Monday, April 5, 2010

Guest blogger Debra Eckerling - VBT

Debra Eckerling is my guest from VBT - Writers on the Move. She was kind enough to write a post about blogging to use today.

Debra is a professional writer with expertise in feature articles corporate communications, and writers' workshops. Debra is the founder and leader of Write On!, a live - and online -writers support group, which focuses on goal-setting, productivity, and networking. Write On! Online has author Questions and Answers twice a week, expert columns, and writing contests, as well as a monthly drawing for posting goals. There’s also a Facebook Page for networking, and sharing news, links, and information.

For more information, go to or, or e-mail

Ready, Set, Blog
By Debra Eckerling

The hardest part of blogging is getting started! Many see blogging as time-consuming, and spend more time procrastinating than they would have spent blogging. If you are prepared – if you have a vision, a mission, and do your homework beforehand. – blogging will be a cinch.

1. Name your blog. Is it a personal blog? A blog to promote your writing? Your business? Brainstorm at least 10 names, preferably 15 to 20. Pick a name that you will be happy with as well as a tag-line/mission statement! Choose your favorite headshot—it’s very important for readers to see your face—and a logo and/or book cover if you have one. (Don’t have a logo? Find some clip art to use until you can have a more professional version designed for you.) You want text and graphics that people will identify with you. “Branding” is key.

2. Determine content. What are you going to blog about? What types of articles? Are you going to write essays and interviews? Or use your blog for news and showcasing your products and services? There are no wrong answers. Just get a sense of what you want your blog/website to be.

3. Decide on a production schedule. How long will your blog posts be? Posts that are 300 to 500 words are certainly acceptable, and anything over 1,000 words should be broken up with bullets and bold text. How often will you blog? Start with once or twice a week. A big part of the blogging-overwhelm is that people think they should blog every day. Ideally, yes. Or mostly. But eventually. Daily blogging is something you can build up to if you’d like, but consistent blogging – a new post every Tuesday and Thursday – is even more important.

Now that you’ve figured out the what of your blog, go to,, or, and sign up. Whichever site you choose will walk you through the set-up process.

Remember, you can always add content to your site, change the layout, upgrade to a custom theme, add new pages, get a customized url. These are enhancements. The most important part of starting a blog is to actually start.

Thank you, Debra. One point you make is to be consistent with blogging, which is my problem. I try to post at least once a week, but I don't often post the same day of the week. I will try to be more consistent.

If you enjoyed this post, please tweet or retweet, spread the word. Thanks.

Tomorrow's VBT host and guest: Nancy Famolari is featuring Dana Donovan. Please visit.

Join our April 2010 Author Tour. New and Famous writers and great content!
http://tinyurl. com/y8apyqk



L. Diane Wolfe said...

Consistency is key!

And I love the red hair, Debra!

dana e donovan said...

Great Post! Debra, that was quick, precise and refreshing. Love the idea of a logo. Think I'll get one. Vivian, thanks for mentioning my upcoming spot on Nancy's site. I will have a special gift for everyone who stops by there.

Kari Wolfe said...

There are lots of places online that will let you create a logo for free. The best sites I have found are sites with freelance artists who are either looking for recognition or a small fee to use their work. They'll create a logo for you to your specifications. Of course, another route to go if you're creative is to download a program such as the Gimp, an open-source program similar to Adobe Photoshop and start slowly and learn to make your own :)

Katie Hines said...

Great article, Debra. I wish I had read a helpful article like this when I was creating my blog.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Oh, that Deb is a goer. You can help writers with just about anything!
Kari, I'd love the name of one of those sites where you don't have to learn anything to make a logo! (-:
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick

Anonymous said...

My production schedule is three blogs a week at the moment. Life is busy but should slow down soon. Maybe I can increase to four or five blogs a week.

I try to cap each blog at seven or eight paragraphs max. Like you stated, bullet points help break things up for the reader. I also might highlight a quote in blue or add an additional picture to help break up a longer blog. Most visitors don't want to read a long blog that is not somehow broken up.

Stephen Tremp

Martha said...

Thanks for the tips.The one I need to work on is #3. Decide on a production schedule.

Martha Swirzinski

Nancy Famolari said...

Great blog! I learned a lot. I'll have to work on my production schedule!

Darcia Helle said...

Great tips, Debra. You never fail to inspire me to better my marketing techniques. (Which I admit are sadly lacking, so your help is much appreciated!)

Anonymous said...

Great post Debra. I make sure I have at least one post a week on my blog, but I'm not good about the consistency of the day. I'll try to be better about that. I still have a LOT to learn about blogging.

Debra Eckerling said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. Am thrilled you found the post so helpful. Please keep me posted on your progress. And feel free to stop by my Facebook page ( and share your blog links!

Kari, I too would love any recommendations for logo sites - I will add them to my resources.

My blog started out as a resource for my live writers group, posting newsletters, etc., and developed into a comprehensive site for writers. Let your blog evolve - and have fun in the process.

Thanks, Vivian, for being such a fabulous host! Best of luck with all of your projects!

Vivian Zabel said...

Thank you, Debra, for being my guest today. I so enjoyed your post.

You're welcome back any time.

Karen Cioffi said...

Great tips, Debra. I love the title. And, your first tip, naming you blog is an important one, new writers don't realize they're branding themselves with the title of their blog or website.

I recently wrote an article that talked just about this - the gist is plan ahead and think wide.

Janet said...

Enjoyed the article. Thanks for sharing the good tips. I need to work on posting more often. I'd like to do at least 3 posts a week. I, personally, don't like long blog posts because I don't always have the time to read the long ones. I agree with providing the bullets and bold text to make it easier to read.

Unknown said...

Thanks Vivian and Debra. Loved the article. My problem is writing long posts!!! I need to split them in half and post more often. Thanks for the reminder.

Unknown said...

Great article! I definitely need to blog more consistently and keep the posts a more consistent length.

Debra Eckerling said...

Thanks again, everyone, for reading!

Kathy, splitting posts is a great solution. :)

Mari, remember, consistent on posting is way more important than consistent on length.

Beth Reinke said...

Thanks for this article, Debra and Vivian. It is great advice! And timely, too, as I'm about to embark on two new blogs in the next month or so.

Beth ;o)

Dallas said...

I love this post! Thank you for providing clear, easy-to-follow steps for creating a blog. I have found blogging to be a very rewarding way to connect with others and build an audience for my writing. Technology can be intimidating, but you show it doesn't have to be!

:) Dallas

Accountant, Author & Freelance Writer said...

Those are great tips! Thank you for sharing them.