Are You an Author who Blogs? You Should, and Here’s Why!
It wasn’t until recently that I optimized my website and book editing blog. I had always edited books part time while working in the corporate world full time—I was booked solid! No need for the additional traffic or a book editing blog, because word of mouth and referrals from printers and publishers kept me plenty busy.
But guess what? Now that I’m editing books and ghostwriting full time, I realized my online enterprise should be search-engine friendly. No more squandering my most valuable marketing tool. Time to optimize!
First Things First
It’s a lot like growing a garden. You can either ignore your site, or tend to it. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the water and sunshine your blog needs to draw visitors.
First, you need a website that works as hard as you do. Unless you are techy and familiar with websites, have your site professionally developed. I recommend WordPress. But WordPress is free, you might say. Yes, it is. But if you want to customize, optimize, add a blog, add sliders, add video, and make your site mobile friendly, then invest in a website developer who understands the needs of authors. I’ve referred several authors to my own website developer, SuburbanBuzz, largely because SuburbanBuzz is a boutique advertising and marketing firm, as well as a book publisher.
Optimizing your Blog
“Blog” is short for weblog. It’s an online home to articles you write about your backlist, current book writing projects, media, marketing, book signings, book clubs, musings and advice. It can be interactive if you have an open comment section and invite people to weigh in. But most importantly, your blog feeds the search engines.
You see, Google loves news and considers your blog to be news. Stagnate sites get you no where, but if you blog frequently and optimize your posts correctly, it helps you rank online. In other words, when someone searches for a topic, they will be more likely to find your blog.
Optimization is a science. It’s tricky and takes practice, but you can master the basics fairly easily with the tips below.
SEO Strategies from My Own Book Editing Blog
- Use Yoast or another SEO tool that guides and prompts your SEO efforts.
- Your web developer will know which optimization platform works best for your site.
- Choose a focus key word or key phrase for your blog post.
- Think like your audience and use a key word they will likely search for.
- Example: if you want people to find, say, your romance novel, then use the keyword romance novel or the key phrase read romance novels.
- Use the focus key word or phrase in the page title.
- To be effective, your page title should have enough length.
- Yoast or other SEO tools will prompt for the correct length.
- Your SEO title (title tag) should contain your focus keyword or key phrase.
- Title tags appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline.
- Title tags should briefly describe the page content.
- Use your focus keyword or key phrase in the first paragraph.
- Mention your focus keyword or phrase as close to the beginning of the paragraph as possible.
- Use your focus keyword in one or two subheadings.
- These heading tags are <h1> to <h6>—you choose the appropriate size.
- <h1> is recommended, but if it appears too large, you can use <h2> to <h3>.
- I almost always use <h3> because it aesthetically compliments my site.
- Add some internal links (backlinks) from other sites that point to your site.
- For instance, I include Gorham Printing—Editors We Recommend on some of my pages because Gorham recommends my services.
- Add some outbound links that point to pages on your site.
- Make sure the pages you link supplement your blog topic.
- Your prior blog posts are great outbound links.
- Write key-word rich posts.
- In other words, lightly sprinkle “romance novel” or “read romance novels” throughout your post.
- For instance, a sentence could say, “Do you like to read romance novels?” or “A romance novel is the perfect read while sipping hot chocolate on a cold winter night.”
- Don’t overdo it—adding your key word or key phrase too frequently actually hurts your SEO (that’s key word stuffing, and the search engines don’t like it).
- Use an effective slug—this is a term you’ll find on Yoast.
- Your slug becomes the exact URL address of your blog post page.
- Your slug should include your key word.
- Use a meta description that contains your focus keyword or key phrase.
- Make sure it is lengthy enough to be sufficient.
- Again, Yoast provides excellent prompts regarding meta description length.
- Use your key word or phrase as an alt attribute on at least one of your images.
- Use your own images or licensed images—do not grab images from the Internet. They are someone else’s intellectual property, and if the owner finds out and complains to Google, then you face fines or may even have your site taken down.
- Do the right thing and pay for a basic subscription at Graphicstock or some other low cost royalty-free service. Believe me, you’ll use a ton of images on your blog and throughout your website!
- Add enough text. An effective word count is at least 300 words per post.
- More words are better than less words.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but these SEO strategies will make sense once you begin optimizing your WordPress website with an SEO tool like Yoast. I populate and optimize websites and blogs for clients all the time, so let me know if I can help.
Questions? Comments? Weigh in or contact Melanie@melaniesaxtonmedia.com.