How to drive traffic to your blog. What writers need to know

Oh, how the digital world is changing!

This week, Fortune magazine reported that Facebook book referrals have surpassed Google as a traffic source for news.

As a former news person this was interesting but not as interesting to me as a blogger and writer.

I have debated with friends who are marketers and social media managers about whether this is something that we should pay attention to. Do we drop SEO? Do we pay for getting our posts into more timelines? How does this impact the writer?

I think time will tell how this will impact news websites, which is what the article is mainly about. However, this will impact writers and bloggers who depend on their platform and/or communities to establish themselves.

I have a blog post coming soon about what exactly is an author platform. For now though, know that a writer’s website/blog is the anchor to their platform. And platform is important because that’s how you grow customer base, i.e. potential readers.  Continue reading “How to drive traffic to your blog. What writers need to know”

Three reasons why writers should blog

 

5 Ways

Editor’s Note: As I go through the process of moving, a couple of my expert (re: smarty pants) friends — experts in writing, marketing, publishing, and social media — are pitching in until I get back. Enjoy their wisdom and visit their sites, which are listed at the bottom of their post.

Writing is a business. Today, the publishing world is going social and digital, and writers need to do the same. Editors are looking a writer’s social numbers – that’s the number of people who follow your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Writers can’t wait until they sell a book to build an audience. The time is now. Gone are the days were publishers would send authors on five-state, 20-bookstore media tour. Today, publicity and marketing is up to the author, and a cheap way to do both is through a blog.

Why should writers blog?

Name recognition, also known as brand recognition

YOU are the brand. New writers –just as much as published writers — need to make connections with readers, booksellers, book reviewers, editors, agents, et al.

Build an audience

Family and friends help, but writers need a wider, far-reaching readership. It takes time to find readers, and the sooner a writer starts the better. This is especially true for unpublished writers. Get your name out there now.

Promotion

Your blog is one of the few places where you can self-promote again and again without being obnoxious. Post a countdown to your publication date. Have the links to all the places your book is available for sale, et al.

What should you blog about?

Your writing process

Blog about where you got the inspiration for the story; your research; locations where you’ve set your story. Blog about your characters; do interviews with them. Blog about writer’s conferences/ workshops you attend.

Showcase your writing

Post scenes, dialogue, excerpts. It wets the reader’s appetite for more of your work. For example, author Diana Gabaldon used to post her work on the internet for readers to critique. By the time her book was published, she had hundreds of people waiting for it.

 Use pictures

All your blog posts should contain photos. But photos can be blogs in and of themselves. A picture is truly worth a 1000 words so share away. For example, flowers, dogs/cats, locations, dresses, landmarks, oceans, et al. Put up photos of what your characters look like; photos of locations/cities where you’ve set your book. Your readers will love it.

Do interviews

Interview other authors, editors, agents, other bloggers, librarians, booksellers. You can also interview people that are in the same profession as your characters. These can be great learning experiences for you and other writers and readers.

Hobbies/Pets

Yes, hobbies and pets make good blog fodder. They are fun ways to connect with readers. For example, author K.M. Jackson has a great blog  and she always adds snippets about her dog Jack. Readers often ask about him, and keep going back to her to hear about the dog’s antics. Another example, author Nalini Singh writes a leopards and wolves series. She also posts photos of cubs and pubs on her blog, and now her readers are sending her photos for her blog. That engagement with your readers is priceless, and is what all writers want to achieve.

Tie-ins topics

These are topics that touch upon the themes in your book. For example, if you are writing a cop thriller, blog about cops, guns, bounty hunters, etc. If you are writing the paranormal, blog about zombies, vampires, shape shifters, ghosts, angels that are in your books. If your main character is a baseball player, blog about baseball. Etc. Etc. You get the idea.

Blog for others

Volunteer to blog for other authors and other writer sites (like this one). This will expose you to other readers and help build your brand.

FINAL TIPS ON BLOGGING

  • Make your blog posts “short, sweet and to the point.” 100-250 words are more than enough.
  • Add photos to all your posts. Visuals are important and make great promotional tools.
  • Always make sure to check for spelling and grammatical errors before you post your blog. You want to put your best writing forward.

