Category Archives: Search Engine Optimization

Are People Visiting Your Website And Clicking Like You Want? | Web Design Relief

You just launched your brand-new author website and you’re posting on your blog frequently. Now the question is: How can you know for sure that people are visiting your website—and how can you get more to do so? At Web Design Relief, our designers know all the online tools that will track whether people are visiting your website and who they are. You can also learn which pages of your website are most interesting to viewers and are visited most frequently. One of the most comprehensive online analytic tools available is Google Analytics.

Using Google Analytics To Track Your Author Website Visits

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful free-to-use tools online today. With Google Analytics, you can measure everything from real-time site visits, to social media referrals, to average time spent on any particular page, and much more. Google Analytics even gives you tips on how to optimize your site for better results. Everyone from self-published authors to large publishing companies use Google Analytics to keep track of visitor data.

At first, the Google Analytics interface can seem a little intimidating—but once you know what kind of information you’re looking for, it’s quite easy to find. Google will help you to set up your new Analytics account, and in most cases, you will receive your own unique code that will help your website and Google Analytics communicate. After setting up your Analytics account, you’ll start receiving data in just a few hours.

On the front page of Google Analytics (as of July 2017), you’ll find several charts:

  • Audience Overview
  • Users By Time Of Day
  • Real-Time Report
  • Acquisition Report
  • Location Overview
  • Active Users Report
  • Cohort Analysis Report
  • Mobile Overview
  • Pages Report
  • Goals Overview

Each of these categories delivers very specific data that you can use to evaluate your author website. Most of these reports are fairly self-explanatory, and you can even change dates to cover a specific time frame. For example, there may be an instance where you would like to see a larger timeline of data—so you can switch from a seven-day report to a thirty-day report. Most of the data is presented in line, bar, or pie graphs with accompanying key charts.

Two Google Analytics Charts You’ll Want To Check Daily

Audience Overview

What is it? The Audience Overview includes the number of sessions during a time period, Page Views, Average Session Duration, Bounce Rate, and New Sessions.

How to use it: This analytic lets you know how many people are coming to your site and how long they’re staying. Obviously the more Sessions and Page Views the better—but also pay attention to your Bounce Rate. If your Bounce Rate is high, the majority of people coming to your site aren’t staying very long. This could be due to lack of engaging content or maybe a slow-functioning website. Make sure your website is fast and mobile friendly. Also include more engaging blog posts and website pages to entice more people to visit your site and stay on longer.

Users By Time Of Day

What is it? Here’s where you’ll find the times of day during the week you have the most visitors.

How to use it: Plan your posts! Knowing the times when your author website has the most visitors and capitalizing on that is a great way to keep your site active. If you find that 4:00 PM on Wednesday is the busiest time and day for your website, then that would be the perfect time to post new blog entries or news.

 

Question: Do you have a blog on your website? How often do you post new entries?

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Mistakes That Can Lower Your Website’s Search Engine Rankings

mistakes

Your author website is the hub of all your marketing and publicity efforts. And the more fans who visit your website—the more newsletter sign-ups, event attendees, and book sales you’ll get! Since about 75% of searchers never scroll any further than the first page of search engine results, it’s important to optimize your website to get more traffic. Yet as many as 50% of websites unwittingly use bad practices or have common technical glitches that lower their search engine rankings.

Writers: Are You Guilty Of These Common SEO Mistakes?

Keyword Bad Practices. Choosing the right keywords is one of the trickiest yet most important ways to get more traffic to your website. Many people cherry-pick words or short phrases that rank high in popular search engine queries, which is generally a smart practice. Yet if the folks who find your author website in this way swiftly back-click to the results, search engines will assume that you didn’t fulfill the searcher’s needs. High traffic means nothing if your bounce rate goes through the roof.

A better practice is to consider longer, more precise keyword phrases that will lift your website higher in specific search rankings tailored for your targeted audience.

Another bad practice is keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is an old trick where the text on your pages is enriched with high-ranking keywords, often in unnatural or awkward ways. Google is on to this black-hat SEO tactic and now includes something called “keyword density analysis” in its algorithms. This bad practice will get you warnings, penalties, or even banned from Google.

Unresponsive Author Website. Web searches on mobile phones have escalated dramatically over the past few years. In response, Google updated their algorithms in 2015 in order to lift those websites that are platform-responsive higher in search engine rankings. Now, to keep your ratings up, your author website needs to look as readable and amazing on an old iPhone 5 as it does on a mini-tablet or a seventeen-inch desktop screen. Check out Google’s mobile-friendly test to see if your website makes the grade.

