Lola’s Advice: How to build your Online Presence

Posted March 7, 2016 by Lola in Lola's Advice / 32 Comments

Lola’s Advice is a monthly feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews, which will be posted on the first monday of the month. Lola’s Advice posts are usually how-to or tips type of posts. They are mainly aimed at authors, but I also try and show the blogger/ reader side of the topic I address. I share my knowledge or personal opinion on mostly book, authors, marketing and promotion related topics. I hope it’s helpful for authors and bloggers alike. Also even though it’s advice please understand that even if you follow all my advice it still won’t guarantee your book will be a success, but it hopefully will be helpful. I also believe that not everything works for each author, every author and book is different and different strategies work for different people. So please use whatever you want to or fits with your style. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

This post will be a bit of an overview post where I list what’s involved in building your online presence and some general tips. I will go more in depth in many of these topics in a later posts during this feature.

The Basics

  • Website. I think having a website is basically a must nowadays, although it is possible to do without if you really want to. Make sure you have an organized website where it’s easy for readers to find what they’re searching for. I would recommend to have at least a page with your books and an about me page where you post your author bio and links to your social media sites. I have encountered some author websites that were so confusing I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so make sure it’s easy to navigate is a must. For a good example of a great author website check out SJ Pajonas her website. Pajonas her website has a neat design and a clear menu on the top to easy navigate to what you want to know. The slide show shows you her books and below that you can find the latest posts on her blog. Links to her social media sites, buy links for her books and sign-up for her newsletter are all easy to locate.
  • Social Media Sites. Next step is to set up some social media accounts. As a reader and tour organizer the first way I look to connect with authors is on social media or has a newsletter. If an author isn’t on social media I will be less likely to stay in touch, not intentionally, but I spend time on social media and it’s a good way to stay in touch. If it’s an author I really want to stay up to date about I probably subscribe to their newsletter or follow on amazon so I know when they have a new book out. I would recommend to make at least one or two social media accounts. Pick those social media site that you like best or work best for you and focus on those, you don’t have to be everywhere and you can also focus on one social media site and only post the most important things on other sites. Figure out what social media sites work for you and make an account there.
  • Goodreads. Even if you don’t make an account on Goodreads your books will show up, but if you make an account there and/or claim your author page you have a more direct way of controlling what shows up there. Goodreads is a way for readers to find your books ad add them to their to-read list, but you can also use it as a social media site if you want to and use it as a way to interact with readers there. Or at the very least add your author bio, picture and links there, so you look like a real person and readers can find out more about you if they want.
  • Book Selling Sites. This one is pretty obvious if you want to sell your books, but I also think that having your books on book selling sites is a part of your online presence. If your books can be bought, they can be found through those sites as well and many sites like Amazon have logarithms in place to determine if your book is shows on other books pages as recommended reads or in top lists of your genre. And if your book lands in one of their top 100 lists that means more people hear about you and your book.
  • Newsletter or follow site option. It’s important to have a way for readers to keep up to date with new releases, giveaways etc. Either make a newsletter, which is what I recommend, or a way to follow your site, so they hear about new posts. I think the good thing about a newsletter is that you have more options to customize the information to send to your readers. If you have a blog it can be nice to offer both a newsletter that focuses on important stuff like new releases, giveaways and such and a follow your blog option so readers hear about everything you do post. Don’t send out too many newsletters and never add people to your newsletter who didn’t sign-up themselves.

What Next?

Once you have set up the basis for your online presence it’s time to make sure people know you’re online and to use that basis to establish your online presence.

