Selling on WordPress

A wee post about my experience here. I figure I’ve done some experimenting now, so allow me to pass on some experience.

Earning as a blogger, writer or artist is hard darned work. Look at how many blogs and websites litter the internet and then count how many famous bloggers you know who’ve made it big. How many fingers and or toes did you count? So for most of us, the best we can hope for is getting by. Maybe reach a minimum wage. To me, that’s not depressing. It just shows that I need to do more than a website to earn a living. Such as selling prints at local markets (more on alternative earning later).

You all know what I sell by now. Art prints on Etsy. Art prints and Tees on Threadless. Books on Amazon.

The Beginning 

Back in the early days of the blog when I first started selling I had a signature in my posts like this:

~

Patreon | Etsy | Kindle | SkillshareThreadless

I quite liked that. It was subtle. I had maybe a 1%-2% per view click rate. That’s pretty high. I’d say there was a 1% rate of purchase from that though. Ouch, right? That’s not good when you’re only making £1 a sale.

The Middle Bit

At some point, I switched over to a series of icons at the bottom of each post.

   

They looked a bit more visually appealing and fitted nicely at the bottom of the posts. They looked awful in WordPress reader though. They enjoyed a 2%-3% views to click rate and had about 6% sales from that 2%-3%. By this my point my blog was over 20,000 subscribers and it was turning into £100 a month or more.

The Recent Bit

I removed everything from the bottom of my posts and left the links at the top of my screen the only links to my wares. The click-through plummeted and died a death. I’m into the less than 1% view to click through here.

What happened? Well, most of my readership on site is WordPress bloggers. Most bloggers use WordPress reader to view websites. So advertising in sidebars, header banners or menus is never going to be seen, let alone clicked. If the adverts aren’t in the post, WordPress bloggers will never click them.

Sales links in blog posts hurt Google ranks

It really does. Google isn’t stupid. If you include the same links in every post you make, Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other search engines assume you’re an advert/bot farm website. They then actively push you down the search rankings. So what can you do?

Make a sale posts

Uuuuruurururuhghgh! Arreeghghgghgh! Nooooooooooooooo!

But they work…

An experiment follows with my recent books. Grey Moon and Seeking Hydra. When I released Hydra, I posted here daily about it being free for five days to readers. Asking people, please leave me a review. Hundreds of copies were taken for free. 10-20 copies paid for. Then I had a roll for a month or two where I sold one or two a day. It picked up 20 Amazon reviews (UK, USA and other) and did OK on Good Reads.

Contrast that with Grey Moon. I posted about it twice before and twice during the first five days of it being free. I gave away maybe 50 copies. Sold 8 copies. Then it died a death immediately after. I think I’ve sold 5 copies since. It has four reviews on Amazon.com and 3 on Amazon.co.uk. For all the effort I put into Grey Moon, it tanked.

(Click here to see Amazon.com review figures)

To follow that up, when I advertise a new Threadless tee, I get the most sales off the post I make about it. The has been shown with Walker and Terror-Dactyl.

So, yes, sales posts do work and are needed, even with freebies. The drawback? If you do a sales post every day, you’re gonna piss your readers off. The flip side of that is that when I have mentioned sales posts here before, the response is always “if you don’t tell us about your products, we don’t know they exist.”

Two more Fears Fears…

I have two other problems I need to address myself with sales. First, I don’t push products past the initial release. Like seriously, I launch a product, then never mention it again. What the crap?

My other issue is that I’m a terrible artist. I write awful. My spelling and grammar are poor. How can I possibly ask people to give me money for my rubbish?… What did you say? Imposter syndrome? Me? Well, I don’t think so mis…. Oh… Crap… Yes, you may be right…

I need to address both of those points, don’t I?

What will I do?

I will be giving more focus to other platforms and not be spending all my time on WordPress. Bluntly, there’s only so much marketing you can do on a blog. Post too many sales posts and you’ll annoy everyone, yourself included. Twitter and Instagram have a bit more leeway there. Even Tumblr you can post more frequently than WordPress. I’ve said I was going to spread myself out more a thousand times and I never do. Now, after my six-month long house sale has fallen through, I need the income. I need to sell. Twitter and Instagram, here I come. Though don’t talk to me about Facebook…

I will also try and do a weekly sales post on the blog. An entire post a week dedicated to something I am selling. Maybe explain or show the process of what I did to create the product. It doesn’t have to be all sell, sell, sell right? But it needs to be something. Posts dedicated to products work.

image of little fears presents spiders book 3, a book of flash fiction and short stories

The Alternative

The other thing to do is find alternative incomes in the real world. I adore the internet in all its messy, troll-filled, poorly spelt and grammarededy ways. But I’ve always felt I need real-world incomes too.