 

 

Maria Ferrer is a meeting planner by day and a writer by night. She blogs weekly, and has a picture blog on Fridays. Maria also runs The Latina Book Club, whose mission it is to promote Latino authors and literacy. Visit her at blog and her website.

How to Create a Buzz for Your Book with a Live Event

Wine glasses
Editor’s Note: As I go through the process of moving, a couple of my expert (re: smarty pants) friends — experts in writing, marketing, publishing, and social media — are pitching in until I get back. Enjoy their wisdom and visit their sites, which are listed at the bottom of their post

So you want to publish a book, right?

And you expect this book to be wildly successful.

Get in line.

I get it. I know what you want. Now is the time to get to work. You need to host an event. A cool one. But it’s not just about the event itself. It’s all about the work you put in during the weeks leading up to the event.

The publishing industry is tough and with the advent of self-publishing, e-publishing on top of traditional publishing media, book publishing isn’t getting any easier. In fact, I’d argue that because of all of these different ways to publish, the industry is even more cut throat. Moreover, it’s even harder for readers to cut through all of the fluff and find a book that resonates with them.

The good news?

All is not lost.

There are a few things you can do to make connecting with your potential readers a lot easier. How do I know? It’s my job to know. I make a living telling my story and helping other folks tells theirs in ways that are meaningful to their target audience. Yes, that’s a fancy way of saying I’m a publicist. It also helps that I’ve experienced great success with a recent book project that landed itself in front of the readers of national publications such as Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, New York Times, Essence, Ebony among several others.

Icess sent me here to help you. I’m going to share with you the top five things you can do to boost your book’s public awareness with a live event.

Get Social!

No, seriously. I mean really social. Incredibly social.

Use your social media following to promote your project. Tease your e-mailing list with snippets of your project and include event details. Blog about it. Post about your blog on social media to drive traffic.

Create a special hashtag for your project that you can use on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or whatever social media site you’re using. This way potential readers can follow all of the conversation about your project.

Encourage use of the hashtag at your public event. Your public event could be a book launch party, a book signing or your attendance at a book fair. Make sure the hashtag is displayed on your marketing materials and don’t be afraid to attendees to post pictures and comments using the special hashtag.

Allow a few folks to read your advance galley. Ask them to video their brief review (read 90 seconds or less) and include your event details. Ask them to share the review on their own social networks and your own.

Ask ten of your closest supporters (who also have a large social media following) to tweet, blog, and post about your book and your event. Be sure to control the message–you write the post for them and ask them to share it with their respective networks.

Land

I don’t mean buying land or making your mark on the moon. What I want you to do is to create a special landing page for your public event.

You can use tools such as EventBrite or you can set up this landing page on your own blog. The important thing is to include brief information about the project, all details about the event and offer a freebie to all those who RSVP for the event (you’ll be able to use those e-mails later for your mailing list to promote other projects).

Partner

Don’t go it alone. Find a relevant organization that has an interest in your project or your project’s content.

Ask that organization to post details about your project and your public event on its social media, web page and distribute it to its e-mail contacts.

INVITE THESE FOLKS TO YOUR EVENT. Give them an incentive to come out and show their support– like a few free, autographed copies of your book.

Show up

Really. We want to see your smiling face in the place. All of the places.

In the weeks leading up to your event, show your face at multiple networking events. Pass out your promotional rack cards that advertises your book AND your event.

Drag yourself to each and every event possible–book signings, book fairs, book club meetings, networking meetings, writing groups, schools, etc. Do not miss an opportunity to connect with people and invite them to your event. People love a personal invitation.

HOST AN AWESOME EVENT!

Yes. This is the part that counts.

The goal here is to create an awesome public awareness campaign about your event. Make sure you have the following:

A publicist like me or someone who can set up, greet people and manage the crowd so you don’t have to do it all.

Audio and visual equipment that help tell your project’s dynamic story.

  • A special backdrop that includes your name, your book’s name, the special hashtag you created and any other sponsors.
  • Copies of your book! Make sure you have a way for folks to purchase on-site.
  • The promotional information cards about you and your project (make sure your web site and social media handles are included)
  • A sign-up table for your e-newsletter
  • Easel displays or vertical banners of you and your book.
  • Light refreshments wouldn’t hurt.

 

Questions? Feel free to drop me a line.

