Getting readers means luring web visits

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Publishers expect any writer to maintain and feed a website. Even Stephen King has this task on his to-do list, although he’s got an assistant to do the work. Your website may represent many hours of work to stock it with content — I call it feeding. There’s a handful of things you can practice to get readers looking at your site more often. These visits generate interest in your work (agents), evidence of your craft, plus sales if your book is published. Jane Friedman of Writer’s Digest posted a nice roundup of the fundamentals of driving traffic to a site. Among her suggestions on There Are No Rules:

I’m a strong believer in the breadcrumb method, where you have accounts on multiple community sites. That’s because you never know how people might find you, and the more doorways you have leading to your site, the more traffic you will get over time. Even if you’re not active or devoted to a particular community site or social media channel, you can still appear to be active if you adjust the settings in your favor.

I’ve got accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Friedman lists what she calls “well-worn” devices to attract traffic. They’re well-worn because they work.

  1. Comment on other people’s blogs. Virtually all comment systems ask you to leave your name and site URL. If you leave valuable comments, people may visit your site.
  2. Link to other people’s blogs frequently and meaningfully. If you link to someone, and you send them significant traffic, they’re going to notice! They might link to you one day, or pay attention to your work if you’re within the same community.
  3. Add your website’s address to your e-mail signature, business card, book, etc.
  4. Offer guest posts on sites/blogs with more traffic than your own.
  5. Be active on relevant community sites, which can interest people in what you’re doing, which can lead to visits to your site/blog.
  6. Ask for a link trade, where others agree to permanently link to your site/blog in their blogroll, and you return the favor on your own site. (This is by far a less popular method nowadays; it’s pushy and can damage credibility if you don’t believe in the links you’re sharing. Better for this to happen naturally, over time.)
  7. Be active across social media and alert people when you have a new post. (And/or make sure your URL is clearly listed on every social media profile.)
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