Category Archives: Grow Your Author Platform

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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The First Thing To Do Every Morning To Build Your Writing Reputation

As a writer, there are a few things you should do every morning: Have a good breakfast and a cuppa joe (or tea) and jot down a few lines, for starters. But one of the most effective ways to build your reputation as a writer should also be happening right after you rise and shine—generating great social media content on a consistent schedule. By adding new content to your social media accounts at the start of each day, you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of gaining more friends and fans, all while building your writing reputation.

Social media users have plenty of stimuli to catch their attention, so even your most diehard fans might forget about you if you only post sporadically. To keep yourself and your work front and center in the minds of your followers, update your social networking accounts regularly. Remember, the early bird catches the worm—so post something each morning to ensure that this important task becomes a habit you won’t forget!

The Right Way To Update Your Social Media

Consider the rule of thirds when planning your updates: Post one-third brand-new content; one-third reposts or links to other sites; and one-third self-promotion. (But first, check out these tips to avoid alienating your readers!)

Alternate between short and long posts. Social media users tend to like quick tidbits, but you can also throw in a longer post (via Facebook, for example) about your writing process, a funny story about a writers group, or wisdom gleaned from your publishing or self-publishing journey.

Tailor your posts to specific social media accounts. Twitter users respond to different content than Facebook or Goodreads users, so keep your audience firmly in mind when creating your posts.

Respond thoughtfully to comments or questions and engage your audience. Social media is called “social” for a reason, and readers will appreciate it when you interact on a personal level!

Maintain a balance between personal content and the business of writing. (TMI is a no-no.)

Offer content that is useful to other writers or readers—but keep in mind that there are plenty of “experts” out there, so let your advice come across with humility rather than arrogance.

And proofread your posts to ensure they’re grammatically correct!

Most importantly, let your personality shine through. Your followers will appreciate your unique ideas, perspectives, and humor.

What To Post On Social Media When You Run Out Of Ideas:

  • Share an interesting article or a link to one of your favorite blogs.
  • Promote other writers and their events. (They may even return the favor!)
  • Offer a writing prompt based on an intriguing visual image.
  • Snap a photo of your cat “reading” a book, what you plan to wear to an upcoming book signing, or even your workspace. And don’t forget your book’s cover or a photo of the literary magazine where you’d most like to publish your next poem or short story.
  • Post an interesting fact related to your work or the writing life.
  • Visual content is always popular…so if you’re at a loss for words, let a picture do the talking for you.
  • An inspirational or funny quote can work in a pinch!
  • Share something valuable you’ve learned about literary agents or submitting to literary journals.
  • Post an excerpt or a link to a blog post from your author website.

Tips For Easier Daily Updates

A social media calendar lets you plan a week, a month, even a year’s worth of content in advance. Start with a blank calendar and fill in the obvious tie-ins—the release date of your book, holidays, writing or publishing events, and anything that relates to your work. Then include varied content—photos, funny memes, serious posts, a shout-out to an editor or industry professional who helped you, a thank-you to your fans, and of course a moderate dose of self-promotion. When you sit down each morning for social networking, you’ll already know what you’ll be posting for that day—a great help if you’re not a morning person!

Tools like Hootsuite can help you manage all your social media accounts at once and schedule posts in advance. And remember, if this all seems like too much work, our Virtual Assistant Program can do all your social networking for you!

One Final Tip

When it comes to social media followers, your goal is quality, not quantity. So make sure your social media updates are pertinent to the type of followers you want. Soon you’ll see your writing reputation grow!

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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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5 Ways Professional Social Media Consultants Can Help Writers

Post, tweet, blog, repeat. Share, respond, retweet, repeat. As a writer, you may feel like you’re spending more time writing content for social media than writing your novel, short prose, or poetry. Yet social media engagement has become so vital that many traditional publishing contracts now have clauses that require writers have author websites and… Continue Reading

Can Instagram Really Build A Writer’s Fan Base?

For many writers, the social media website Instagram and its focus on photos and videos may seem to be outside their wheelhouse. And it can be hard to imagine how this visual, image-oriented social network would appeal to readers, bibliophiles, and die-hard grammar geeks—which are the very audiences writers want to attract. But if you… Continue Reading

A Checklist To Evaluate Your Author Brand’s Effectiveness

The brand that you establish for yourself as a writer is composed of many “moving parts.” Each of the individual elements of your author platform should directly contribute to the world’s overall view of you as a writer: who you are, what you write, what you want, and what you stand for. When all the elements… Continue Reading

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