10 Ways to Increase Your Internet Traffic

One of the buzzwords you’ll often hear in the publishing industry is “platform.”

What is it? Why do you need it? And how can you build it?

A friend of mine wrote a fiction book a while back and asked if I could hook her up with a publisher. She’s a good writer, and with her personality I’m sure she could sell a few books. The unfortunate side however is that she doesn’t have a platform.

Regardless of how good your writing is, you need a platform to stand on if you want to be published and you want to sell books.

Traditionally, platforms were raised surfaces such as a stage or a pulpit where public speakers could be seen and heard. Television and radio opened the door for a new type of platform, and more recently the internet has taken center stage.

But here’s the thing. Having a website isn’t a platform. Having an audience is. Unless an author puts effort into his or her website, the readership won’t grow.

“If you build it they will come,” might have worked for Kevin Costner, but it’s not the rule of thumb when it comes to the internet.

The way I see it, a combination of hard work and talent are the best tools for establishing a strong platform.

If you’re not sure how to start building, take a look at these 10 ways to increase internet traffic:

1. Set up a blog, not a “website.” The difference is that blogs are updated often. Articles are archived on the site. The more often you write, the more often readers will return to your site. You can still feature your book in the sidebar and within the body of your posts.

2. Use social media to draw traffic to your blog. Set up a Facebook page and get yourself a twitter account. The idea is to send readers out to these platforms and then send them back again. Keep the traffic flowing from one to the other. This way if they forget to pop in at your blog, they might see a link on your Facebook page that reminds them to go there.

3. A mailing list is a must. If you don’t have one already, do that ASAP. You can start with a free service like www.feedburner.com. With a mailing list, your readers are notified each time you update your blog. You can also email them when a new book comes out. Mailing lists grow over time, so the sooner you can get it started the better.

4. Post interesting stuff. Give your readers information, entertain them, or humor them. If your website is boring they won’t sign up for your mailing list, and it’s unlikely they’ll even return.

5. Offer a free gift when people sign up for your mailing list. I’ve given away free eBooks. I’ve also seen bloggers offer a free printable for new subscribers.

6. Have a contest with a great prize. In order to enter, you can ask readers to sign up for your mailing list, share the post with their friends, or like your Facebook page, etc. If your blog is small, ask some friends to spread the news.

7. Create graphics for your posts that people want to share. There are websites like the dollar photo club that offer images for a buck. At $1 a post, you can’t go wrong. Be particular with the kinds of graphics you share. Some days I search for over an hour just to find the right image.

Put words on top of your graphics that make people want to click through to your website and then share these images on your other platforms.

8. Spend time crafting awesome titles. A good title can easily triple your traffic. Check out this post for some innovative ideas.

9. Share your link everywhere. Put it on your business cards, add it for your email signature, put it in your Facebook “about” section, etc. Put the blog out there every chance you get.

10. Network. Network. Network. – Visit other blogs and leave comments. Join up with linky parties like this one to drive traffic to your site. Approach bloggers with similar audiences and ask them if they take guest posts. Maybe you can blog on each other’s site? Maybe you could team up for a giveaway? Maybe you could write a series together? There are so many possibilities.

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