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