Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Getting Your Name out There Part 2

Part 2 of 5
GOOGLING

You want your name to show up when someone searches for it on the internet, and the more places you have a presence on the web, the more likely your name will show up near the top of the list. I've heard that if you have interconnections, it puts you higher in the search engine hierarchy. You want to be found when someone searches for a subject relating to you, too, not just for your name. Periodically search for your own name and see how many of the results on the first page are actually you. The more the better.

There are articles, even courses, on how to move your name up with search engines if you want to dive whole hog into this. I'm happy if I show up on the first page, and ecstatic if I show up at the top. On Sunday, the whole first page was me on Google, 9 out of 11 on Bing, 8 out of 10 on Dogpile, and 9 of 11 on Yahoo. Take that, George Kaye (my main rival) So, Yahoo! Something's working.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

You may not want to, but I think you might have to use at least some social media. I don't think there's a way to avoid it.

BLOGGING - There are probably a million blogs now, but it's still a good way to get your name out there. You can blog on writing, on your life, on your interests, on anything, really. Visit some of your favorite blogs and see what works for you, what you can make work. Decide what draws you in because you can't write about something you're not interested in and make it fascinating.

Decide where to aim your blog. At writers? At readers? At friends and family? At complete strangers who don't know you and stumble across your blog?

Be sure and use the labels feature so someone can come across your blog when they google topics you've written about. If you're using another writer, say Lisa Scottoline, as a example of something, put her name in the label section of the blog. People who are searching for her will have an opportunity to check you out. I'm not sure if this feature exists on other blog sites, but blogger, or blogspot, which I use, makes it easy.

Other blogging topics: Book reviews and interviews are good. They'll draw fans of the books and authors you're using. The more popular and high profile the book and author, the more hits you'll get.

After you've blogged for awhile, maybe a few weeks or a few months if you're posting once a week, step back and reassess. Are you drawing in the readers you want to? If not, revisit your favorite blogs and try to see what you could improve, what they're doing that you're not. I love blogs with pictures so I try hard to find what I think are cute or interesting illustrations of my topics. Most of my pictures are from wiki commons and are in the public domain. Sometimes I can use photos that I've taken.

I also try to pose questions some readers might want to answer, or have opinions on.

Groups blogs are easier because you don't have the burden of making all the posts. This will also increase your reader base. Each blogger will draw in their friends and fans.

There are blogs about blogging and some of them give great advice. The most important thing you can do, after blogging regularly, they'll tell you, is to let someone know you've posted a new blog.

Do this on lists you belong to, Facebook, Twitter, or wherever you communicate online. It works better to try to engage people, too. You can post that you just blogged about mowing grass. Ho hum. Or you can ask people if they have solutions for grass problems. What do YOU do about weeds, bald patches where grass won't grow, shady lawns, lawn mowers that balk? Are riding or push mowers preferred? What's the best way to hang the hammock when you're done? You might get more visitors if you can prompt them to read the blog and, better yet, to comment on it.

Unfortunately, I get a lot of people who comment about my blog on Facebook, not on the blog. Each blog site has challenges to posting, it seems, for some people.

Once you have a book or a story out, you can draw readers in by saying you'll do a free giveaway to a random commenter. I count my commenters, have someone I know pick a number between one and the number, and do my giveaway to that person. IF I can locate their email address. Don't forget to tell people to leave an email address for a giveaway. Do as I say here, not as I've done.

HOW TO MAKE USE OF OTHER PEOPLE'S BLOGS

COMMENTING

Leave thoughtful comments and make sure your name is displayed. Leaving comments on other people's blogs will encourage them to leave comments on yours, that is, to visit and read it. This is part of the interconnections that will make you easier to find on the web. You can also become a follower of another blog in hopes they will follow you.

GUESTING

Almost everyone who runs a blog is delighted when someone wants to write a guest column. It gives them a day off. Some people solicit for guest bloggers and, for sure, respond to those. This is a golden opportunity. Other bloggers may draw admirable traffic that you'd like to get in on and you can offer and see if you'd be permitted to guest blog there. Be sure you blog about something relevant to that blog and clear your subject with the owner of that blog. Refer, of course, to your own blog or webpage discreetly somewhere if at all possible.

I have listed a few blogs I like to visit, ones I think are successful.

BLOG EXAMPLES

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