If you want to increase your exposure, you need to improve your blog.
We know this, don’t we: Writers are selfish, inward looking creatures; wide-eyed monsters peering from behind their PC screens with a certain feverish disdain for the rest of the world.
They are caffeine clogged, emotionally damaged, conversationally crippled hermits who should be kept locked behind a strong door, only ever allowed out at Christmas or for the funeral of a favourite Aunt.
Writers are Gods of their own little worlds, legends in their own lunchtime and, as such, have no need of such things as social interaction.
So, now we’ve got my personal profile out the way, let’s begin.
1. Don’t Ad to your page
Don’t fill your pages with loads of Google Ads. Unless you’re getting a crap load of traffic through your site, you’re not going to make much money, maybe a couple of pence or cents a day if you’re lucky.
Ads annoy people and if they switch onto your page and see a tonne of banners for penis enlargement or “Yet Another Writing Course”, they’re more likely to run away as fast as their little tootsies can carry them.
If you feel you must have them, then remember the key is always moderation.
2. Including other media will improve your blog
Do break up your pages with different types of content. Don’t be afraid to include images and videos. Although you are essentially a writer of books, this is a multimedia platform and you should develop various content to keep your visitors interested. At the very least try to include a picture at the start of every blog entry.
3. Easy to read, tidy content
Make your content easy to read. It may upset some of you writing purists but large paragraphs are bad news on the web. Break up your text, even if it’s breaking the grammar rules. Try not (yes I said NOT) to write long sentences.
Writing online is different in that respect from writing, say for a novel. First of all, people tend to scan, looking for content that interests them (yes, I know that upsets you too), and, secondly, reading speed on a computer screen is a lot less than with a hardcopy book or magazine. If you want to help them along, highlight some keywords in bold that you think might keep them reading.
Keep your page tidy. Don’t have stuff all over the place or, god-forbid, overlapping. If you don’t know how to do something technically, find out, it’s not that hard. Just like your book needs to be carefully structured, so does your page. Ask a friend how it looks and don’t just ignore their advice if they say it seems a little crammed or higgledy-piggledy.
4. Write interesting stuff
Have something interesting on offer. Okay, so your book is interesting, I know it is, and somewhere, out there in the social media-sphere, there’s someone who thinks it is too. But, generally, you’re an unknown author and mostly, at least at the start of your online writing career, you’re going to be talking to other writers.
It’s a good starting place. And they’re glad you’ve got a book…but…
And, hey…they don’t really want to know what you had for tea or that you couldn’t be bothered to write today or that you went to your moms for dinner. Give them something they can use, before they press that back button and disappear from your life for good.
5. Marketing is simple: Part One
It’s word of mouth. It’s about getting people talking, about you especially. You can’t afford big banner advertising on all the major websites and neither would it be financially astute to do so. Build yourself a following. Slow and easy.
That means making friends on the web.
Web friends are people you’re not likely to meet in a month of Sundays but who will quite happily tell their own web friends that you exist (I’ve been poked, therefore I am). This means you have to be nice to people. It means you have to “talk” to them on places like Twitter and Facebook.
6. Marketing is simple: Part Two
It’s word of mouth. Word of mouth. Yes. Remember? That doesn’t mean you just do the talking and no listening. Conversation, you idiot, is key to your success and it’s at least a two way process. If someone tweets you, make an effort to thank them and retweet something of theirs back. Get to know what they’re doing. Become involved in their world.
7. Give yourself a chance
Do give people every opportunity to promote your blog. That means include links to social networking sites. Most blogs allow you to download a widget that you can put on your website. It takes five minutes even for a complete idiot like you – they allow others to access things like their Twitter or Facebook account and comment on your page.
8. Promote others as you would have them promote you
Don’t be afraid to promote someone else’s material on your blog. Don’t sit there and stare at me blankly – we’re talking altruism here. It’s not just about you and how many books YOU sell. Being altruistic will make people think you’re nice, even if you aren’t. Have faith in your own work and be generous to others. You’ll find it will work in the long term.
9. Be you
Shock! Suprise! Some people you meet online are not entirely what they seem to be. The luscious blonde in 5 inch stilettos is, we suspect, a truck driver from Cleethorpes (Gunther get that damn frock off!). I myself am not a ruggedly good looking guy with a PhD in Macrobiotics but a bored housewife called Germaine who is losing her teeth and has a husband with incontinence problems.
Like in most of our mystery and horror books, not everything online is quite what it seems. Try to rise above that and be you. More importantly, try to have a profile pic that actually looks like you, even if you are second cousin to John Merrick. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a pen-name or embellish things. Just try to be MOSTLY honest about yourself, okay?
10. Don’t plagiarize
Don’t copy. It’s bad. It’s lazy. It’s stupid. Okay, as writers you probably don’t do a lot of that. But there are some out there, you know who you are, I seen yah!!!
You were put on this Earth to create original content.
This one is for me. Stop writing so many goddamn blogs and get on with some proper writing you bow-legged, short-sighed procrastinating little gimp you…