It is often said that, nowadays, it’s not enough being just an author: you also have to be a marketeer. Traditional publishing houses take into account how many followers you have on your Facebook page and Twitter account before giving you an offer, and self-publishing relies entirely on how much work you’re willing to put in in order to promote your novel. One thing is certain: the ideal of the bohemian writer who spends their whole lives devoted to their craft, leaving the less savoury aspects of the business to their agents, is long gone.
Hopefully, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. This means that the author has more power to go out of their way in order to engage their audience, and that the connection between the author and their fans is much stronger than it ever has been before. The old distinction between idols and fans has been lost: what we have now are communities where writers and readers discuss their favourite books on a number of channels.
Needless to say, every author should have at least a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and, if possible, an Instagram account—I have already written about the joys of bookstagram. If you’re wondering what mine are, here you go!
Needless to say, having a main website is crucial. Whether it is a blog or some landing page where you talk about your books, you need to have some way of letting your potential readers know about your work when they enter your name or the title of your novel on a search engine. You simply can’t afford to not have a presence online.
Many of us have a WordPress page. I am quite happy with it: it allows me to have a portfolio (the links above the logo in this website) as well as write regular blog posts and engage with people with similar interests. There are many other options, such as Blogger or Wix, but that is not what I want to talk about today.
Today, I want to talk about that little tool that everyone more or less knows and everyone more or less dreads: Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is the perfect way of knowing who your audience is. It shows you how many people are visiting your website, how often, how much time they spend in there, what country they are from, what device they are using, what their age and gender is, and so much more. It also allows you to compare performance between different date ranges, so you can measure whether a different blog design change or some other variation is affecting your traffic and conversions, enabling you to adapt to any situation.
Why would you want to know any of this? Let’s say you’re planning a campaign on Facebook ads. This allows you to target your ad at a certain segment of the population (let’s say, people between 15 and 25 from the United Kingdom who have an interest in books). But is that your audience? Are those the people who are clicking on your ‘purchase’ button? Maybe your real audience is actually 25 to 45 years old from the United States who are into new technologies. If you don’t know this, you may very well be wasting money that could otherwise be used more efficiently, getting you more transactions.
I would recommend taking a look at some tutorials on Google Analytics (there are plenty on Youtube, and I would also strongly recommend the ones in Lynda) to check whether Google Analytics can help you improve the performance of your website. At a time when we need to market ourselves to our own audiences, it really helps to get to know our audience better.
By the way: if you’re wondering how Google Analytics can be implemented into WordPress.com, you’ll need to have a business plan in order to get access to it. And if you want to give it a try before fully committing to it, you can use the Demo account, which grants you access to the statistics for Google’s merchandise store. That way, you can take a look at how this tool works and the kind of data you might be able to collect from it.
I hope this article was helpful! And if you liked, please don’t hesitate to pass it around and let people know about it 🙂