A market stall with my art prints on for example. This time I want to take books with me too. I recall seeing Emily with a pile of self-published books behind her sofa. A quick search only shows cats on her sofa, but imagine that sofa with a pile of books behind it. That’s what I need to do. Get a small print run of the Little Fears books and take them with me to a craft market along with my art prints. You get the idea.

What do you do?

Ooo, look at that. Ending a post on a question. How very professional blogger of me. So how do you feel about marketing on a WordPress blog? Have you tried different methods? Let me know in comments.

Fearstagram

You noticed I have sorted out my Instagram game right? I have flip-flopped on Instagram for ages. This last month I have finally started to dedicate a small amount of time each day to pruning my Instagram feed. It now looks more consistent, a lot of fluff posts have been removed and the following is growing with it. I’m up about 1,000 followers this month. I think that’s good. All my posts get plenty of interaction too. I need to reduce my hashtag usage but otherwise, I’m doing alright there.

This website will always be my main home for the Fears. But I have learned repeatedly that I need to spread myself a little across the net. The days my websites down my income from the Fears stops dead. Medium, Ello, Twitter and Instagram are my favourite social networks. You can say hello to me here:

Ello.co ~ @littlefears
Instagram ~ @little.fears
Medium ~ @littlefears
Twitter ~ @thelittlefears

And now a free course and a premium course for you to try on Skillshare. The first course is free. Completely free. Follow the link, sign up, and go to the course page. Skillshare is just a learning platform that hosts free and premium courses. Skillshare premium costs 0.99$ for 2 months and gives you access to thousands of courses on hundreds of subjects.

The Creative Entrepreneur’s Toolbox: Interviews that Inspire

In this non-traditional class, you’ll gain access to a series of interviews that cover essential topics for the creative entrepreneur like marketing, design, and branding. These interviews were originally part of an initiative called The Board,  which is a group of 100 creators that are working together to redefine the K-Swiss brand.

Blogger Natalie Suarez sits down with some top creative entrepreneurs to go through their experience building their businesses. You’ll learn from:

  • Sharmadean Reid, founder of WAH Nails over in London, will provide some pointers on developing your business plan.
  • Scott Sasso, founder of 10Deep here in New York, will speak on brand positioning, which will allow your consumers to distinguish your brand/business from everybody else.
  • Tyler Gage and Dan Mccombie – founders of Runa Tea, a tea company supporting indigenous farmers in the Amazon. They’ll give some tips on building community and conscience into your business.
  • The Fat Jewish, everyone’s favourite Instagrammer, who gives some insight on social media strategy and how you can leverage today’s platforms to build your brand.
  • Rachel Wang, fashion director of Allure Magazine, speaks on the importance of your lookbook and Brand Imagery as a product company.
  • Jeff Staple provides tips on telling a story through your products.

Course Link: http://skl.sh/2AWgzUD

 

Analytics & Authenticity on Instagram: Crafting Your Digital Presence

Make yourself known on Instagram with this 45-minute class with designer and illustrator Sophia Chang. You’ll follow along as Sophia walks you through how you can build your personal brand on Instagram — covering everything from photo editing to analytics and community engagement on her favorite platform.

You’ll start by identifying your own passions by category, then you’ll zero in on how to:

  • represent those passions through photography
  • engage the communities around them on Instagram
  • interact with them in a meaningful way
  • set goals for growing your following
  • track your growth through analytics

With tips on maintaining your authenticity throughout, this class is great for anyone looking to get their work or their personal brand out there in a creative, authentic way by leveraging the power of Instagram. By the end of this class, you’ll have your own perfectly crafted online presence to share.

Linky: http://skl.sh/2B4rMD8

 

Little Fears, Big Update; Old Lace

Stone me, this is a big update! You’re gonna need a cuppa tea for this one.

  1. Fawn
  2. Spider Dance
  3. Patreon Update
  4. Competition
  5. Inktober, Witchtober & Goretober
  6. Buttons
  7. Fenix for Esme
  8. Darn I’m bad at Pinterest
  9. Patreon Shoutouts

Fawn

The character at the top there is Fawn. Created as a horror character, the tale Magpies Eyes featured killer deer as a bit of a hangover. I needed her to look different from Deer from Deer Puns in the humorous stories. She walks on all fours and looks pretty ruddy menacing to me. Coloured this week to fit into the Colour Collectives, Old Lace theme.

