Jo-Anne Vandermeulen: Thirteen Tips On Building An Author Platform
1.) I recommend Blogger. Very user-friendly.
My second recommendation is Wordpress. Gives you a website and blog FREE. Allows you to import other blog entries. Even if you subscribe to get a far more advanced website and blog through Wordpress.org, the cost is only $6.95/mo (paid up front for two years). The support team is wonderful!
Example: joconquerobstacles.com Must have internet, unless you wish to download into your hard drive. This will give you more widgets. But KISS—I did, and it works awesome.
Caution: Through web browser Firefox, there is no problem with html code. But in order for all your readers who may use Internet Explorer to be free from the jargon, you have to go back and cut out all the code and then republish. Sounds difficult, but really it isn’t. Took me minutes.
2.) To increase traffic infuse links. Tap into many blogs and websites that interlink and bring attention to the author.
Example: I requested permission with Pat Bertram to link our blogs together. We now share followers.
Caution: View the site carefully before agreeing to link.
3.) Always leave your signature with a promotional brand name and website/blogsite address.
Example: Jo-Anne Vandermeulen
“Conquer All Obstacles”
Prolific Writer of Romantic Fiction
- You never know who’s going to copy and paste.
- Reply to their comments on your own and their sites.
- Keep your signature down to four lines or less.
Caution: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
4.) Invitation time in your social networking sites. Twitter, Facebook, Ning, Myspace, Librarythings, Shelfari, Goodreads—request other people (remember to target your reading audience) to be your friend. Create bio or profile pages that are attractive, positive, and leave the reader with something they can have or contribute towards.
Example: I leave my followers with advice and encouraging words of wisdom.
Caution: Groups can get ticked-off if you promote yourself rather than sticking on topic or discussion. Read the groups objectives or seek permission before advertising your blog or website.
5.) Near the top sidebar, have an easy to submit spot for your followers to subscribe to your blog. Placing the word FREE promotes others to follow. Don’t forget to have a link RSS badge.
Example: I have my picture (or if you’re published—your book cover) on the sidebar. Directly under, I have my FREE button for subscriptions and a link button.
Caution: Don’t clutter your sidebar. Stick with maximum of five categories. Delete widgets that aren’t used. Organize the widgets by dragging them around from your dashboard. Print you blog entries on white background with black print.
6.) Include a ‘Contact Page’. Interaction is so important. A relationship needs to develop. Trust can come from this active communication.
Example: Jo-Anne loves to hear from his/her friends, so drop her a note! Thanks.
Caution: In ‘settings’ make sure you can preview the comments prior to publishing.
7.) When you post, be sure to use your tags and link keys.
Example: A key word such as ‘Marketing’, I will highlight after I click on the link key, then add my URL which is gr5mom2.wordpress.com. Then I will list this ‘Marketing’ in my tag space. See my blogs and you’ll see the keywords in the color purple. Plus, you’ll be able to read my tag words. Click on them, see what happens.
Caution: Do not repeat tags or link key words. You’d think the more would be better but it’s not.
8.) Join several groups in your networking sites related to your line of writing. You market to whoever is going to buy your product. Contribute, meet new friends, and help each other out.
Example: I am an active member of RWA, Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers, Critique Partners, Romance Writer’s United.
Caution: Whatever you write is published material for the world to view. Edit your work carefully before you push the send button.
9.) Clarify your niche, target group, what sets you apart from other authors. Be consistent and respond immediately to any comments. Keep your blog structures the same and easy to read. Remember you want others to follow you, so keep this in mind when you are blogging at all times. Back up your facts with quotes (remember to get permission and give recognition).
Example: My words for my titles are eye-catching—“Blog Or Not To Blog?...that is the question.” I write what interests me and what I’ve learned then just pass this information on to others. I print short sentences with lots of spaces. Columns are easier to read. KISS is usually the answer.
Caution: Stick with Times New Romans font. Use underlining and bold for emphases.
10.) Learn from the best. Take a close look at blogs that have a lot of hits or have earned famous recognition through nominations. Borrow ideas and add to your own. Think of who you’d like to follow and why? Use these strong traits as your own to follow.
Example: Recently, my blog was nominated for the Real Blog for Real People Award. In the first two months, my blog had one thousand hits.
Caution: Being specific in your topics is the best, but will narrow down your followers. Listen/read the comments and follow their leads as to what they find interesting in your blog. Go in that direction.
11.) Allow Delicious, Goodreads, Stumbleupon and Blog alerts in your ‘settings’. Announcements will show up in different sites and other readers that you haven’t even targeted will begin to show up. Check out social book marketing sites such as del.icio.us, dig.com, stumbleupon
Example: I have allowed these into my settings and discovered my name/brand signature all over the place. I know others are reading it also. Even lurkers who don’t expose themselves are reading my blog.
Caution: Don’t be afraid to be assertive with fans that aren’t genuine. Block or mark as spam ASAP.
12.) Use your blog/website to promote your freelance writing and link all up to your book. Relate the articles to your book. Put your site address on your business cards, create announcements using your full profile signature, do an email blast to family and friends announcing your new site and ask them to send it to their friends.
Example: Jo-Anne is a freelance author and a prolific romance writer. Announcement: “Come check out my new blog post”. The easiest sale is to know someone you know. They will recognize you as a valued member.
Caution: Unless you have a published book, you cannot link back to amazon. com. But if you do, go for it. Keep your notes short and sweet.
13.) Be creative and offer your readers something they can win. Give-aways, free e-books, bookmarkers. By posting your site address, this gives you more exposure and builds your platform.
Example: I’m giving free advice to others who comment on my blog. This will drive-up traffic and promote me. A win-win for both the follower and the author.
Caution: Be honest. Don’t break your promises. A good name is simple to build, but a bad name is very difficult to break.
OTHERS FREE TIPS:
* Submit your blog to Blogged.com and trade blog reviews with your
* Submit your site / blog to *related* directories.
* Use your RSS feed to put your blog content on Facebook, Myspace, etc.
* Use a service like Feedburner to syndicate your RSS feed and reach
a broader audience. Feedburner also allows users to subscribe to
your feed via email. (I see you are dong this already. Note that
Google bought FeedBurner and is converting all users. If you
haven't lately, log into Feedburner...)
* Use apps on Facebook, etc. to integrate with Twitter. This allows
you to update your Facebook status via Twitter.
For those who host their own Wordpress blog, I have written an article on the plugins I use to make my blog fast and easy to share, and here are some extra tips for self-hosted blogs:
* Use Google Analytics (free) to monitor your traffic, where it is
coming from (referring sites, search engines, etc.). You know how
many Facebook friends you have, but how about how many people
actually come to your website every month? How long do they stay?
What content are they clicking on? You get all this and more.
Imagine being able to say: "I get 1000 absolute unique visitors on
my website every month, and they stay an average of five minutes.
They view an average of 4.5 pages per visit, and I have a 40%
bounce rate . . . "
* Use Google Webmaster Tools (free) to make sure Google has no
problems crawling your site. Also allows you to monitor who is
linking to your pages, what keywords people use to find you, and more.
* Integrate your blog with Twitter using the Twitter updater plugin.
- Enjoy promoting by combining what interests you.
- Reward yourself for even the tiny steps forward.
- Watch in amazement as your audience builds and communities expand.
You can ‘conquer all obstacles’ if you follow:
Jo-Anne Vandermeulen: Tips On Building An Author Platform.
Internet Promotional Manager
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