Which way do we direct traffic for the best long-term results?

the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes Diane McGyverWhile I’ve generally thought about this over the years, in the past two months, I’ve thought about it a lot.

  • In which direction do I direct traffic?
  • How many directions do I want that traffic to go?

We all have 24 hours in the day, and with busy lives – such as writing that next book – we want our time spent marketing our books to be efficient and effective. We get bonus points if we do one action for a book and it has a ripple effect for other times during the book’s life cycle and for our other books already published and books we will publish.

When it comes to book sales, when books are reduced to entice readers to buy, obviously, we want to direct traffic to the sale page, be that Amazon or another vender, so a click or two later, the book is sold.

But what about other times, when we want to do a simple share of the book and/or its information with the hope of someone buying it? And what about times we want potential readers to learn more about what we do and what we write in general with the hope they will one day buy a book?

This has me thinking long and hard about the many websites appearing in my radar these days.

For example, when I placed a promotional ad for Northern Survival with Awesome Gang (See warning about this site on my Promotional Sites page), the operators of this site suggested I complete an interview and share it with my readers to help promote the book.

After I submitted the interview, I asked myself: Why would I spend my time and my space on my social media platforms to send traffic to Awesome Gang to read my thoughts? Why wouldn’t I send them to my website, where they will not only read my thoughts today but see my past thoughts and my books and, if they like my material, follow me where long into the future, they’ll see what I’m doing? Better to do that instead of sending them to Awesome Gang where they’ll see that one interview frozen in time and nothing more…except what Awesome Gang has to offer.

This is exactly what Awesome Guy wants – for others to share news about them. It’s why they offer the free interview space.

Also, I ‘hired’ them to promote my book, not for me to promote them. My money should go towards them directing readers at my books and my site.

Northern SurvivalThis leads me to the many sites available that will host your book(s), where you can build a platform, giveaway copies (advanced copies, too) to readers. Sites like Book Funnel. I looked long and hard at these types of websites, including Book Sprout, in September, and they all led me to ask the same question: Why spend my limited time and energy sending potential readers to a site other than my website or an Amazon page where they can buy my book? Also, why would I split the directional sign and send traffic to both sites? Mine and one of those promotional sites.

An advantage to these sites, so I’ve read on these sites, is they put books in front of readers who would not otherwise see them. In truth, these sites have thousands of books listed and if a writer doesn’t direct a reader to their book, the reader has as much luck of stumbling upon the book as they do when searching for books to read on Amazon.

In my position, with an active blog that can perform many wonderful things, I don’t need Book Funnel, Book Sprout or a similar website. I can offer advanced copies in various forms, and I can have items on my website hidden from all viewers except those I want to gain access.

A few years ago, when I was secretary in our goat association, all the meeting minutes and information sheets for the groups’ eyes only were hidden behind a password. This is one of the lovely things about WordPress. I could do the same with a short story or novel: give access only to individuals I want to see it.

Directing traffic to sites such as Book Funnel can also cost money. I’ve seen ads on some of the promotional sites I’ve come in contact with that promoted free books on Book Funnel. This baffles me, and I can’t understand why good money is spent this way. Does it all boil down to getting reviews? It’s the only answer I keep returning to.

That said, I understand not everyone has access to what I have (I’ve 10 years of experience doing this and a good network), and some are just starting out and don’t have a solid platform. One of those sites may be a great foundation for them, but more than that is a waste of time and energy. A writer would need a round-about to direct traffic efficiently if they also promoted a website and social media accounts.

There are exceptions to this traffic rule. When I appear as a guest on someone’s website, it’s a two way street: They’re helping me by posting my guest post, so it is my obligation to help them promote their site and their work. I am happy to lift up and promote another author. It’s promoting a promotional site I hesitate to do.

Survival of the FittestI feel the same about social media. I don’t direct traffic to the McGyver business Facebook page. Instead, that page directs traffic to my blog and where my books are available to buy. It also sends traffic to pages of other authors I want to promote. That’s all that Facebook page does. This is why you won’t find the Facebook page link in my side bar: I don’t want to take people there. They’re already where I want them: at my blog.

The question we must ask ourselves is: Besides the vendor page where readers can click to buy, where do we want to send potential readers and those who want to learn more about your books? What site and more specifically, which page? Once you determine that, encourage all signs—both passive and active—to direct traffic there.

Of all the pages I have on the Internet, the one page I want to direct my traffic is the homepage of my McGyver website. It is a static page with the vital details I want to share. From there, reader can access my books, my blog, links to buy my books and information about me. There’s also a brief summary of what I’m doing this month. I keep the page short with the vital information I want to impart.

That’s my spiel on directing traffic and having more destinations than I care to travel.

Have you thought about this traffic jam? Do you find yourself sending potential readers in many directions to find your books and information about you, directions other than vendors that sell your book where you earn royalties?

PS: The covers of books not written by me in this post are written by authors I want to promote. Alice Walsh is a member of our writers’ group, but she was a published author long before she joined and I met her. Jacqui Murray is a writer I met in blogland. She has many books to her name, including “Survival of the Fittest”, the first book in the series.

3 thoughts on “Which way do we direct traffic for the best long-term results?

  1. Good post Diane. The aim is to get the focus on our writing and books without having to jump through hoops. I also have one author friend who does a lot of promos on bookfunnel. She said does it to get email addresses for her newsletter. She’s invited to join in her funnels but I’m as skeptical as you.

    • You’ve said it: we’re jumping through hoops. Many people have invented multiple hoops to jump through to entice writers to participate in their website. Those websites are out to generate business to make money. Sure, they like helping authors, but most wouldn’t do it if they weren’t making money.

      Newsletters are another one of those time-consuming things I tried but couldn’t justify. While we get direct contact with followers, how many followers open them? And once the newsletter is sent to those specific people, it’s done. Two weeks from now or two years from now, the time and effort put into that newsletter can’t be appreciated by new readers who stumble upon you.

      Whereas if they find your blog, they have access to posts from years ago. Depending on the set up, followers of the blog get the post directly in their inbox. Whereas only subscribers see the newsletter, everyone has access to the blog.

      That’s my opinion though, yet I know some authors swear by newsletters. If I did a newsletter, I wouldn’t blog.

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