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  1. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    To those of you who have websites

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Isoul, Apr 5, 2019.

    I've been wanting to aggregate a place online where I can be asked questions, blog, and essentially form a haven of sorts where I can add an email list/stories/etc to those who are interested in similar styles, narratives, and thoughts as I am. A place of reciprocation for readers and writers alike, to put it simply. I was wondering if anyone has done anything similar and offer any insight about the following questions:

    1) How do you spur questions from visitors? How would you get them interested enough to specifically ask for your feedback? (Everyone wants to write their thoughts but not everyone wants to hear the other side) Like I said before I'd rather have quick and insightful talks for both ends.

    2) How exactly would you implement a critique system for the stories you make available on the site? Would you have a basic comment system? A place where people can email you and you email back?

    3) I may have questions about email lists but I've yet to research this specifically so I'd rather just save it for now.

    4) Would you link your social media to the site?

    5) Anything glaring I should know? Specific resources to use that may prove to have a life or death difference over others? For now, I'm thinking something as simple as wordpress, haven't looked to deep into it yet so I might have to change it if it's missing some functions I might want. But yeah, anything for this question might save me if I overlooked something.
     
  2. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

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    A lot of people ask questions on Twitter and link their Twitter feed to their website or blog.
     
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  3. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure I understand this one, but you can probably talk to users by addressing them in the posts, and engaging people on social media.

    Wordpress is a good bet, since it's free, easy to use, and a standard that most website administrators are familiar with. Wordpress supports comments, which you can use to get feedback.

    Use mailchimp. You can get people to subscribe then send out a newsletter to them. Mailchimp will handle the difficult aspects of making sure the emails are all delivered into peoples' inboxes correctly.

    Definitely, it's one of the best ways to get activity to the site.

    Wordpress is good. Use wordpress.com if you don't want to run your own webserver. If you do actually want to run your own webserver then let me know and I can provide some advice in that area, but generally your best bet is to go with simple stuff like that unless you know what you're getting in to. Get a domain name if you can afford to drop the $12 a year, and set it up to point to the wordpress site. .com preferably.
     
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  4. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    Mind giving me and example of exactly what you mean? Like the website owner asks the questions or the visitors do?

    Is there any inbox, post, or ask system available on wordpress? And thank you I will definitely check mailchimp out!
     
  5. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Supporter Contributor

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    In WordPress, you can make blog posts and people can reply to them. There are a lot of plugins available too that do other things, though you could probably accomplish what you want just by posting on your blog and having people leave comments.

    See https://wordpress.org/plugins/ for a full directory of available plugins. They may not be available through hosting services like WordPress.con, depending on the plugin.
     
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  6. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

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    It's all done through Twitter, which is the quickest way to interact and is where the good networking is compared to blogs and websites. People want lightening fast engagement on the go, so expecting someone to go to your blog AND answer questions when they're already doing it on Twitter is a bit of a reach. But you can use Twitter engagement in the form of questions and answers to drive some traffic to your blog or website.

    If you go on Twitter and hashtag writing community, you'll see a lot of writers and authors who pose questions to their Twitter. Then the Twitter feed is on their blog or website. (Make sure you're using a template that can support a Twitter feed plug-in.)
     
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  7. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    Thanks! I'll probably roll with both pieces of advice from you two!
     
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  8. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    My website is linked in my signature. At the end of the linked post I’m asking for emails on the chance someone likes my writing, so you could click it and see how I have my comments and mail chimp set up.

    Report back with tips :)
     
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  9. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    Wordpress is a good way to go and I use it for my own blog, but don't be fooled that it's simple. Sure, it CAN be simple but if you want a website that people will be happy to spend any length of time on, it will either cost you or you'll have to do the hard yards and learn.
    Plug-ins allow you to link social media such as Twitter directly to your blog, so you wouldn't need to monitor both.
    Mailchimp is excellent.
    To build an email list you will need a submission form. Easy enough with a plug in (and double opt in!) This should absolutely be one of the first things you do, that list will become a revenue stream later....trust me.
    A critique system could be as interesting or as bland as you like. You could have a simple comments system, or a rating system or you could even invent your own unique version.

    1) How do you spur questions from visitors? How would you get them interested enough to specifically ask for your feedback? (Everyone wants to write their thoughts but not everyone wants to hear the other side) Like I said before I'd rather have quick and insightful talks for both ends.

    Not sure I understand this question. What would visitors be asking for feedback on exactly? Would they too be submitting stories and asking for your critique and feedback? Fine if you remain niche, dangerous and non-sustainable otherwise.

    If you need further help let me know, always happy to help in this area since it was my job for 20 years!
     
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  10. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    Well I can probably figure out anything that might be complex with wordpress since I've worked well with many of adobes programs and coding html/java with a tippy tap of c#. What would you consider an interesting critique system? I was thinking of presenting two options to would-be critiques in the forms of commenting and replying privately.
     
