Lizzy Ford and I both work full time and have commutes. Toss in a few hours of sleep, dinner, taking care of all three animals etc. and that leaves her with far less time then she would like to write books and interact with her online friends. I know most of you are in the same boat and figuring out how to allocate your time and focus can be difficult.
For an author, there are really two main areas to focus on:
- Writing (duh!)
- Social Media (facebook, twitter, emails, blogs, forums etc.)
Since Lizzy challenged herself to write 12 books this year (it looks like she’s going to hit 10), she has obviously been spending all of her awake and not at work time writing. Since she doesn’t have much time to devote to social media, we try to be as smart as possible in how we spend it.
1. Always use links in your signatures
Whenever you post in forums or on others blogs, you should always have a signature block which contains a link to your site. Depending on how the forums or blogs are set up google may or may not count it as a link to your site in its rankings, but it’s worth a shot. As an extra bonus, some people will actually click on it to go check out your site if they’re interested in you or what you had to say.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to mention your site, and in fact it’s often better if you don’t. If you make good points, are interesting or otherwise establish yourself as a valuable member of that small community, others in the community will click on your link to check out your site. If every other post is “Nice post. Made me think. You should check out my site” then you will likely be ignored.
If you want to know how much traffic a site gets, you can check alexa.com. As I write this, http://www.guerrillawordfare.com is the #603,878 most visited site in the world, which is actually pretty good. Julia Crane’s site (which we talked about earlier in this series) is at 12,727,292. That may seem like insurmountable odds, but that number can and will improve quickly if you apply a few strategies which we will talk about in future articles.
2: Know what your efforts are worth
Now that we all know that you need to be actively posting and participating in online communities and including a signature link back to your site, the question is how do you know if it’s working or not. Google’s pagerank only updates twice a year, so that’s a no go. Alexa updates it’s rankings daily so that’s better, but it doesn’t show you what sent traffic to your site. If you said “google analytics” then you win the prize! (legal notice: there is no actual prize)
Last week Lizzy posted a comment on Konrath’s blog (his Alexa ranking is 69,000 which is crazy high). Our traffic is usually consistent between the mid two hundreds to mid three hundred unique visitors a day so it’s tough to look for trends in just the overall numbers. Thanks to the awesomeness that is google analytics I could look the next day and see that we had 6 people come to our site by clicking on the link from Lizzy’s post on Konrath’s blog. I could also see that 4 of the 6 were new visitors to our site. Now I know exactly what Lizzy posting on Konrath’s blog is worth, four new visitors and two who had already been to our site before. This helps her make better decisions on how to spend her time.
I don’t spend too much time poring over the numbers but I do take a minute or two to look over the numbers each night to check for trends and possible problems. Paying attention to alexa ranking of different sites and watching your own numbers will be huge dividends as you attempt to juggle writing and building your fan base.