Tech Issues And Glitches. Technical glitches or unintentional oversights are the source of five common SEO mistakes that lower search engine rankings. Fortunately, once detected, most are easy to fix. Check your own author website to see if any of these problems are present:

  • Image Issues. Search engines gather the information written in your website’s image “alt-tags” to index those photos or graphics correctly for search engine queries. Empty or badly filled alt-tags will lower SEO, as will a broken link if your image is pulled from another site that no longer hosts it.
  • Title Issues. A title tag is basically a pithy, keyword-rich, one-sentence explanation for a particular page in your website. Every page should have a unique title! Search engines don’t like duplicate, wordy, or empty title tags, and your rankings will show it.
  • Website Description Issues. The short paragraph that appears in search engine results is a vital metadata description of your website. If it’s wrong, missing, or duplicated (rather than customized) on multiple pages, your search engine ranking will suffer.
  • Link Issues. Multiple broken links, whether they lead to another page on your own website or a page on someone else’s website, often lead to error messages that Google will notice. Too many links to (or from) unrelated or spammy sites can also make your rankings take a nose dive. 
  • Text Issues. A website that duplicates content on multiple pages can find those pages fighting against one another for ranking space. Google will then weed them out according to Google’s preference, not yours. The old trick of hiding keyword-stuffed text so that the reader can’t see it—by, say, making the text the same color as the background on the page—is also frowned upon. Yet Google also disapproves if there isn’t enough text on your webpages, so make sure you have plenty of quality content.

Taking care of basic technical maintenance issues, avoiding bad practices, and setting up a regular schedule to re-evaluate keywords, title, and metadata will go a long way to raising your website’s profile in a crowded online world. Then you can focus on what’s really important: writing more content for your readers!

Question: What platform do you use to build and maintain your author website? Or have you hired someone to build and maintain it for you?

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How To Identify (And Focus On) Your Promotional Strengths

Promo Strengths

Your dreams of being a successful, published writer probably didn’t include visions of pounding the pavement and sending out email blasts, trying to sell your book. But whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, doing your own marketing is the new reality. The trick is to find out what you’re good at (and what you’re not!) when coming up with a marketing strategy.

So, what are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to promoting your book?

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? A gregarious, outgoing extrovert will be more comfortable with open mike night, interviews, readings, and other social venues. If you’re a social butterfly, talk up your book to everyone you meet, and enjoy the spotlight!

But if the idea of socializing makes you break out in hives, you may want to direct your efforts to behind-the-scenes promotion. Introverts can concentrate on social media, blogging, and coming up with clever promotional giveaways and contests. (Or let the Writer’s Relief Virtual Assistant Program do it for you!)

What do other people think your strengths and weaknesses are? It’s not always easy to evaluate yourself. Ask your friends and colleagues what they think your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to self-promotion.

You don’t have to be pushy or obnoxious to promote your work. If your friends agree that you are warm and compassionate and a good listener, you can concentrate on forming interpersonal relationships with your readers, whether it’s face-to-face, through social media, or on your author website.

Or maybe your colleagues concede that you’re just a little bit (ahem)…self-confident? Tap into that supreme buoyancy and channel it into effective promotion. Throw a launch party and celebrate your new book in style. Just remember to add a dash of humility!

Do you have a niche or a unique hook? Maybe you run an ostrich farm when not writing, or you have firsthand experience in third world agriculture, or you speak five languages. Even if your book isn’t about ostriches or agriculture or foreign languages, look for possible tie-ins between it and your hobbies or experience. If there’s something unique about you or your life, this could be a strength in terms of marketing.

Do you have other talents or tricks or interesting personality traits? Are you known for your sense of humor? Create a silly video or book trailer and let your inner comedian out! Or feature your original artwork  or music inspired by your book on Facebook or your author website. Do you have a rich, soothing voice? Record yourself reading an excerpt of your book or your poetry.

By staying true to your personality and your values (if something feels creepy or inauthentic, don’t do it!), you’ll be an effective advocate for your book.

What scares you the most about self-promotion? This question may help you identify weaknesses when it comes to marketing. If your fear is public speaking, avoid situations that put you in front of the microphone. (Or sign up for Toastmasters and learn to deal with it!) If your fear is rejection, read more about how to handle it here—but don’t let the fear of rejection get in the way of confidently promoting your work.

“Heroes must see to their own fame. No one else will.”  ― Gore Vidal, Julian

Still not sure what your strengths and weaknesses are? Feel free to experiment! Marketing involves plenty of trial and error, so set realistic, attainable goals, and take note of what works best—both for your personality type AND your book sales.

 

QUESTION: What is your greatest strength (or weakness) when it comes to promoting your work?

Is Your Author Website On The Naughty Or Nice List?

Santa’s making a list and checking it twice—and it may surprise you to learn that author websites are on the list too! (We have insider info from Rudolph about who makes which list.) Wondering if your author website is on the Naughty or Nice List? Read through this collection of the worst and best features… Continue Reading

Remember Google Authorship? Here’s The Next Best Thing For Writers

About a year ago Google discontinued Google Authorship, a program meant to help writers improve their author website’s search rankings. So what does the elimination of Google Authorship mean for writers today? Is there an alternative way to boost your SEO? What Was Google Authorship? Google Authorship was a program rolled out by the search… Continue Reading

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