Head On: The newsletter
Make your Web site a full-time marketing partner with tools that are
inexpensive-or-free and easy-to-use. Avoid some common costly errors.
On January 8, 2008 I gave a presentation on the
topic of "Web Presence for Writers" to the Society for Technical
Communications (STC) Houston chapter's monthly meeting. The focus was
on how writers can establish or enhance their presence on the Web. We
covered the importance of beginning with the end in mind, metaphors, accessibility
issues, and Google Analytics.
view the presentation, check out this on-the Web PowerPoint presentation:
best viewed with Internet Explorer. I use Firefox more often, but when
you are dealing with a Microsoft product, IE usually works better.
The newsletter is also available
from www.Hemmi.us as a .pdf file
which is considerably more printer friendly than the HTML version you
are reading now.
Writers today have an arsenal of free and easy-to-use tools that can enable
more effective marketing. A Web presence is a good thing! If you accept
that premise, then read on. Each month, I'll be covering some fundamentals
including the use of tools such as Google Analytics, and look at some
4 Domain name and Web host
Web media consultant / Servicios en Español
1) Easy - keep your domain name short and don't use symbols if you can
avoid them (e.g. "~-_".) The sight-impaired hate these. An extension
like ".com" is preferable to .ws, .na, .biz, etc. If your preferred
name isn't available (usually the case), try starting or ending it with
a regional identifier. For example, BookClub.com may be taken, but one
like "KatyBookClub.com" may be available. Be creative! Consider
getting an easy-to-remember foreign-language domain name.
2) Don't even think of using
a 'free' Web hosting package. It'll tarnish your image and nobody likes
their ads. Your pages will load slowly.
You can still spend less than $100 per year, have gigabytes of Web space,
and no ads.
3) Verify that your potential
Web host will satisfy your email, scripting, FTP, etc. requirements. Try
them for a month before committing to a contract. Web
hosts will not teach you how to program, so don't expect them to.
Sometimes they allocate very little disk space for each email box. Decide
whether you need many small email boxes or few large ones, and they will
generally accommodate you.
4) Do not choose a Web host
on price alone. During your trial period, avail yourself of their customer
support. If it's not good enough, move on. I've had good luck with hosts
who have "live chat" from which I get better results than email.
Phone support is spotty at best, depending on the knowledgeability of
the tech who answers the phone (when and if they do).
Don't settle for shoddy service, as there's a lot of competition for your
Inside This Issue
1) Choosing a domain name and Web host
2) Google Analytics
Authors Thumb Their Way to Fortune and Fame
This term describes the process of analyzing the behavior of visitors
to a Web site. See www.WebAnalyticsAssociation.org
The three most important metrics
relate to "Unique Visitors," "Visits/Sessions" &
"Page Views." Standardization across the industry is vital so
advertisers (you) know what they are paying for and increase the effectiveness
of their web sites, raising revenues and cutting marketing costs.
(ongoing monthly topic)
For the last few years, I've been dissatisfied with my various Web hosts'
reporting confusing and inconsistent measurements of my websites' activity
and popularity. I have embraced Google Analytics ("GA") which
offers a plenitude of statistics and rich reporting.
Old terms such as "hits"
(file requests) and "pages" (responses) have been replaced by
of more-meaningful measures of activity and effectiveness.
You can enjoy most of the benefits of GA without cost.
The user interface is much better as evidenced by the Google Analytics
("GA") dashboard. Clearly, Google understands the importance
of sleek uncluttered screens.
Getting started with Google Analytics
1) Log in and establish a free account. No credit card needed unless you
want to put a campaign together at this point.
2) Generate your site-unique
above the "</body>" tag. It takes about a minute.
Once these tasks are
done, Google can collect the statistics needed for analysis and reporting.
The top three metrics "Unique Visitors," "Visits/Sessions"
& "Page Views" are clearly reported.
A basic campaign consists of your maximum budget, keywords on which you
will bid, and negative keywords which can help filter out visitors who
are not likely interested in what you have to offer.
Keywords are terms that
visitors enter into a search engine (not just Google) to reach your site.