 

 

Ashley Northington is a professional communicator, public education advocate and entrepreneur. She is the Director of DENOR Brands & Public Relations, a boutique public relations and branding firm that specializes in the entertainment, lifestyle, business and public service industries. Learn more about her at site by clicking here.

 

What I’m learning being away from my blog

empty desk

Miss me yet?

In case you didn’t know, I’m taking May off to move back to Texas and start a new gig so I’ve had to program a month’s worth of blog posts before I could pack the first box. Here’s a list of what’s coming for the rest of the month.

Guest Post May

Whoa. That’s a lot.

If you think about it, if the goal is to publish three times a week and to promote each post through social media, you have at the very least 12 posts to get ready. That’s not just writing them but also packaging them — photos, videos, clickables, and just making it look good on the page.

That’s a whole lot of work. A. Lot.

But it’s worth it. I’ve love how the guest posts are looking so far and how everything is being laid out. The act of putting things together for online/mobile is called digital packaging and, as I have learned recently, it’s a bit of an art form.  Digital packaging, and other skills, are just some of the things I’ve had to use to get this site ready to practically run its self for about a month.

Here are some other lessons I’ve learned so far.

Automate where you can.

Don’t underestimate automation. In the past, I was never a fan of it. I like to promote the posts live, beyond the initial Tweet or Google+ post. But, in reality, you can pre-post every single thing — the post, social media promotion, etc.  So I’ve done that and it has resulted in some interesting follows from new readers (I don’t look at pageviews for this site).  It’s also resulted in lost of shares.

To pre-post, I’ve used a combo of Hootsuite and Buffer. If you haven’t used Hootsuite, it’s a web-based social media management tool. I usually prefer Tweetdeck, however, it doesn’t allow me to post on Facebook or Google+. It also doesn’t allow me to save photos for use in Tweets. Hootsuite does all of that plus determines the best time to post.

Buffer is awesome and I love it. It’s similar to Hootsuite in the way it allows you to pre-determine when social media posts will be posted. However, it is limited. The free version allows only 10 “buffers” at a time. I’ve been able to choose the times items are tweeted out so it doesn’t over lap with what I’m doing on Hootsuite. Though I use Buffer to tweet out my own posts, I mostly use it to tweet out other things I see that I think readers would like to see and know about.

Guest posts are awesome

As you can see, I have a month’s worth of guest bloggers coming through for the rest of May and into June. When I first put out a feeler, I got so many people interested in blogging. That’s when I realized two things. 1.) My friends are pretty brilliant and 2) I really should have writer’s guidelines.

So, I worked with each blogger individually. Don’t be alarmed. By this I meant we talked about what they could possibly blog about. We brainstormed, keeping both audience and blogger in mind. The results are amazing and they helped lessen the load. I still wrote couple of posts myself (as you can see) but their help allowed me to be able to write less and pack more.

Another thing I am loving about guest posting is that the bloggers are bringing in some great expertise. Everywhere from promotion to blogging to writing, these bloggers know what they’re talking about.

Take the time to make each post visual, more than you usually would.

This is where all this digital packing skills are coming in handy. Because I had so many blog posts come in to be scheduled, there was time and energy enough to work on visuals for most of these posts. More than just picking a photo, some of the posts have info graphics and pinable art with them. I am loving the visuals and hope you do too.

Editorial calendars are awesome

Also because I was working so far in advance, I was able to plan out the month (as you can tell from the visual above).  Having an editorial calendar not only tells you what you will be publishing and when, it can also tell you when and how you need to promote certain posts. I’ve talked and used editorial calendars before but for making this site work with little oversight, it was a must.

 

That’s it for now. I’ll be back at it in June! Have a great May everyone and enjoy the guest posts!

Two Steps to Self-Promotion In A Self-Publishing World

If you think opportunity is knocking by itself, you've got another thing coming.
If you think opportunity is knocking by itself, you’ve got another thing coming.
Editor’s Note: As I go through the process of moving, a couple of my expert (re: smarty pants) friends — experts in writing, marketing, publishing, and social media — are pitching in until I get back. Enjoy their wisdom and visit their sites, which are listed at the bottom of their post.

So you have conceptualized, developed, and written your inspired and engaging piece of prose, uploaded it onto your website or blog, and are now patiently waiting for the money and exposure to just start rolling in.

