To conclude this 3-part mini series, here are some ideas to build traffic to your author website and / or blog:
As well as posting great content at least a couple of times per week, here's a reminder of what you need to be doing on a regular basis to get your new blog noticed:
By far the easiest is sharing your content on social media sites. Nowadays, you just hit publish on many blogging websites and immediately your content is out there.
Get to know other bloggers in your niche and, rather than view them as The Competition, offer to write a guest post for their blog.
I've talked about free content sharing writing communities before and this is another way to get your work in front of many different audiences. So go and "hang out" at these virtual gatherings and engage with people who really enjoy your content.
So, next up a mini-series to check on two of the main components of your author platform and make sure they are working as effectively as they should be.
As we discussed in the Author Platform series, I am a strong believer in an author's website being at the heart of their online presence.
Here's how you can review whether your website is doing the job it should be. What are your answers to these questions? I know I have some work to do!
I'm still learning how to best manage my time with my blogging and social media platform building. It can get disheartening when you're spending hours upon hours writing content but your website traffic and blog traffic remain low. Worse still, you haven't touched that manuscript in a very long time and the vision of becoming a serious writer and freelancer is quickly diminishing under the author platform and brand building pile.
I think it will always be a juggling act so be prepared for that, but there are little things you can do to start to turn things around if you want to see better results and be encouraged. The following is from my personal experience. I started an experiment three weeks ago with the aim of increasing my website traffic and I'm pleased to report it's going very well.
Using Hootsuite - to give me the option to track those all important shortened URLs and the traffic they might produce - I began by scheduling tweets with a link back to my website content every hour. The tweets are divided into three (three different subject matters) so each one reoccurs every three hours. This is personal preference. I have a thing about threes! I know this is controversial social media practice but I'm about to change it up so bear with me. I reasoned that I could reach all of my target audience across the globe by dividing up like this and tweeting every hour. Also I am looking to get traffic all over my website, not just to my blog. I want people to see the different things I write about and I want people to get to know me.
So one week went by and my website traffic skyrocketed into the hundreds again and I began to gain more Twitter followers. I schedule a week's worth of tweets at a time to keep it manageable. This takes about an hour and a half depending how prepared and focused you are. It's mind numbing work but well worth it. The second week I changed the content and for the third week coming to an end today, I changed the content once more. Going into the fourth week, I will be tweeting some of my favourite recent articles from other writers keeping to my "threes and hourly" schedule. I've picked these blogs to follow and they now sit on my Blogger page. This is another benefit of using Google's Blogger platform. Make the integration work for you. I believe you should be able to do "dot to dot" with your social media so maintaining your author platform becomes seamless.
It helps to have a regular blogging schedule too so you are always producing new and fresh content - and more importantly, you're still writing and not just being a scheduling monkey! This gives you more to tweet about and more to share through your social media. I blog here on my website and I'm currently working on my blog over on Blogger to see where it leads me - whether I can gain a bigger audience for my work, whether the stats can help me and whether Google+ is something I want to venture into.
Going back to my hourly tweeting schedule, I know I can't always be tweeting links to content because social media is supposed to be just that - social. My next step is to build relationships with fellow bloggers in my areas of interest - writing, travel and photography. I also want to have a "product" that I can offer for free here on my website and over on Blogger. That "product" will be the basis of Phase Two of this experiment!
One final word - I have my website linked up to Google Analytics. You can only link one website / blog to Google Analytics but, for me, that's ok because Blogger has its own Stats so I can still track my blog's progress through there. Anyhoo, one important thing I've already noticed is that I don't get a very high percentage of returning visitors to my website. I'm hoping by bringing the "social" into my media and offering my "product" I can turn this around.
Much like Twitter, to get the most out of Google+ and be inspired by great content as well as sharing your own great content in the subject areas that matter the most to you, you need to search out the best people and groups to follow - and in Google's case "circle" them.
Remember, you can then share your circles with other people and they can do the same for you - social networking at its easiest!
The obvious starting point is Goggle+'s search. Here you can type in keywords, phrases and even hashtags to find people who are commenting and posting about the topics you are interested in. Also check out the excellent "Communities" feature.
Here are a couple more interesting ways to find people for the more serious user:
Circle Count - this ranks users according to how many followers they have. It also measures the influence of a person, useful if you are searching for an expert in your chosen field.
Recommended Users - again this is good if you are looking for influential / high profile people to follow.
When talking about Google+ in yesterday's post, I hinted that it would be a good starting point for finding potential clients and freelance writing work. Just to see how effective it really is, I searched "freelancing writing jobs" and up popped The WM Freelance Writers Connection. See what they are all about here. It's a really great concept - and they have regular job posts. This is just one of many you could be connecting with...
In conclusion, Google+ has a real social networking business feel about it, so if you're hesitating and thinking one more social media to maintain for the author platform is definitely going to be one too many, take a deep breath and give it a go. You can always back out later if it isn't working for you.
I still prefer Twitter (as I keep saying) because it's fast and easy, but Google+ is worthy of consideration if you are looking to take your author platform to the next level. I'm going to try a little experiment to see if it helps me get down to the serious business of finding paid freelance work as well as making acquaintance with real industry professionals. I shall report back soon!
Google+ is being tipped as the next big thing ahead of Twitter (and Facebook) which is why I'm going to post about it today.
I'm still learning having only recently set up my profile, but here's what I know so far...
I still love Twitter over all of the other social media out there and I still feel Twitter is my best friend when it comes to marketing and promoting myself and my books. I've been using it now for about two years and I know I've barely scratched the surface. Here are some useful (and creative) ideas and techniques for managing your Twitter account and keeping the enthusiasm alive.
After deciding that I wanted all of my content to filter out from one source (my website), I was still left with a blogging conundrum - should I have a Blogger blog, or not?
My reasons to have one:
It integrates nicely with some of my favourite writing and travel related blogs
My reasons against:
Weebly blog is well established and I want all of my content to feed from my website out to various social media streams
Having another blog in another location to look after will be too much to maintain
However, I have noticed some distinct disadvantages with Weebly blogs as follows:
You can't copy or save an archive of your blog posts to any where. So, you will not be able to migrate. If you need to move to Blogger or WordPress, you have to manually copy and paste all of your posts and comments.
There are no post tags. Post tags tell precisely what the post is about in 5 or 6 words and search engines give priority to them, treating them as subjects rather than words. With the post tag facility absent in Weebly, it leaves your blog posts treated as generic content.
Thinking about all of the pros and cons above, I finally decided to have a Weebly blog and a Blogger blog and to copy and paste my Weebly content to Blogger. It's definitely not efficient, but it's an adequate compromise for now. I reasoned it was better to be a part of the growing Google social media network, than to miss out altogether.
Time is precious so I have to admit to not being a fan of forums or chat rooms. I also don't have enough time yet to prepare and send out my own ezine.
If you feel yourself agreeing with me, what can you do then to make your website more interactive for your audience?
Here are 5 suggestions which are very easy to implement if you have a basic website already in place.
1) Star in and post your own YouTube videos with a direct link to your YouTube Channel so people can check out your additional content. Talk about anything writing related. Give advice. Discuss the themes of your latest book. Make your content come alive.
2) Include a blog so people can leave comments and subscribe to your posts via an RSS feed.
3) Post podcasts so your content can be downloaded and listened to as audio files.
4) Link up Facebook and Twitter to your website, so when you post new content, people using social media are instantly notified.
5) When you have enough of a following, prepare and email exclusive content to them using an autoresponder.
As we wrap up this series of posts on developing your author platform and online presence, here are some tips on building your blog's readership.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.