You don't want anyone to click on your ad that isn't a likely prospect
Negative keywords help save your ad dollars. For example, if you
sell cruises to Alaska, you don't want people who are searching for Tom
Cruise. "Tom" could be a negative keyword so that if someone
entered "Tom," they would not see your ad, and thus can't cost
You can also restrict your ads from running on certain days of the week,
or hours of the day. Regions can be excluded as well.
I've gone from this style of reporting on a Website's activity
to the sleek contemporary Google
With old-style reporting, my
Web host did not allow me to generate any reports easily. Copying the
data into Excel was cumbersome and the numbers were of limited value.
In contrast, GA empowers me to isolate, analyze and report on those visitor
behaviors. Now, I can fine tune my Web sites and spend my ad dollars well.
While I had reports before,
now I have a tool that will allow me to focus on what's important to each
site. Some of the sites I manage are extremely concerned with geography,
and others view the globe as their marketplace. While there's a lot of
focus on design, marketing should not be overlooked. Any changes to design
must take into account any potential impact on usability and effectiveness
P C O M I N G T O P I C S
Google Analytics (ongoing) detailed reporting options. There are
37 core reports; with drilldowns, your reporting options are too numerous
for any single article.
Organic vs. paid search engine results
Blogging - weigh the high cost with the benefits derived
How to design and implement an ad campaign.
How much should you pay for clicks? Target who you want to reach,
and exclude those you don't.
Alternatives and complements to Google Analytics. Yahoo, other Google
tools, and others.
Writers' resources for publishing and marketing.
Content Management Systems (CMS). Provide fast and easy updating
so you can keep your Web pages updated as often as you want with free and
near-free applications. The principal advantage is that to update your content,
you don't need much technical expertise since the formatting is predefined.
You can focus on the content rather than the mechanics. I especially like
this for my clients who have little technical expertise and don't want to
have to pay a consultant when they have minor updates to make. The difficulty
and expense of updating is the main reason pages get so stale.
New tools and trends in the world of writing. What's "Glassbook?"
Heard on the Web
Japanese writers thumb their
way to fame and fortune! Banzai!
Andy X. Nguyen
Web Language Translation Specialist
Five of the top 10 best-selling novels in Japan last year began as novels
written on cellular phones, mostly composed on keypads by young women
and read by others on their cell phones, the New York Times reported.
Long commutes give many people a lot of time when they can use a cell
phone instead of a personal computer. This led to a rise in text messaging
and these messages evolved into short stories that turned into books.
The most popular genre is the love story, usually with a diary-like feel
since they are usually from the first person POV. They feature streamlined
plots and character development, much like the popular Manga comic stories.
Would-be novelists are paid only if their novels are published and sold
as traditional books, not when readers access their works online, the
newspaper said. One such novel, ``If You,'' was the No. 5 best-selling
novel last year with 400,000 copies, the Times said, citing book distributor
Tohan of Tokyo.
Wikipedia reports the average chapter is only 70 words long.
It takes some getting used to. Only a few lines pop up at a time because
the phone screen is about half the size of a business card.
Improvements in the quality of liquid-crystal displays and features such
as automatic page-flipping, or scrolling, make the endeavor far more enjoyable
than you might think. For the writers, predictive text eliminates much
of the tedium.
GUNG HAY FAT CHOY
L I N K S O F
I N T E R E S T
www.stc.org - Society for Technical Communication
www.sacredcodes.com/cz.htm - Chinese Zodiac calculator
www.Hemmi.us - the Web and beyond: office and WEB solutions
www.LuLu.com - self publishing
Xuni.com - Websites for authors
BestWebForms.com - php scripts
for contact forms and more
T H E L A S T W
O R D
Good Web design, great products
and/or services and effective marketing all go hand-in-hand. Ignore
any element, and you may be disappointed in what your website does for
you. It's tough being the author, promoter, manager, and still having
Your website should never
stop you from promoting yourself at book fairs, signings, conventions.
Preparing great query letters, working the markets, entering contests,
etc. are no less important now than ever.
Your website is a great tool,
but it's just one powerful weapon in your arsenal!