If only it were that easy!

Writers of the world are living in an age of self-publishing and that means they are living in an age of self-promotion as well. No longer do they have to rely on sending in their painstakingly crafted creations to the anonymous recipient in a publishing house, hoping and praying they will “get” and want to showcase their talents to the rest of the world.

No, writers can now take this onus onto themselves and their trusty laptop and publish their works on their own terms.

So how does one undertake this enormous task of marketing and promotion that was once left to an entire public relations department? Here’s how.

self promo1

Start by researching and knowing who your target audience is and what their interests and/or concerns are. According to Susannah Breslin at Forbes Magazine, “You need to know your demo intimately. What is their gender, age, race, class, location? Are they educated, funny, stupid, smart, conservative, liberal, easily entertained, or hipster cool? Are they loners or pack hunters, seeking to be inspired or bored housewives, data junkies or tech noobs?”

Essentially what Breslin is saying is you MUST know and understand your target audience as much as you possibly can so you can use the appropriate channels, topics, issues and media outlets to effectively get your specific message out to the audience that would be most receptive and interactive with it.

Ok, ok, I’ve figured out who my target audience is, what they like, don’t like, but how do I get my message and or blog, article, book etc. out to them? One of the easiest and most effective tools we have is right at our finger tips, content marketing via social media.

self promo2

Essentially, content marketing is a tool used to communicate with your customers and prospective readers without deliberately trying to “sell” to them. This new way of looking at marketing in direct contrast to old school methods of advertising and publicity. Target audiences can be picky and savvy with who they give their hard earned money to. They will more likely be inclined to give to those individuals who are actively “giving” them useful and engaging content rather than merely just trying to actively “sell” to them.

One of the easiest ways to engage in content marketing is through the platform of social media. For sake of brevity I will discuss what I like to call the Big 3.

big three

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all similar but very different platforms used to present and disseminate your message and/or content to your target audience. The tone, language, and content you choose must be tailored to engage and inform your audience according to the platform you use.

Facebook is more of an informative, engaging platform as there is a much more liberal word allotment and you will find that engagers will openly share their thoughts and opinions on this platform.

Twitter is much more casual and direct as you only have 140 characters to get your information out. This is where your creativity and word craftsmanship must come into play.

LinkedIn is much more business oriented. However, with all of the newly added posting and sharing functions that LinkedIn has acquired to be competitive, the formal business style can now be tempered with a more social side.

To be truly successful in managing your social media platforms, you must be open to learning and listening to your audience. After all, they are the ones you are targeting and engaging with. Be alert as to what they are discussing and engaging in. Find out what topics and current events they are passionate about. What are you doing to enrich and engage in THEIR social community?

Bottom line, content marketing through social media needs to be just that social and engaging. If you are constantly using your platform ONLY to market and advance your own agenda, you will lose your target audience; they will tune you out and go elsewhere to get their engaging content and helpful information. Give back, post interesting articles, videos, even other writers work.

Ultimately, if you aim to consistently deliver information and or content that makes your reader more intelligent and informed, they will eventually reward you with their business and loyalty, which inevitably is every self-published writer’s dream.

So, I encourage you to start scouring the internet and find that content that will inform, engage and or enrich your reader’s lives. You just may find that in order to be a successful self-published writer, you must be a successful marketed one as well.

 

 

Dina Arsenault is a public relations professional and a freelance consultant with A Cue Creative Consulting,  a boutique agency specializing in the art of branding artists and small business owners. She’s also a creative person writing, producing and directing her film short Redemption in 2007, which screened at the Reel Women International Film Festival in Los Angeles. Aresnault graduated with honors from Brock University in Communications Studies, earned a Broadcasting Diploma in Radio, TV and Film from Niagara College and most recently a public relations certificate from Simon Fraser University.

Why I don’t care about pageviews…still

Yup, still don't care. What of it?
Yup, still don’t care. What of it?

So I was talking to one of my guest post writers recently when we talked about some potential blog post ideas when I said this phrase.

“Pageviews mean nothing to me.”

Since we were on the phone, I couldn’t determine what her reaction was. She’s a pr and marketing expert and had just launched her own website for her business.