Spider Dance

Spider Dance is back! Never been my best seller, indeed a long way behind Bird Walk, but it’s one of my fave art prints. There’s just something very cheerful about Spectre teaching the baby spiders to dance.

Spider Dance is available from $12 on my Threadless store; https://littlefears.threadless.com/

Patreon Update

patreon little fears

I have meant to add some incentives to Patreon for yonks. I’m hoping to add unique art prints monthly to high pledgers. It may have to wait until I have moved to Scotland and I am settled, I need my printer, proper inks and paper to do it justice. Blah! Until then though, I have a different idea. If any of you fine people pledge $10 a month or more, I shall give you a shout out, adding your name and a link to your website to the bottom of the weekly update posts. Not sure how that works? I’ve added the $1 & $2 supporters to the bottom of this post as a demonstration.

You can support me on Patreon by visiting my page here: https://www.patreon.com/littlefears

Competition

Yup, Lucy again. As you know, I do a fair lick of PR work freelance. In 17 years, I have had a hand in running three competitions. One I ran on Facebook when Like/Share comps were legal. One pairing up with a DVD launch which my colleague signed off without asking me first. Hoo, boy did that backfire. One was with a magazine. I ‘m not big on competitions, but I learned something from each.

Next week I will be running a contest to win an A4 art print of my favourite nefarious lady, Lucy. The intention is to discover how much interest a competition will generate for the Little Fears website. After I have a winner I shall furnish them with a copy of Lucy, then do a Monday blog post detailing the method, website stats and increase in traffic and earnings I may or may not receive. Keep an eye out next week for how to enter.

Inktober, Witchtober & Goretober

I have a problem with my doodles. They’re rarely consistent. I have trouble drawing the same character the same twice in a row. I believe I am good at conveying an idea or image in ink, but my technical abilities are quite clearly piss poor. So this October, I am entering all three of the most known draw-a-thons with the idea of building a more consistent style across a couple of characters and scene style.  I’ll only be posting them on Twitter and Instagram. With a few in the weekly updates on the blog. So if you want to follow along on my themes, say hello to me on social media.

Twitter: @TheLittleFears
Instagram: Little.Fears

Interested in joining? By all means, please do share links below to your Twitter, Instagram or other Inktober posting outlets in the comments section below. We can come over and harass, like, and retweet your Inktober submissions.

New to Inktober? Some advice, post in full on Twitter and Instagram if you’re on the platforms. Don’t auto-share because you won’t get anywhere near the attention you should. Nobody retweets Inktobers that are just links to your Instagram account.

For Inktober I am going to practise scenes. Such as Spider Dance above.

For Witchtober I shall be drawing 31 Yuffie’s. Our resident necromancer is the right character for this, and I struggle to get her hat right each time I doodle her.

As an aside, if I notice anyone bitching about young girls drawing witches for Inktober, I will unfollow you. Last year there was a tiny minority of men spitting venom at young girls on Twitter. It came across as poncy old men, bitter that 12-year-old girls could draw better than they ever could. Man, they were noisy and man they were nasty.

Goretober has no official list that I have seen, so I shall be drawing the nefarious Lucy in Indian Red doing evil deeds each day. She’s usually pretty curvy and it would help me practice getting longer lines smoother.

I did nobble myself some new art supplies for the month of course.

Click the image to blow it up. The assembled stationary consists of:

Posca Paint Pens
Zig Art & Graphic Twin
Faber Castell PITT artist pen
Daler Rowney Sketchbook

Buttons

Have you seen my new buttons? They look the bee’s knees, don’t they!

   

I keep getting told, and my stats show me, a lot of WordPress readers never visit my site. Folk read the flash fiction without even opening my blog post because it’s short enough to read in the preview. I then get asked where folk can buy my books and art prints. The cute buttons are in the hope someone might see and click them from my post snippets.

Some of you asked about the tip jar PayPal button. There is a way of creating a donations button in the PayPal account settings. I believe you’re limited to raising $10,000 or less through that method if you’re not a charity (haha, like any of us will get that much!). The button looks hideous though. I created my button myself by setting up a zero priced ‘buy now’ page link and adding my image. You must be registered as a business on PayPal to do this. It’s one of those things everyone with a tip jar seems to do it differently.

Fenix for Esme

My avatars body. I’ve been telling Esme I would post him for a while heh. Never used him in any stories. He’s a short bodied, long-eared Spectre. I named him Fenix after the foxes.

