Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Newbie's Cornerstone to Setting up an Author's Platform

There’s the easy way and there’s the newbie way.  

If you are thinking about building toward your platform then you need to read on and avoid my mistakes and wasted hours. Firstly, what is an author's platform? I think Jane Friedman sums it up perfectly in this blog. A platform is who you will become; A proven authority making an impact to your target audience. 

A platform, like Rome, is not built in a day but the cornerstone of your future self starts here and now.

Pick your domain name

Picking your blog name is without doubt the hardest part of the process. Unless you are very fortunate, you will have to work hard to find a name to fulfill all of the naming criteria.

·       Keep it simple and easy to remember.
My first idea was “the writer, the runner, and the psychic wife” but it is not memorable and sounds like the first line of a joke.

·       Ensure the domain is available.
You can check by trying to go to the domain or at Go Daddy.

·       Check the name out on Blogger or WordPress
Be aware to redirect Blogger to your domain is free, but you have to upgrade at Wordpress. I selected Blogger.

·       Ensure the name is available on Twitter.

·       Ensure you can use the name elsewhere
Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr etc. I had a mix bag of luck but was able to fall back to adding “blog” to the end.

·       Make a good note of your many new passwords
I may have forgotten one or two.

I ignored the Google ad-word stats testing, not because I think it is wrong, it is sounded like excellent advice, but because when I finally filled my criteria I was exhausted and I didn't want my domain taken away by good advice.       

Buy Your Domain Names

This part is actually very easy and inexpensive ($12 a year) with Go-Daddy. Check out the cost packages, I found a 12-month with auto renew was the cheapest (per month).

Select your Blog Host & Theme

There are all kinds of interesting tools out there but I used Google Blogger.  I felt I had more control and options and the statistics are cool. I’m also sure Google will help you get to top of their searches.

For the theme, I got a photo of myself and I got a header\banner photo my daughter took of Bowen Island and I used them on all platforms – instantly I had a theme.

Twitter & Facebook … etc.

·        Create a Twitter account using the same pictures & link to domain

·        Create a Facebook page using the same pictures & link to domain—keep it separate from your personal Facebook page.

·         Create Wordpress, Pinterest, Disqus, and Tumblr so you can leave comments

Make it look good

I tweaked and played for hours, moving gadgets around (which are very easy to manage.) I found one down side to Blogger is you can only use the layout on the home page, so I felt it was a bit busy.

Add a blog

Following advice from Daily Blog Tip, I did the following:

·        Make it for my audience NOT you.

·        Make it concise and clear

·        Add a pretty picture

·        Share it with your other platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Tumblr)

Make a video to support this blog

Everyone loves a good video. I made a welcome video and my advice is:

·        Write script & practice before turning the camera on

·        Ensure anyone watching the video leaves with something:

·        A gift
·        A reason to come back
·        A piece of education

·        Smile but don’t freak anyone out

·        Lose the Wolverhampton accent

I did none of the above which is why there is no welcome video on my blog.

What next

Now I am going to reach out to the world. I am going to read blogs and leave what I hope are stimulating comments or tweets and I am going to follow interesting people. Make the font size 13pt.

I'd love to hear what the best advice you ever got when first setting up your platform?

My newbie mistakes:
·        I took hours making a web site and deleted it
·        I took hours making Wordpress blog and stopped using it
·        I made a Facebook page linked to my personal page and deleted it
·        I forgot some of the many passwords
·        I wrote a brilliant, insightful, and tremendously witty comment on another blog, but I forgot my Wordpress password and lost the comment.

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