Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stacia Kelly on "building a better base for authors and readers"

One of the many things I’ve learned through the years is that I like to tweak things, whether it be my writing or my website. As such, I do all the building, maintenance and writing on several sites. Yes, I could be using that time to write, and in many ways I probably should considering the amount of manuscripts on my hard drive waiting for final edits. However, I’ve learned that I like balance, so I have to balance my creative side with my techy side, then all the voices stay sane (keep your snarky comments to yourself on that one LOL).

Last week, I had a great social media meeting with some colleagues. We get together once a month to talk about all things Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and websites. We’d talk about LinkedIn, but once we each posted our main info up there, it’s pretty much leave it and go. (I might check in on it once in a blue moon, but even that’s rare.) It’s also a great excuse for those of us who work on our own and really only connect via Social Media or instant messenger to get OUT of the house.

One of the recommendations I came home with was to check out HubSpot Marketing Grader. Now, I don’t claim to know a lot about SEO Optimization or really working the site to make it easier/better for readers and authors to find information. I’ve had the blog for so long, I’d have to go actually look up the numbers. I entered in all my info and you know what?

I got a measly 70 out of 100.

That stinks.

Using some of their recommendations, I’m now up to an 83 on the report and steadily climbing. Why is this important? Because it means my site is now getting a broader reach. Which in turn means the more I’m connecting with people and potentially more book sales. And, as both a Publishing House author and an Indie author, this is important for all my work.

As noted, I already fixed a number of things like layering in the SEO stuff, adding int Alt tags to images.

Things I need to do? Well, hell, remember to post more often! Posts go in random cycles for me. Lately, I’ve been so focused on editing Reduce You and Ichi that I haven’t been posting. And, next on my list? I’m in the middle of reviewing JT Bock’s urban fantasy and need to get comments/edits back to her as soon as humanly possible. Plus, I’ve got to make edits from beta readers on Gaian as a number of readers are poking me with sticks asking where the next Goddess is and what’s taking me so long. (Did I tell you how long I sat on edits for Phyxe? And, no I won’t ever do that again.)

I also have to remember to tweet and post to Facebook. Now that I’ve been building my author page on FB, that should be a little easier. Plus, there are ways to automate it all now from the blog post itself. I just need to make sure that scheduling a post ALSO schedules the tweet and the link to FB.

Optimizing and orienting for mobile devices….well, this one has me a little stumped. It looks like I’ll be learning more code to layer in. Once I figure it out, I’ll make sure I post up so it’s easier for others to follow.

Next, it wants me to automate my marketing efforts. I’m not so sure about that one…I hate getting automated responses and tend to delete more of them than I read….and even the ones I delete are ones I signed up for because I wanted to read them. There just isn’t enough time in the day!

All in all, an interesting report. It’s in the beta stages, so somethings don’t quite work correctly yet. I was glad to see a few, quick changes managed to increase the marketability of the site, at least to the online world. Now, to start driving new traffic….maybe I’ll learn even more from the free materials they share?

I’d love to hear if anyone else has been using this tool and if you’ve noticed any increase in visibility, more interaction or less? Since I run things myself, I’d love to know what’s working and what isn’t.

WbtR member Stacia D. Kelly is the urban fantasy author of Phyxe: Goddess of Fire as well as the author of Muse, focus, and the upcoming book, Reduce You. You can find her work at www.sybir.com and www.studio13bymbsworks.com. She lives in Prince William County, VA with her husband, son, some crazy cats and a hyper but loveable Mini Aussie Shepherd.

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