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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Article: Get More Value From Your Author Website

by Nina Davies

You already have a website; readers sign up for your newsletter; and you link to Amazon so visitors can rush off to buy your books. As a writer trying to build a following, are you getting the most out of your author website?

You can’t answer this question until you know how many people are visiting your site, where they come from, and what pages they visit on your site. This article will tell you how to do this for free using Google Analytics.

*** What is Google Analytics? ***

Google Analytics is a tool that lets you track visitor activity on your website. It is free, simple to install, and provides easy-to-read reports that will answer most of your questions about how people are reaching and using your site.

*** Why Should I use Google Analytics? ***

Information is power.

You can’t evaluate the effectiveness of your author website until you have some data to give meaning to your hunches. I’ll gives you three examples where data from Google Analytics can help you direct your marketing efforts.

** Is my brand effective?
You’ve decided on a brand and come up with a killer slogan. Is it working?

To answer this question you can use Google Analytics to review the key words that visitors are using to find your site. Not surprisingly, the top keywords used to find my site are “Nina Davies”. But visitors have also found my site using the following searches:

-Romantic suspense author
-Authors psychic romantic suspense

The first example makes sense, since I brand myself as a romantic suspense author. The second was a surprise since I’m not a paranormal writer, although one of my unpublished books features a psychic heroine. So far I’m satisfied that my branding is effective and I’m glad that no one is finding my site using searches such as “terrible writer”

** What type of sites should I guest-blog on?

Imagine you have two invitations to guest blog, but only time to do one. Which do you choose? Looking at data from your past guest-blogs can help you decide.

Using Google Analytics, you can find out exactly how many visitors arrived at your site from each of your guest blogs. You might find that you get most clicks when you blog on author sites in the same genre as you, or you might find that you get most clicks when you blog in far-flung and unusual places.

** Was that bookstore signing worth it?

Google Analytics also tracks the geographic origins of your website visitors. If you do a bookstore signing, you can determine whether website visitors from that locale increased before/during/after the signing. While this isn’t the only measure of a signings success, it provides another piece of evidence to help you decide how to spend your precious time.

These are only three examples of how Google Analytics can increase the effectiveness of your author marketing efforts. There are dozens more reports you can review, such as which pages on your site get the most traffic, which pages do most visitors leave from, etc, etc.

**** How Do I Get Started? ****

Your first step is to go to Google Analytics at and sign up for a free account.

To get the tracking started, you then need to paste some code into the pages of your website. Adding the code is quite simple. Whoever developed your website should be able to do it in ten minutes or less (perhaps a bit longer if many pages need to be edited). If you developed the site yourself, follow the instructions on Google.

Have fun with Google Analytics. You’ll be amazed at the information at your fingertips.


About the Author: Nina Davies is the author of two novels and the founder of AutoCrit Writing Center, home of the awesome AutoCrit Editing Wizard and an extensive Writing Advice Center.

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