I’d written about this topic before. Yes, I still use SEO techniques and I still use social media to promote the posts on this site but I very rarely look at the page view stats.

There use to be a time when I would obsess about those numbers, not only for my site but for the site of the newspaper I worked for. We did everything possible to get those numbers to pop. And I did the same for my own site. At its height, my blog would receive at least 8,000 page views a month, a very nice number when it comes to the sponsorship search or becoming a brand ambassador.

But unlike the newspaper site, I didn’t really live by that number. So, when I looked back at the posts I used to reach that 8,000 a month, I cringed.

Horrible. Those posts were so bad.

What made them that way was that they were not useful. They were created just to be click bait not to help anyone or to inspire anyone to do their best work.

And what was I doing if I wasn’t helping people?

That’s when I decided that I would write things that would help people with their writing journey. Whether it was thoughts about self publishing or how to create awesome characters or  even inspiring people with my own journey through the writing process, I wanted every single post to be useful.

So I stopped looking at the stats for this site. I listen instead to the conversations I have to people on Twitter or Google+. I listen to other writers and offer advice or support. Then I write that up for this site. I bare a bit of my soul and my thoughts on things and stories I’m working on.

If I don’t care about pageviews, what do I care about? The follow number — Twitter, newsletter(s), and this site.

Those numbers validate what I do and tells me if what I’m doing and writing is valuable to the folks who read them. The ultimate number is the newsletter subscriptions. Why? Because those folks not only read the blog and get it in their email box, they want to know more.

Newsletters are the only place where more is better. But more doesn’t mean amount. It means quality.

Essentially, all this is about mission statement. I want to help people get to where they are going — whether its through advice or through inspiration. Page views aren’t part of the mission.

Yes, mission. Writers need mission, a focus, if not they’ll spin their wheels and get no where.  For me, my mission is to help people on their writing path and continue my own. Anything else is just noise.

So, what your mission statement? What do you stand for? Don’t know yet? It’ll come to you soon. Until then, check in, ask questions, and of course get more with the newsletter.

WordPress adventures: Pageviews vs quality

It’s been a little over six months since I moved this blog from Blogger to WordPress and rebranded it from Writing To Insanity to IcessFernandez.com. It’s been eye opening.

When I say eye opening, I really mean oh-my-goodness-I-have-to-relearn-everything. Well, maybe not everything but enough to know about what I want out of this blog. Here’s what I don’t want….

A massive amount of page views.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do want people to read this blog and all the things that come with it — the newsletters, the Jennie Manning stories, etc.  What I mean is that I’m not chasing page views, not like I did with Writing To Insanity.

At the peek, my former blogging home earned 10,000 page views a month. For a site that published only a couple of times of week, that’s a lot of eye balls on content. However, did I produce the best content? Nah. Not by a long shot. Some of it was okay. Maybe there were one or two posts that I thought really helped people become writers.

To gain that many page views, I used a combined strategy of SEO, well executed social media, and a blog post jump start (writing a post every day for two weeks, which turned into a month, which turned into several). With that strategy, the page views grew and so did my exposure, not necessarily the quality.

So, what if I stopped chasing page views? What if I concentrated on writing the best possible blog posts?

Now, the game has changed and this blog is gaining followers because of the quality of the posts, not because how often they see me publish. Note that I said followers and not page views. That means a bit more to me because followers get a copy of this blog in their email box every time I publish. They sign up for my newsletter on writing, or may want to take a writing class with me and find their voice, or are excited to read my first mystery series. That means they want to stick around for more than just a click or page view.

That’s what I mean about quality.  Now page views mean very little to me.*

“I want to be in a position to help people reach their dreams. I want to be a helper.” (Click to tweet).

And that’s what I’m doing with this blog.

So, how’s your blog doing? Have you made the switch to a different platform? How’s it going?

 

*However, if you’re a site that lives and dies by page views (I’m looking at you news sites and sites that sell ads) forget  everything I said…for now.

How to build your writing platform

Building author platform

I’m starting something new.

Well, actually it’s not new. I’ve been doing this for the past six years, I’m just now noticing that I’m doing this.

I’ve been building an author platform for the past couple of years. In fact, I’ve helped others do the same thing, consulting on social media and asking blogging questions.

