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Blogs as a Book Marketing Tool
Rick Gelinas asks:
Can anyone help me automate access to the top fifty blogs? I’d like a quick way to access and respond to the best blogs having to do with authoring novels and self-publishing. My dream would be a way to have an icon on my desk top that contains the best blogs for my purpose, and then just visit each one in turn by simply hitting, “next,” and “next,” until I’ve seen each blog’s posts of the day and I’ve responded to the ones I find germane. In this manner I’d be willing to invest an hour or two each day to promote my own current novel, The Vengeance Trap, and the books of authors affiliated with Books for Boots. What I don’t want to do, if I can help it, is search the Internet for an hour or two each day.
To which Cathy Stucker replies:
Rick, I think your idea is a good one. Here are some suggestions you and others may find useful.
Blogs all have RSS feeds. Once you identify the blogs you want to follow, subscribe to the RSS feeds in your favorite reader. One that is easy and free is Google Reader at http://www.google.com/reader You will have the latest posts from all of your chosen blogs updated automatically, all in one place.
You can also sign up for Google Alerts to be notified when a page or post including your keyword term is indexed by Google. I have found several commenting and guest posting opportunities this way. Go to http://www.google.com/alerts to set up this free service.
Now, to identify the blogs: Technorati is a good place to start. Go to http://www.technorati.com and search for the terms you want to follow. (As an aside, blogs related to the subject of your novel might be more effective than writing and publishing blogs.) The search function on the home page will identify _posts_ with the search term. Using the advanced search function will allow you to find _blogs_ about the search term. (If the difference isn't clear, a basic search for "publishing" might turn up a blog where the blogger posted about publishing his new book that is a collection of all of the other posts on his blog about building yurts. Although that particular post might be one where you could make a good comment, you probably do not want to follow all of the posts on the yurt blog. With the advanced search you could find blogs where all/most of the posts are about publishing.)
Technorati gives blogs an Authority rating that is based on how many other blogs link in to the blog. Although a high rating can indicate lots of traffic, do not discount a blog just because of a low authority rating. You could still get traffic or search engine juice from being on a blog if they are a good fit with your subject.
There are lots of other blog directories and search engines, including Google Blog Search
and Blog Catalog
Speaking of search engine juice, most blogging platforms by default use no-follow links in comments. That means that, at least in theory, the search engines do not follow those links and do not count them as links to your site for purposes of determining page rank, etc. There is some evidence that is not entirely true; however, getting a link that does not contain the no-follow attribute is probably better. There is a directory of "do-follow" blogs that pass page rank at http://www.dofollowblogs.com/
Always make your comments useful and thoughtful. As you start to have a presence on your selected blogs, you may find that yourself developing relationships with the blogger and others. Also consider offering guest posts to blogs where that would be appropriate. Even no-follow blogs usually give do-follow links on guest posts.
Hope this is helpful.
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