Archive for the 'Search Engine Optimization' Category

Apr 30 2017

A professional side-project!

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

I’ve designed a website for a PPC company. PPC Seven is a Chicago agency that manages pay-per-click advertising.

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Mar 13 2009

Site Tweak of the Week

Site titles play an important role in search engine optimization.  A site named “Superhero Nation: a writing advice site” has a much better chance to place for a search like superhero writing advice than a site named just “Superhero Nation.”  Site titles also helps draw people into your website by explaining what viewers will get out of your website.

For example, check out how a typical search for Superhero Nation appears on Google.  The site name plays more prominently than the name of the article does.

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Apr 13 2008

Organizing a Web-Site

Seth Godin had an interesting, brief post on organization. He finds that alphabetical order is not the best way to organize most things– he argues that relevance is a better measure of organization than arbitrary letter rankings.

I think that applies to sites as well. Most blogging platforms organize posts chronologically by default, but that’s a terrible way to organize information. If someone leaves and later returns, it will be virtually impossible for them to pick up where they left off. If you wanted to send an article you read yesterday to a friend, your only hope is to search through all the posts again. The only strength of chronological organization is that it’s relatively easy to tell when there’s an update.

Avinash at Occam’s Razor has a better approach: a site-map. He splits his articles into a few rational categories and then orders articles within those categories chronologically. That’s effective because it ties articles together in a logical way. If you liked his first article on web analytics, you can run down the list and find ten more in a row. Avinash’s site-map wisely includes dates. That, too, is effective because it helps readers quickly identify if there have been updates and where they can be found.

I like Superhero Nation’s organization– a combination of widgets and chronological ordering– but that clearly pales before a real map. If you look at the widget on the left labelled “Writing About Superheroes,” you can see that we’ve only included links to six articles there and then added a link to a map for our superhero writing articles. Widgets are a great start, but they will probably grow inadequate as you accumulate content. How many widget-links can you use before people’s eyes glaze over? Probably 20, at most. But we have 500 posts (including 120 quotes of the day and 60 articles on writing).

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Dec 10 2007

Preliminary Search Engine Optimization Results

10 days ago, I changed the title of one of my most popular articles from “Helping Girls Write Guys” toWriting Male Characters(I explained my reasoning here). I think that it’ll take 20 or so more days until I have conclusive information, but so far the article has tripled in unique hits over the past ~9.5 days compared to the 10 days before the change. I had anticipated some change, because my target audience is much more likely to use words like male/writing/characters than helping/girls/guys, but the magnitude of the leap surprised me.

Additionally, the article has become more effective. I suspect that the new title retains readers that click the Google link more effectively. “Writing Male Characters” is very straight-forward and serious; “Helping Girls Write Guys” doesn’t sound nearly as helpful.

  1. Before, the article bounced an unacceptably high ~60% of readers. That has dropped to 35%. My preliminary conclusion is that strong titles are critical to retaining readers.
  2. Including readers that bounce after a very short amount of time, the average time spent on the article has increased from two minutes to three. Excluding relatively unpopular articles that are skewed by a few devoted readers (three people spent an average of 30 minutes on one of mine), only my review of Soon I Will Be Invincible and my article on naming characters retain readers longer. And my SIWBI review is 4000 words long.
  3. With the exception of the main site at www.superheronation.com, more readers enter my site through this article than any other.

 

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Dec 05 2007

A few quick tips on encouraging traffic

  1. Post something every day. If you’re gungho enough to actually log on to your site every day, great. If not, write a few more posts than you need and set their timestamps so that they come out once a day. Having one post a day is vastly preferable to a few posts every few days.
    1. Daily posts encourages readers to check your site often. It also reminds your readers that you’re still alive and why they love coming back. (Right, guys?)
    2. Coming up with 7 posts each week is not too hard. I think we have 400 posts over the five months. Admittedly, we have a team of contributors, but to be fair I would venture to say that at least 200-250 of those are mine.
    3. If interested readers see that you haven’t updated in the past few days, they may stop coming. I loved Your Webcomic Can Still Be Saved but it hasn’t posted in quite some time. I no longer check it.
    4. Your readers won’t derive as much enjoyment from the second article as the first (diminishing returns). But it’s just as hard to write the second article as it is to write the first. From an economics standpoint, it makes more sense to stash the second article.
  2. Strategic post timing. I think the most popular time to browse the web is (for adults) around 5pm-8pm. It’s probably around 3-5 pm for students. Target your posts to just before your audience is likely to check.
  3. What should you post? That depends on what your site’s aim is. If you’re trying to market a novel, you can show your writing style with one-liners from your characters, strong scenes or a short conversation between two characters. Character profiles may be useful, particularly if your characters are fresh enough to draw us into the story.

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Dec 01 2007

Search Engine Optimization for Online Novels

This article describes some remotely technical details of search engine optimization, particularly for authors/novelists.

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