I even started a section on this blog about, well, blogging and social media stuff for writers and other artists. Every time I post something in that section, I get more questions and people who want to know more.  That’s great! I love the fact that more writers are embracing the idea of the author platform and being more in control of their writing careers.

For too long, writers have been extremely dependent on others for marketing of their own novels and projects. In this  age of social media and web publishing tools, it’s easier for the writer to control that part of their career. In fact, if a writer doesn’t take advantage of it, they are missing out on a big part of careers.

I’m here to help with that. I’m working on a site that will help writers with their platform. Until then, I’m writing some of my favorite tips in a newsletter. Yes, that means that those tips are only available to the people who really are interested in getting going and working on this part of their career. 

Yup. A newsletter. I’m building a separate site just for building the author platform but until then, let’s get this party started!

Sign up by clicking here and I can’t wait for you to see the first newsletter.

Too many social media sites? Depends.

Photo by Jason A. Howie
Photo by Jason A. Howie

I am overwhelmed and that’s saying a lot.

I’ve come to the point in my creative career that I need to align my social media efforts. This is difficult to explain really, but pretty much I played on social media back before everyone thought this was a fun thing to do to kill time. So, as I saw other writers work on their social media efforts as part of that all important writer’s platform, I noticed how social media was used not only as a way to market but as a way to find and build a fan base for writing.

Now, it’s my turn. With plans to release my first book in 2014 (Oh, wait. Did I just say that out loud?) I now have to use this tool as those before me have. Actually, I have to use two of my hats at the same time, the social media professional and the writer

So, does that mean I have to use every social media platform out there?

I actually answered this question for a group of Full Sail students recently. These students were artists –writers, screenwriters, etc — and wanted to know more about how social media could help them with their careers. (BTW, that’s quickly becoming on of my favorite topics.)

To get back to the original question, I say no. No, you do not have to use every social media site out there. In fact, don’t. In fact, please don’t. In fact, I already know the answer to this question so why am I asking? Here’s the long answer to that: different social media platforms for different goals.

Twitter

I am a Twitter girl. I cut my big girl social media teeth on Twitter and have seen the unrestricted power of 140 characters. I’ve battled big telecommunications companies and won, I’ve connected with my favorite celebrities and I’ve gained friendship and followers from people all around the country. If you’re a writer, more specifically a reporter/columnist/etc, this is the platform you want to be on. Your words can carry far and fast. And, well, it’s just fun. There’s also communities built around hashtags that are helpful (#blogchat is invaluable).

Facebook

I have a love/hate relationship. It’s big. Everyone’s on it. Conversations happen here. When it comes to engagement, this is the grand-daddy of them all. You can get lots of conversation going on Facebook because there is less of a space limitation.

Here’s why I hate it. It’s big. Everyone’s on it. Conversations happen here. Yes, I hate Facebook for the same reasons I love it. Of course, sprinkle the “privacy” issues on it and I hate it even more. I think that because it’s so congested (because everyone’s on it) it’s not a place where you will organically get new followers or potential readers. Face it, the folks on Facebook are your friends and they are sharing cat pictures and memes from ecards.

Then there’s the page vs follow function, which is it’s own blog post.

However, because everyone is on it, they’ll be looking for your presence on there. Yes, it’s the chicken and the egg argument of social media. Not sure it’s ever going to be solvable.

Google+

By far the most under-estimated social media platform ever. I consider myself one of the guilty ones who didn’t see the potential of its awesomeness sooner. I kept trying it out though because a friend of mine was having some success with its functionality.

When I finally began to take it seriously, I found out that it was similar to Twitter in that people were willing to talk and engage (by +1) with complete strangers, therefore there is an opportunity for increasing an audience. But it also had the best part of Facebook, the ability to house the conversation.

Then there’s the whole circle thing and the hangouts on air which I LOVE. Of course you can’t forget that this is Google and they have found a way to include its social media platform with its Google search results. Have a blog? You need to be on G+. And sign up for authorship while you’re at it. 

Pinterest

I love Pinterest as a bookmarking type of thing. I’ll start using it soon in other ways. For me, the jury’s still out on this platform. I’ll keep you posted.