  • Complete your profiles. I think this one is very important, after you have set up your accounts make sure your profiles are complete. If I see no picture, bio or any other information on a profile I probably will assume the author isn’t active there or only make an account for the sake of it. Set a custom picture, fill out the bio or about you section, add links where necessary and make sure your profiles seem alive and like there is a real person behind them by customizing your profile and making sure it’s complete.
  • Link to your other profiles when possible. Many social media sites offer an option to link to another sites. For example twitter has a place to link to your website, goodreads has a way to link to your website and twitter etc. Make use of these options and post your links there, who knows who will check out your account and finds another way to stay in touch thanks to those links? On your website make sure to link to all your social media profiles so readers know where to find you and connect with you.
  • Post. Make sure to post on your social media accounts and website. Post about what’s going in your life, what you’re working on, new releases, new reviews, anything else related to being an author or your books. Make sure to not have every post be about your books as that way you will seem as only trying to promote your own books, also post about other topics. Post regularly enough, so people know you are active and they can keep up to date about what’s happening.
  • Share/ retweet. Sharing and retweeting is a good way to connect with others online, let them see you appreciate or like their post and give your followers some new content to see too. If you see a funny picture, a saying you agree with, a well written post etc go hit that share or retweet button. Another good things about this can be that others return the favour and share and/or retweet your content.
  • Follow. Following others is an easy way to let them know you exist and are online. With some social media sites there is a limit to how many people you can follow or there’s a limit based on how many followers you have. So don’t follow anyone you see online, but follow those people who’s content you ant to see, authors who write in the same genre as you, reviewers who reviewed your book(s) etc.
  • Interact. Interact with other authors and readers. Reply when you see a topic you know something about. Join into a conversation when you can. Through interactions other people can get to know your. Do make sure not to be the pushy author who only jumps into conversation to promote their book, there is a time and place for that, but not every interacting has to be about that. And never comment on negative reviews of your books. Just don’t. If a reviewer who got a review copy of your book, you can thanks them politely for their time, but on social media and goodreads it’s best not to comment on negative reviews. Most bloggers and reviewers do appreciate retweets/ shares/ likes when they leave positive reviews of your book.
  • Giveaways. Giveaways are a great way to gather some new social media followers, let people know about you and spread the word about your newest book or upcoming release while you’re at it. Do make sure to follow the rules of the social media site(s) you use for your giveaway, rafflecopter has a great post that explains the facebook promotion guidelines. Giveaways are also a good way to reward your followers, gain new ones and have other help spread the word about your book(s).

Bloggers establishing online presence

For bloggers most of the same tips apply, although the only thing that’s different is that bloggers focus to promote their blog instead of their books. Also with blogs there are some additional ways to establish your online presence: commenting on other blogs, replying to comments, participating in memes, participating in reading challenges, doing guest posts on other blogs. So there are differences. With Lola’s Reviews I mainly focus on driving traffic to my blog through the following ways. I participate in some memes and reading challenges, now and then do guest posts on other blogs. I reply to comments on my own blog and comment back. I also try to be active on social media, but while I am good at sharing links to my posts I am less good at the interacting part, when I am busy that’s the first thing to go. I have individual twitter accounts and facebook pages for Lola’s Reviews and Lola’s Blog Tours, but I use my pinterest and google+ account for both. For Lola’s Blog Tours I mostly focus on building my tour host list and making sure authors know that I exist, this is more a passive instead of active way of promoting usually. I am mainly active on facebook and twitter where I promote my business, tours that are open for sign-up and tour stops and reviews when tours are running.

Authors and Bloggers how do you build your online presence? Any tips that I haven’t listed?


32 responses to “Lola’s Advice: How to build your Online Presence

  1. First off, I love this topic. I think both authors and bloggers can benefit from reading this post. And you’ve pretty much nailed the topic and covered everything. As a reader, I want to be able to easily navigate an author’s website–I don’t want to have to search through a bunch of random things to be able to find a list of books or recent/soon-to-be-released books. I want things labeled and organized. And want it to be updated. The same goes with the author’s social media sites and GoodRead accounts.

    As a blogger, I find that socializing is the key to building an online presence.Follow fellow bloggers on social media, visit their blogs, take part in challenges and read-alongs. Also, keep your social media updated and make sure your blogs are linked.
    Angela @Simply Angela recently posted…Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna by Maia ChanceMy Profile

    • Thanks so much! It can be hard to cover everything with such a broad topic as this, but I hoped I could give an author an overview of what’s involved. And yes I think having a clear author website where readers can easily find information about books is important. Keeping the site, social media and goodreads updated is a good point.

      Keeping up to date, socialize and connect with other bloggers seems to be the most important. And making sure ot link to other sites or social media’s where possible is such an easy and effective method to make sure people can find your other accounts. And doing challenges, memes and read-alongs now and then can really help too.

  2. Thanks for the post! I do a lot of these things, but my biggest trouble is with consistency. I don’t have very much time for blogging, and I’m bad at putzing when I do, but I’m trying to get better! Recently, I expanded my editing business to online and I’m looking for more writers to proofread and edit for. Do you have any tips for growing that business?