  11. MarcT

    MarcT Active Member

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    The most difficult aspect of building a new website/blog is getting yourself noticed so that people will actually pay you a visit. I built a Word Press site for my books and although plenty of people have looked at it, I haven't managed any comments yet. Social media seems to be so much snappier and instant for everyone as far as I can see.
    I too would like interaction on my site and perhaps the secret is to post interesting topics that beg for interaction.
    Having said all that, I do enjoy website creation for my own personal pleasure, which is perhaps the wrong way to approach it.
    You can see mine in my sig.
     
  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I think social media is pushing out the whole blog thing. I know I'm not reading any blogs, but I do follow a ton of writers on social media. It's easier to stay up to date and I can see what's going on with everyone in one or very few places. I've had the most luck of Facebook because often you can see you know some people in common. People on Instagram seem to love seeing rejection slips (I've got that covered). Twitter has been harder for me. I haven't been able to really build a following, despite tries and interaction. Maybe it will come with time because I'm still new on twitter. I post my published works and links to it on all three of these social medias. And that's hard enough to grow a following. I think it would be even harder to draw people to a website without being a well known writer and having several books up for sale. I've also never really understood the whole idea behind blogging other than it let's anyone try out being a writer. But I like to get paid for what I write. So, I'll sell my work and link it to places via social media. I don't have books for sale or any sort of real following that I'm aware of. I rather focus on my writing and focus on my writing getting more attention through the popular outlets than wasting time trying to do it all on my own. What I have learned is that it's all about the hashtags.
     
  13. MarcT

    MarcT Active Member

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    Personally, I don't like Twitter at all and don't really get it, apart from seeing it as an attention grabbing 'look at me!' platform. I don't get Instagram either, but do appreciate the structure of Facebook and Linkedin, for example.
    I have accounts with all of them, reluctantly, and I try to post regularly, even though I don't get noticed by anyone.
    Yes, hashtags. I had to ask my stepson, who's 22 and lives on Instagram, (but no longer on Facebook, as is the trend with youngsters), what a hashtag denotes, and of course, it's just a tag.
    Since then, I've been hashtagging like a crazy man.
     
  14. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    If a blog is written in a 'me me me' style by an unknown writer (or anyone else) then it's not going to gain traction. No-one cares about you.
    Content must be engaging and either offer advice for the reader (or budding writer), entertain them, or solve a problem they have.
    A good 'about me' page IS absolutely vital for those who are directed to your blog from social media and DO want to know more about you, but the content on said blog must be engaging FOR the reader.
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    if you are going to self publish and want to build a mailing list a website is more or less essential as it is very difficult to integrate a mailing service with social media... that said I am begging to think the power of the mailing list is over stated ... as a buyer I have never bought a book as a result of being on a mailing list
     
  16. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    I think the power of mailing lists lies in their sheer size. It's the shotgun approach: email to 10 thousand people and perhaps 5 percent (or lower) will make an impulse purchase if something is offered cheaply. Of course, marketing isn't that simple though. There's all sorts of intricacies, from the 'sales' copy on the mail (which is an art in itself) to even the time and day the email is sent out, that all make a difference.
     
  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    while that is true - over 2k mailing list start to cost money... by the time you are at 10k you are paying about £75 pcm to host the list - so if it doesn't generate £900 a year in sales its not worth it
     
  18. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    Agreed. That's why many writers with blogs offer more than just books for sale. They offer ebooks and 'how to's' for a dollar or two and diversify into mentoring and offering training. Non-intrusive ad's can also generate income if placed carefully, but that circles back to 'is the blog capturing enough views and is it engaging enough'.

    Most people give up on their blog when it doesn't appear to be 'working' after a few months. But that thing needs constant attention, constant updating and new, interesting content every week if its every likely to work for you. It's a struggle, just like everything in a writers life!
     
  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    for my money it probably works for non fiction but I'm not sure the magnet -> list -> newsletters -> sales thing works as well as is promoted for fiction authors
     
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  20. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    I think you need reasonably frequent releases to get the most out of a mailing list for sales; they might be better for releasing and promoting short stories than novels. According to one book I've read (on my currently uncharged Kindle but will dig out the title if you're interested) one reasonably common practice in genres with voracious readers is to team up with a ring of other authors and all promote each others' work - and either set up an affiliate system so you get a % of each sale or just bank when it's your book being pushed. 6 authors each doing 2 books a year means you've got something to promote every month.

    There are other uses for the mailing list as well - just keeping yourself in front of your audience is worth a lot. There's nothing quite like it for a launch-day sales spike.

    Also worth noting it doesn't have to cost a lot. With a bit of tech-savvy (or access to someone who has it), you can use something like Sendy paired with Amazon SES and send e-mails for peanuts.
     

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