Darn I’m bad at Pinterest

I’m kind of hot with social media, but holy snot bags I am not good at Pinterest. I usually try to have conversations on social media to build followings. I tried this week getting into Pinterest. After 30 comments, I hit a block to prevent spam. 30 ruddy comments and I hit a block! OK, maybe it’s because I use my Pinterest as a share and forget network. Time to edumacate me though aye.

A browse of Skillshare and I have found two premium courses by Peg Fitzpatrick and one free class by Raymond Baxter. The free course is completely free, just sign up, skip anything that asks you to pay, and navigate to Raymond’s course.

How to Create Amazing Pins for Pinterest

The first premium course from Peg. I figure I’ll do this one first as I know my pins themselves need work. The shape of my images is all wrong, and most have no description. She has 92% in reviews http://skl.sh/2xL1BlA

Pinterest Marketing 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs

The second premium course from Peg, a chuffing lot of reviews leaving her with 99%. About 2,100 students, certainly think that’s worth my time. I’ll let you know what I think when I finish. http://skl.sh/2xFrGTg

Boost traffic to your website with Pinterest

The free course from Raymond, three reviews at 100%. I’ll be taking Pegs courses myself, but I understand everyone cannot afford the Skillshare Premium subscription. This course is 100% free, no dodgy premium payment to unlock. Just sign up, skip anything that asks for money and take his course. http://skl.sh/2yciJly

Say hello to me on Pinterest at pinterest.com/littlefears

Patreon Shoutouts

If I pick up any $10 Patreons, you’ll be getting a special shout out each week in my Friday update posts like my current Patrons below.

Special thanks to my Patreons;

Susan of very-seriously.com
Denise of densietimmert.com
FireFaerie of  firefaeriefineart.co.uk
Sparrow of sparrow.global

Cheers!

Heatwaves

Something I have been playing with on social media this week. In all honesty, I think it works better as a square with my marks on and writing on. However, the below was for Twitter this week, during the UKs epic heatwave.

God above it’s been hot, but my old boss insisted on having the air con on full blast. It used to give me a headache it was so cold. May as well have been working in a refrigerator. A short 2 weeks later, I am back at home, trying to get back into the swing of freelance life.

I have an empty schedule work-wise, with an imminent move in a few weeks time. So if any of you fine folks have any work for me, from website logo design to book cover illustrations, give me a holla!

I am having quite the argument with Amazon about the release of my third book. I browsed quite a few self-publishing platforms a few months back. They are all notoriously bad when there’s a problem of their own doing. In this instance, they massively misprinted my third books demo copy. Getting them to confirm this isn’t going to happen on release has been a pain in the arse. Anyone waiting for the third book, sorry, it may not be released this month as intended.

If you want to purchase my first or second books, you can grab them at the links below.

January USA – $15.54   /   January UK – £12.00

Capricorn USA – $15.54   /   Capricorn UK – £12.00

 

Day Jobs

As many of you know, I’m planning a house move in the coming months. I got offered a few weeks consultancy at my old firm and took the opportunity to boost my income for a few weeks. I’m actually enjoying it. With the knowledge that it’s temporary, I can relax more about my commute. I don’t start until 10 am and I leave at 5 pm. My relationship has changed with everyone there too. It’s easier stepping back in 6 months after leaving for a couple of weeks than it was seeing the same people in the daily grind.

Attack of the killer day job. A short life event where the hero will survive.

In the meantime, I have stopped pushing the Little Fears a touch and gone looking on Skillshare for some marketing courses to use a lil info from when I finish at the day job and get back into writing.

Storytelling Basics: How Creatives and Brands Can Build a Following

The first one I tried was a course by Stephanie Pereira from Kickstarter. This is a free course and it’s not bad. She discusses defining your audience and finding them on the net. Something I often forget. I certainly need to look out for reading and writing communities other than those on WordPress.

Instagram Best Practices: Grow Your Community, Work with Brands

The second course I watched was by Tyson Wheatley, a well-known photographer on Instagram. It’s premium, but if you pay as little as $0.99 you get 3 months full access to every course on Skillshare. The guy knows his stuff. He covers apps to use to edit photos, creating a synergy between your images and growing your following.

Instagram is a bit of a sticking point for me. I have nearly 1300 followers there, but I do not post daily and I am always unsure of the best way to link posts there back to the LittleFears.co.uk home. Growing the community isn’t the problem for me there, it’s what to do with it when I have it. I shall be trying a few more courses before the week is out. Would be nice to have a fresh plan for when I return to the Fears next week.