So, what should you use? Use what your potential customer/clients/reader use. You go there. You engage there. Social media for the artist is a verb and it’s very much like courtship. If you want to get to the point of asking folks to buy what you’re selling (the proposal) you have to invest the time and establish that relationship. (How’s that for a metaphor?)

I’m putting together a Social Media 101 guide for the writer/artist. If you want to know when it’s ready, sign up in the link in the small bio at the bottom of this post or just click here.

What social media sites are you on and which do you think are must use?

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

New look, focus for Writingtoinsanity.com

Icess Fernandez Rojas is a writer, blogger, teacher, and journalist. Her commentary has appeared in The Guardian and on Huffington Post Latino Voices. Her fiction has been published in literary journals/anthologies such as Minvera Rising and Soul’s Road. She’s working on her first book and teaches fiction writing classes. Contact her or sign up to know more.

My latest in the Blogger to WordPress transition

My old header on the old blog. Le sigh.
My old header on the old blog. Le sigh.

Yes, I still miss Blogger.

But it’s less now that I’ve moved all of my content from Blogger to this site (this is a WordPress.com site for now).

Now that all my content is here, I’m going through them and keeping what’s still relevant because, let’s face it, do you really want to know about a prize pack I gave away three years ago? I didn’t think so.

One of the lessons I’ve learned that has floored me is the comparison of stats between the Blogger site and this one. Since I stopped blogging at that site, page views have gone down, which isn’t that shocking but this is.

In the month I have been blogging here consistently, the amount of page views are nearly the same as my other blog. I dove into the stats and saw some big differences. Here’s what I’ve observed.

Referrers

My big referrer to the Blogger site was still Google. All kinds of Google from everywhere — Mexico, Canada, England, etc.  In the five years I had been with the platform, I built up enough Google juice to keep some half decent traffic going even while I wasn’t blogging there all the time.  Even when you Google my name, Writingtoinsanity.com is still the first thing you see. This blog is on the first page but ranked lower. (Suggestions on how to increase ranking is much appreciated, by the way.)

For IcessFernandez.com, the top referrers have all been social media sites. Twitter, Facebook, Stumble, and Pinterest have been contributing to the traffic here. There’s been very little Google juice. That has been interesting. I think this talks to the power of social media. There is something to be said when trying to build a community around your blog and reaching out that way. You gotta go where the people are. Interesting isn’t it? One blog is where people came to, the other goes to the people. Different strategies but similar results.

Posts

I have not written a new post on WritingToInsanity.com since June. Yet, people are still accessing the content. Some of my big posts are ones I wrote earlier this year. In particular, the post about what every creative person should do right now. Here’s the post as it was transferred to this blog.  Not sure why this has been the big post in the past month since the stats don’t break down referrers to individual posts. Perhaps another blogger picked it up since there is traffic from other blogs since coming to the site.

The big post here? It’s this interview I did with Kelsye Nelson. This one gained a lot of traffic from social media and was retweeted and shared lots of times. This is where I think social media has helped with traffic on this blog. The second most popular post was the one about Graham Greene and the short story, which broke down some writing lessons from the author. Both contained really good information about writing. I also consider these two post my best on this site.

Blog followers

Without a doubt I have more blog followers here than I did at WritingtoInsanity.com and I worked on it for 5 years. I think it’s probably because WordPress bloggers can easily follow their favorite blogs and get them in their email. Following on Blogger can include an email from your favorite blogger but even with it’s integration into Google + there wasn’t very much sharing.

Conclusion

Not quite sure what the conclusion is to all this information I’ve gathered. On one had, I haven’t written a thing since June on one blog and I have decent traffic on it, while on the other hand I’ve written more on this one and gotten about the same amount of traffic.

However, the sources are different. The referrers are different for each so I’m wondering if it’s new audience vs existing audience that I’m looking at. Well, existing plus Google love.

The most consistent thing about these findings is that useful posts get traffic. Period. People want posts that will help them be better at what they do. The posts that have gotten high traffic on both my blogs have been those that have a lesson in them or a bit of information that will make them better writers. They are also the ones that take in mind my writing process or the process of the writers I’ve interviewed. This is amazing news because I really do try to put together posts that will help people be better writers.

One thing is for certain, this has been an interesting transition from one platform to another. For the folks that make the change, did you see a similar pattern? What do you guys think of some of the patterns I’ve seen in the stats?