    • Consistency can help, but I think even without that you can run a successful blog. I’ve seen a few bloggers who post sporadic and go on a commenting spree when they have a post, so people know they have a new post. You can depend less

      Growing your online presence for your business works much the same as for authors, although for a few more specific tips I would recommend doing a few free or very cheap edits at first so you have your first few customers. Or give away a free edit or discounted. And a free sample is always a good idea too. I used most of those for my own business and had a good effect. And once you’ve done an edit for someone ask for a testimonial and add those to your site, they help build credibility. Also word of mouth, you can’t really control that as much, but make sure your customers are happy with your work and hope they recommend you to others. Word of mouth is very effective when it comes to a business like this.

      As you already have a blog you can also partly use that to build your business. Grow your blog and hopefully also more people will hear about your business, that’s more the slow exposure type of method. Like how I have my Lola’s Blog Tours banner in the top of my sidebar. I hope that answers your questions!

  3. I love this post and its so detailed….love all the things you mentioned. Many things here authors could learn from. I do think that interacting with other bloggers can increase a bloggers online presence. Commenting on blogs is probably the best way I have learned to increase my blog traffic and create a community of discussing books and make friendships.

    • Thanks so much! I tried to provide enough detail, so authors have a good idea where to start, so I am glad to hear that seemed to have the desired effect :).

      I think interaction in any way is the best way to increase a blogger’s online presence. When I started blogging I assumed the visitors would come to my blog eventually just by me posting things, but only later figured out how I had to interact with others, visits, participate in a meme or challenge now and then and replying and visiting back also proved valuable. I still think commenting on other blogs is one of the best ways to increase traffic and interaction. It creates friendships and makes me feel like I am part of the community.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to build your Online PresenceMy Profile

  4. I will once again give my two cents as a reader πŸ˜› I cannot understand it when authors don’t have websites. It’s even worse when they also don’t have a Goodreads and Amazon pages or only put in the barebones minimum and don’t have a picture or bio or any information! Especially if I’m on the fence about a book and am checking out the to try and find more info or look at their other books or see if they’re continuing the series, etc., it really bothers me and sometimes solidifies my decision to not read it.

    I suck at Twitter, but I still try to post links to my reviews there, and, if they’re 4 stars or higher, I tag the author. It does make me feel good when the author retweets or likes it because it shows me my review is appreciated. I especially love it when they reply to tell me my favorite character was also theirs or they’re glad I loved that scene I mentioned because it makes me feel more appreciated that they took the time to read and value my opinion. When authors are friendly, it makes me more inclined to try more of their books. And I’ve found new authors via Twitter because they followed me first, and I ended up buying their books.

    And I’ve definitely found new books because of giveaways. I browse the GR giveaways all the time. Even if I don’t win or even enter some of them, I still add books to my TBR that I otherwise wouldn’t have heard of.

    As for blogging, I think socializing is the best way to make your presence known. If you don’t comment on other blogs, especially in the beginning, no one will even know you exist!
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Cover Characteristics: Book Covers featuring HandsMy Profile

    • I agree those Goodreads and amazon are the place to tell a reader more about yourself, why only fill in the bare minimum? It’s such a small effort to fill in as much as possible, so you can get everything out of those pages. And I think a website is the perfect way to have on place with everything about you and your books, then again in some cases no website might be better than a bad or out of date website.

      I love twitter, but also suck at it. I should interact more on there. I do tweet my reviews, but I schedule those the week in advance. I never did the tag the publisher thing on twitter, but I am going to give it a try soon. It can’t hurt to get myself on their radar a bit more and show them when I reviewed one of their books. I do always tag the author in 4 star or higher review and sometimes for 3 stars reviews, depending on the review. It’s great to feel appreciated and have a author reply to your post or tweet πŸ™‚

      Giveaway are a great way to hear about new books. I haven’t won a goodreads giveaway either, but I do browse them now and then.

      And yes making sure other bloggers know about you through interacting and socializing is one of the best ways. I also found that reading challenges and memes can help too.
      Lola recently posted…Review: March by Audrey CarlanMy Profile

  5. Nice post Lola. Good tips… I like twitter but if time is short that’s the one that suffers. I like the immediacy of it though. Goodreads is another one I need to use more. I like the site, I just don’t check it enough…
    Greg recently posted…Cover Characteristics #18 HandsMy Profile

    • Same here, if time is short then the first thing is drop is interacting with others on twitter and facebook. And indeed the immediacy of twitter can be nice. I also like Goodreads, but only use it for reviewing and updating what I am reading nowadays.

