A website or blog goes a long way towards helping an aspiring author build platform. It also helps an author or information marketer sell books and products. However, if that blog or website has no traffic—which means no “visitors”—it’s virtually useless (no pun intended).
The key then becomes finding ways to drive traffic to your website or blog. Knowing how to do this means the difference between success and failure for anyone trying to have a presence on the Internet or sell something there. Of course, writers must sell themselves to gain potential readers and they must sell their books and products once these are published.
Writer, speaker, educator, and website designer Linda Lee has made it her business to discover ways—free ways even—to help her clients increase the number of visitors they receive on the blogs and websites she creates for them. Many of her clients happen to be authors and writers; both of these groups of people need to build platform—large built-in readerships for their books—and to sell themselves and their products (books) on the Internet. In the following guest blog post, Linda, founder and owner of AskMePc-WebDesign, gives us four ways to drive traffic to websites and blogs and encourages us to work hard every day to build platform and to promote ourselves and our books so we meet our goals as writers and business people.
4 Free Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website
By Linda Lee
Starting a website to sell yourself as an author and speaker, your book or books, or your information products is just like starting a business. It requires hard work. The great thing about selling and promoting online is you can start with a small investment and “grow as you go.
Once you have a product to sell—yourself, your book or your information products, it’s time to create a website with a payment system and email list. With this in place, you need traffic. Lot’s of people can create a website and set it up so you can sell on line. Not everyone knows how to drive traffic to that site; without traffic—people actually showing up at your website (called visitors)—you won’t get any speaking gigs, request for guest blog posts, orders for your book, or sales of your products or services.
Driving traffic to your website certainly can be a challenge. Many people think that having a good website is all you need to get lots of visitors. If only it were that easy.
Getting traffic to your site takes hard work and diligence and is not accomplished overnight. There are many methods to bring traffic to your website. I am going to tell you about the free methods I have successfully used to bring traffic to my own websites. I am a frugal person, so I always try the free methods first.
Article Marketing--It's completely free and writing articles is easy. You do not have to be a professional writer to do this. You can write an article and submit it to one of many e-zine article services. The article will contain some information about you and your services and a link back to your site on the bottom. Usually these articles are free for others to use on their sites as long as they keep your information intact. This means other websites will pick up your articles and then be driving traffic to your site. Since good content is the very backbone of a great website, you need good information on your website, and so do others.
Forums--I get a great deal of business from a support forum I am active in. I used to only go to this forum for help with a website builder program I use, called Xsite Pro, but then as I became more proficient using the program I began to help others by answering questions in the forum. People now seek me out for more help with their websites, and as a result I have new clients from all over the world that would have never found me otherwise.
When you join any forum, you have the ability to use what is called a signature file. This is where you can set up your logo, your name, a little tagline for your business and link this all back to your website. When you leave a comment, you can select “use signature file” and this will show up at the bottom or side of your comments. This is free advertising for your business or book and also allows people to click the link and see your website.
The key to using any forum successfully to promote yourself is to build trust first. Don’t oversell yourself. Become a regular member who participates in conversations. Learn the rules of the forums you want to join, and hang out there first. Be what is called a “lurker.” Get a feel for the place before you jump in and start giving advice. Be polite and do not get involved in arguments and what is called “flaming,” where other posters seem to pile on one person and basically have online arguments. Do not spam forums, and contribute. Do not market yourself unless it is appropriate.
People go to forums to get help and answers; if you offer that, you will find new customers will come to you from your answers. Your answers will show up in search engines and live on forever. Forums are very powerful. You are representing your business and yourself online and it all matters.
You can even set up your own forum on any hosting account.
Other Blogs--There are many blogs and websites that will allow you to sign up and create your own “mini” blog on their site. A great example of this is a writer’s website called Red Room. This site gets very high traffic and you can join and start writing for free. Your work will be on the same website with best selling authors. There are many websites like this that are looking for contributors. You can set up your own ID, then you will have a biography about you in the profile section and links back to your website.
Once you start doing this, you will find people contacting you to “guest” blog on their blogs.
Social Media--You should have a few profiles on some of the top social media sites. For them to be effective you need to use them, and you should have what are called “badges” on your website and blog. These “badges” are the icons that link the image of the social media site back to your profile. Try to select just a few sites that you actually will use and maintain and don’t overload your website or blog with badges. Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress calls this the “Nascar design” with “stickers, and visual clutter.” This is distracting, chaotic and cluttered looking.
With social media choose one to three, and stick with them. Develop them and learn how to use them before you sign up for other ones.
Jack Canfield, one of the founders of the Chicken Soup book series, says in his book, The Success Principal, that everyday you need to follow “The Rule of Five.” The Rule of Five is quite simple: Do five things everyday that move you towards your goal. Most people I work with find they write down five but end up actually doing three.
Just think about that; if you did only three things a day to move your business and your book—or yourself—towards your goals, how much could you really get accomplished? There are no “overnight successes,” especially in the publishing world. Most people have worked long and hard and laid the groundwork down when success comes their way. Being “lucky” means you are prepared already when that “lucky” opportunity knocks. Make a commitment to yourself to get started on your path to publishing success today!
About the Author
Linda Lee is the founder and owner of AskMePc-WebDesign. She is a writer, speaker, educator, and website designer. AskMePc-WebDesign is a full service web design company that creates custom websites, blogs, forums, bulletin boards, and graphics/logos as well as many extras such as social media icon/badges, autoresponders, on line stores, and product pages.
Linda specializes in working with "non-technical" people. Available for consulting and coaching, she helps people launch blogs and websites and trains then in how to get traffic to their sites and to maximize their website presence with the use of blogging and search engine optimization of their websites. Linda is passionate about empowering people to take charge of their computer, showing clients with laughter and enthusiasm that they can make it work for them. Fill out this form today for your FREE 30 minute consultation.
This post is an excerpt from one of the chapters of Linda’s new book coming out in 2011, which is called “Smart Women, Stupid Computers, The Savvy Guide to using the Internet.” Linda Lee has been working online since 1999, when she was one of the top e-book sellers on eBay.