Yes, there are right and wrong ways to build your authoring platform, and most often, novice authors go the wrong direction.
They believe turning to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter will grant them the following they need to sell books.
And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with social media when it’s used as a supplement to your overall platform.
But social media will never give you the recognition you and your books deserve. Take a look at your Twitter impressions.
If you have 5,000 followers, but only 1,500 impressions, divide that by 24. About 62 people are seeing your Tweets per hour, and out of those 62, how many reacted to them? Maybe between 5-10. Out of those 5-10, how many clicked your detail expands and the link?
Which means twenty-four potential customers from Twitter, right?
The above numbers are averages, but not surefire numbers.
Something I noticed with Twitter is if you aren’t getting any reactions, the number of impressions is low. You may’ve only gotten 20 impressions for a single hour, and if no one responded, it means your Tweet wasn’t seen by the right people.
So, why bother with Facebook, Twitter, or any social media outlet as your main source for an author platform?
You Need to Blog
The best way to drive people to your work is through a blog, where you can be indexed in Google and utilize SEO.
I have not one but two blogs where my books are set. Obviously, My Freedom Flame is one such blog, but I’m also building content for this blog right here that’s under a subdomain, entitled lordofcolumbiaseries.siterubix.com.
Why two blogs?
Two blogs. Two narrow niches. More visibility for my books because potential customers can come across my blog and at least see my work, which is featured on both blogs.
But, how do you get readers to come to your blog?
Utilize SEO, of course!
Okay, I can already see 98% of my readers bouncing from my blog to find another one because SEO sounds too scary.
It really isn’t.
It’s just a fancy term bloggers throw around that talks about keywords in each blog they write about.
Know what my keywords were here? Authoring platform.
Use the keyword in your title, your SEO title, keywords, SEO description, and use the same keyword in your first paragraph. You CAN use it in your posts, but I advise you to utilize caution as Google will penalize you for what is called ‘keyword stuffing.’
You can find your SEO tools in your WordPress.com’s, or WordPress.org’s back office, or any blog platform that you use. And please, definitely utilize these tools as they will make the likelihood of getting indexed in Google much greater.
Utilize the correct SEO keywords, and your posts will be visible in Google’s indexing. Display high-quality and engaging information, Google will reward you some more and rank your posts high, perhaps on their first page.
MailChimp or Aweber
You’ll also need an email account, too. MailChimp and Aweber are good tools to use, but there are other awesome email providers out there. You can connect signup forms to your site, which means you’ll just copy and paste code into your site’s editor in its back office.
Email is still the dominant thing here, so it’s wise you use it.
Think about it; if you can garner peoples’ email addresses, they’re obviously interested in your work.
If you have people interested in your work, it means there are people out there willing to spend their money on your work.
But, people aren’t just going to give their email address away. Have you ever given your email address away?
It’s likely you’ll need to hand out something for free to get an email address.
I have an e-book novelette, which is the prequel to the Neo Skyehawk Series, that I give away to my email list. A great place to set your free e-book is to place it on Prolific Works, where you can also connect your email provider account and collect email addresses from there.
I give my readers options because EVERYONE including me loves options.
What do I do?
I have my free e-book that is a mandatory opt-in, which you can choose on the site. I also have several books on Prolific Works that are optional opt-ins, meaning a reader can download a work without obligating themselves to my email list.
Rise in Google, not Social Media
Okay, so now that you have your blog, know how to drive traffic via SEO and keyword usage, plus know a blog and email list make for a better author platform than social media ever will, it’s time to drop your social media fame and instead opt for Google fame.
The first thing you need to do is link your blog to Google+ while it’s still around. This is for two reasons: 1) Linking to Google+ makes for faster indexing, and 2) It’s likely Google will introduce something better than Google+, which may have been a colossal failure, but it’s still the only social media worth posting to for indexing.
Yeah, I get some traffic from social media, but I find through Google Analytics I get most of my traffic through search engines, meaning if I didn’t bother with learning SEO and keywords, I just lost over 50% of my traffic and potential readers.
Don’t get me wrong; some readers will definitely discover you via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., but most won’t. If you need to solve a problem, do you use Facebook’s search bar or do you go to Google? Or another search engine like Bing or Yahoo, which still garner better results than social media?
Now that the eyerolls at the beginning of this post have stopped since I’ve proven social media doesn’t work wonders and never will, but Google prevails now and likely will in the future.
How do you get Google to notice you?
You need to build site trust, which takes a few months to a year. The higher quality information you write, the greater Google notices your blog.
Here are ways to build trust with Google:
1. Use relevant keywords and SEO in your blog posts.
2. Write at least 1,000 words for most posts.
3. Use imagery in your post and for longer ones, 1,500 words and more, use multiple images.
4. Aim for site comments, something I need to improve with here, but my second blog, Get Pro Football Apparel, has performed this duty well.
5. Always respond to site comments, as it shows Google you’re a real person and not just some automated bot.
6. Post often, at least 2-3 times a week, especially early in your blog’s life.
7. Keep your blog’s niche narrow and on the same subject matter.
8. Subdomains are okay, but only for building content. Ultimately, you need to own the domain.
9. Post unique content. Google knows who’s plagiarizing. Yes, you can post similar post topics, but it’s one reason why a keyword tool like Jaaxy is something you should have; it’ll tell you how many blogs out there are using the same keywords you are.
10. Keep your blog looking professional with an attractive theme, easy-to-read sentences, and help readers solve problems. For instance, I help readers write, which will build trust with my target audience, writers, and my primary audience, indie-authors.
These ten steps will help earn Google’s trust and will motivate it to raise your blog in its rankings. Now, you have posts popping up all over the place in Google, especially if you target keywords that people are searching for.
What Google Can Do For You
For instance, I could’ve used one of two keywords here:
1. Authoring Platform: 46 average search traffic per month, 142 other blogs using the keyword.
2. Author Platform: 15 average search traffic per month, 171 other blogs using the keyword.
Now you know why I used the phrase ‘authoring platform’ as the keyword over ‘author platform.’ If Google were to rank this article high in time, it’s likely I’ll drive 46 readers to my blog per month, which is 552 readers off one post alone for an entire year.
Imagine if I had over 1,000 posts, again, in a two-three year timespan, on this blog, and each garnered similar numbers. Now, I have 552,000 visitors per year if these 1,000 posts rank high in Google over the next three years. That’s 46,000 visitors per month.
That’s even better than having 100,000 Twitter followers, where you might get 300,000 impressions, or people scrolling mindlessly through your posts, per month, but maybe 1-3%, or 3,000 to 9,000 per month are truly interested in clicking through to your blog.
It’s definitely a supplement, but nothing compares to what Google can do for you.