  6. I admit I miss the good old time of the recluse author. There’s so much personal exposure to be done through social media, I find it overwhelming sometimes. In real life, I’m not much of a talker, and my circle of friends is strong, but small.
    Except for the newsletter (I’ll have to check how to get one organized. Can it be done for free???), I think I’m pretty much on top of all your advised requirements. Of course, I could do much better. I never know what to write in my blog for example, short of copying someone else’s good idea (most bloggers are fantastic with ideas!) and my website is done for free so it doesn’t have all the smarty bits a paid-for one would have.
    But I am trying. As a natural lurker, I have to push myself to post comments rather than think them in my head ;D

    • I guess there’s something to be said for the old time of the recluse author, the rise of online and social media definitely asks a lot of authors, it can feel like you have to be everywhere. Although I do find online interaction easier than in real life usually.

      Yes you can set-up a free newsletter or cheap. You can simply use a form and e-mail everyone on the list and there are programs like mailchimp you can use, which is free up to a certain number I think. And many e-mail providers also have something called campaigns where you can set-up a form and newsletter.

      I do think you do pretty well with your blog and have posted some interesting posts, it gives readers a bit of a feel for you, your writing and gives them something to read. And starting with a free website works fine, as long as it looks neat, which yours does. And you can always upgrade later if you want or buy your own domain name.

      And I know what you mean, I used to be a lurker too and still am in many places like social media, but the more I comment the more natural it becomes πŸ™‚

  7. One of my pet peeves is when I go to an author site to see when their next release is and it the site shows “coming soon” is a book that was released two years and three books ago. Authors, please keep your site up-to-date as possible. I understand that it is tough to keep up with everything, but the example I gave, I’ve seen. This particular author hadn’t posted a Facebook update in months. Didn’t us Twitter at all. There was no way for fans to have any idea of when they next book was coming out. That is a great way for fans to move on to the next author/series/book. We want to follow our favorite authors work, but if you make it impossible, we will move on. There are too many great authors out there. My TBR list is growing faster than I can ever read it.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Bitter Bite Audiobook by Jennifer Estep (REVIEW)My Profile

    • Yes keeping a site up to date is so important, if you don’t it might be better not to have a website at all. I’ve seen my share of those websites as well where the last post or coming soon was about a book that was already released.

      And if authors don’t let the public know about their latest books, how will anyone ever hear about it? It shouldn’t take too much effort to keep up to date about the latest releases as then yes readers will forget about that authors/ book/ series and read something else.

  8. I can’t really expand upon what you’ve posted here. These are things I do and agree with wholeheartedly. And it works.

    Something that I’ve noticed a few times both for bloggers and authors collaborating with other bloggers and authors to expose their established readers/followers to their collaborators and vice versa.

    Wonderful and practical post, Lola!
    Sophia Rose recently posted…He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker #ReviewMy Profile

    • Thanks Sophia! I tried to include most important points that I could think of.

      Collaborating with other bloggers or author sis a great one! I’ve seen some multi author box sets or even guest posts on other blogs or group giveaways that seem to work well. And for bloggers guest posts on other blogs or hosting challenges together. It’s a great way to expand your audience a bit and reach new people.

  9. Hi Lola

    Nice points. people like me, who believe in fame, they must have a website these days. To build a public figure, you need to be active in social media or you can say online presence is a must. I see nowadays most of the people are trying to register a domain with their own name, it’s good. Making your own brand is always good. Thanks for sharing, added some more ideas to my knowledge book.
    Sameer Panda recently posted…Best Social Media Promotion Sites + 6 Step Social Media StrategyMy Profile

    • Thanks! Having a website and being active on at least some social media is very important nowadays. And indeed it’s all part of branding and making sure peoepl know who you are.

  10. Firstly, I love “tips” post!! And YES to authors keeping their websites up-to-date. Many times I’ll find myself wondering what an author is up to (working on anything new, taking a break, etc.) only to find that their website hasn’t been updated in 3 years. Their newest book isn’t even mentioned on there!! As a blogger, it’s tough work promoting your own blog! I totally agree that it’s a great idea to collaborate with other bloggers- like Sophia said above me!! That’s a great idea πŸ™‚
    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books recently posted…I Love A Unique TitleMy Profile

    • Thanks! They are fun to write as well :). It’s such a simple thing, but from the comment I can gather that most bloggers find it very annoying when authors don’t keep their website up to date and it just makes me wonder why there are still authors who don’t do that.
      Promoting your own blog, business etc is hard work indeed. It takes a lot of time and effort. And collaboration is a great idea and often can help both bloggers.
      Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #170My Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.