicize the blog itself. Find it at www.budurl.com/Blogging4Retailers.
Mari, thanks for hosting Stephen. He's amazing!

Karen Cioffi said...

Stephen, what great advice for bloggers. I know I have to start shortening my posts. I think limiting to around 300 words is a good move--now to put it into practice.

I'm saving you post for future reference!

Mayra Calvani said...

Thanks for the tips on blogging!