Create Website Traffic by Benchmarking

What efforts are driving people to your Author Platform?

Hopefully you are asking yourself this question if you have books out and your own website. I obsess over what works. In business school it became my secondary action, try something, then pick it apart to determine if it yielded the results you hoped for.

I use SBI to host my website and it records where on the web people come from in order to reach my page. This is valuable data because it lets me know which of my attempts to promote my books, book reviews, and other writing related webpages are panning out. Then I know what time spent on certain activities gains me.

I just analyzed my websites September referrals. A huge portion of the data was totally useless crap to me. I saved the original data and started a new file, one without all the indecipherable noise. What I found was 259 referrals to LARC-SciFi.com that I could trace to specific activities and interactions. I’ll list the referrer, their percentage, and my actual effort taken below. 

My hope is two-fold. One- while you’re on my website figuring out how to grow your audience, you’ll also sign up for my newsletter or browse more of my writing, maybe even buy a book. Two- you will learn from my analysis (which cuts into valuable drafting and marking time) and use the tactics I found success with.

40%- Socialoomph.com- This is a site I use to autotweet. I spend some time creating a tweet for each book review or teaser, or sale, blog post, etc. and then save it for posterity. Then I schedule three tweets a day (personal preference, do whatever you want) and add images to them manually because I’m a cheap skate and use the lite version. The whole reason I prioritized looking at my web traffic analytics was that I suspected this activity was a waste of my time. Wrong! I will be investing more time into this. I get three people to look at my website each day from this activity that only costs two hours a month.

36%- Facebook.com- This includes everything. I recommend that people check out my reviews when their post asks for book recommendations, I participate in Scifi Roundtable and a few other groups, and I manage pages for my series and my reviews. I do not post “Read my book/ buy my stuff” anymore as I have determined that activity is completely fruitless. Facebook does not show me to which posts, pages, or conversations drove traffic so I can’t hone in on which specific activity spurred the clicks through, but know that I don’t try to cram a book sale down anyone’s newsfeed. I’ve tried before and already know it wastes my time and that of others.

7%- Twitter.com- This is anything that isn’t my social oomph post. I don’t put brand new tweets on there by practice but I do actively follow my feed (no autoreply, auto-retweets, auto-DMs, just me) and respond when tagged. Hopefully some of this is the authors whose books I’ve reviewed sharing my review. That activity helps us both out. In fact, the reason I started auto-tweeting was that Julie Powell always shares my reviews in her twitter feed (and tags me) and I retweet. Then on a previous analytical foray I noticed she drew 9 readers to my website! Not only is she a great writer, she’s got a head for marketing!

10% Search Engines- Yup, SEO baby. Good old fashioned curiosity. To think I spent two years with this as my only marketing endeavor!

7% other authors- Go team! Let’s pull one another up, right? A few of the authors I reviewed and promote showed a little love. Thanks gang!

I think the takeaway is that there are a lot of ways we authors can use our time to try to promote our work. I know some authors are all about Facebook author parties. I did a virtual con once and didn’t get many mail list subscribers or sales so unless I learn a way to try it that is fundamentally different that the approach I took, I’d rather try something new. When I do MEASURE SUCCESS like the method I used above, for one, I repeat and increase the effort.

What marketing tactics have you benchmarked? Where there any that I missed (that produced measurable results)?

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