4 Things I Learned From My Storytelling Blog | Chirasree Bose
Being a writer or an author looking for more online reach, one of the first things that come to your mind is starting a blog. What if I had one too - like an online updateable book of thoughts...or stories? But how...which platform do I choose...is there a free option...how to get started...would people even read? 🤔
For writers and authors, the best way to create a space for their words, characters, and imagination is a storytelling blog. Not everything has to go into a published book or be crumpled down to a quote on Instagram.
Back in 2016 when I started #writing, I didn't know how to have my words reach people. What I knew was I had to find one - because without readers and their feedback, I'd never know if at all I had it in me. Blogging was still a rather unfamiliar term for most people. To tell you the truth, I didn't even know what people did on a blog 😆. I Googled and realized (bam!!) that a storytelling blog was the way to pursuing my newfound passion.
Over the course of the next 4 years, I learned a lot of things about starting and maintaining a #storytellingblog. My blog, Sreeblogs, received traction rather quickly and in a year of time, I had over 1000 email subscribers and 900+ WordPress followers.
So here's a list of the 4 most important things I learned during this journey and you (writers and authors) can benefit from. Let's dive in!!
1. Choose A Highly Popular Blogging Platform
Scared already? Popular means pricey? Nope, never! Tell you what - WordPress is the best example of a highly popular blogging platform that comes with a free plan and loads of free themes. You get to create a blog website, design it the way you like, and add images, links, more pages to it. Your blogs start ranking on Google (of course, with more engagement), and in a few days of time, you'll see your stories flashing on the internet!
In fact, if you've never worked on a blog before, #WordPress is the way! You can get started in just a few minutes, that too for free!
Now, why did I say "A Highly Popular Blogging Platform?" That's because you need to find other storytellers, engage with them, follow other relevant blogs, read their stories, comment with your feedback, and be a part of the storytellers' network. The farther you can reach, the better your chances of succeeding as a storytelling blogger.
2. Keep Your Stories Short and Relatable
When you're just starting out, keep your stories' word count up to a maximum of 300 words and make them as relatable (emotionally 🥺 ) as possible. Remember you're still only a new blogger and have yet to grow your following on the blogging platform or elsewhere. People who are starting to visit your blog page don't know what you write about and mostly, are coming for a quick peek. They wouldn't like a long story taking up too much of their time to read and understand, and might just leave reading midway.
Of course, you've got to make them stay longer and you believe that your stories can do that. But...remember it's just the beginning! Once your network has broadened, you've earned some ardent readers (fans, too 🤩 ), and you have made a lot of storyteller-friends to grow together with, you can plunge into letting your words flow.
Quick tip: Add reading time to your blogs. Something like "Blog Title [1 min read]" "Blog Title [4-min read]". That way, you'd always attract the right potential readers to your specific blogs - people who are willing to read and have time to spend!
3. Give Your Story A Title and Title Image That Hook Instantly
Well, cliched, you think? Of course, it is. But at the same time, the most essential practice to follow. You could be into the horror genre, all excited to thrill your readers, but what if the title says otherwise? What if it's boring...cliched even? No one would stop by. And it might take an eternity for the story to get its first visitor or a comment. What does it mean? Decreased engagement, low traction, fewer chances of being shown to potential readers on your blogging platform!!
The same goes for the title image. Use free design sites like Canva to create one that sticks with people's minds. Even makes them click it right away! Don't take your blogging casually at the beginning and just copy and dump a stock image into your stories. Give it time. Canva takes less than 10 minutes to help you make catchy title images.
Quick tip: Add your name, the blog site name, and the story title on your title images. Give it a branded look.
4. Don't Add Unnecessary Design/Elements to Your Blog Site
Okay, so you're a new blogger/storyteller. People visiting your blogging site should instantly know what you're into. They do not want to see how good a website designer you are or what other options you're offering. That's more for a pro blogger. They click your blogging site link (either from your social media profiles or your WhatsApp story) and want to be taken directly to the list of stories. It should definitely not be a beautiful wide picture of mountains and waterfalls with your name written on top of it and a huge list of menu options. A big no! 🚫
Make it as easy for visitors as possible to find your stories on the homepage. Use the simplest theme for your site. Maybe a list view or a box view of story images. Add a subscribe box to the right with a catchy tagline. Below that, a list of your most popular stories. Maybe also your social media profile links, either on the footer or header or on the side. Nothing more than what you need or your visitors need right now.
With time, as you grow into a better and a pro blogger, you'd know what more to add there.
Go, Get Started Already!
Yes, it's time you gave it a shot and started your very own and very first storytelling blog! Remember you cannot shy away from sharing your blog site link and your story links with your existing network of bloggers and writers, friends, and family. Visit other storytellers' blogs, leave genuine feedback, and end it with your latest story link. That way, they will feel encouraged to check it out.
Okay, enough of preaching now! If you already have a blog (storytelling or something similar), do leave it here in the comments section. I'd love to check it out and give you useful feedback to improve and grow. Or maybe learn from you and give a big thumbs up 👍 .
See you with my next blog...super soon! ⌛
Chirasree is an Indian bestselling author of 3 fiction books. She started her writing journey as a storytelling blogger on WordPress. The site was called "Sreeblogs". Chirasree used to be shy and did not use her full name on the blog but soon her kind and talented blogger friends made her open up and write at full throttle, even share her real name. That's how the power of blogging and networking turned the timid Sree into the confident writer/author she's today. Know more about her books and visit her website here.