To read my post about the Friday night meet & greet at Eroticon 2019, click here. For Part 1 of Saturday and Sunday talks, follow this link.
Anxious Writers Club
This informative workshop style talk was presented by Cara Thereon, Girl on the Net and Kayla Lords. One of the key pieces of insight I took away from Girl on the Net is to “catch waves of creativity when they appear.” Apparently GotN has 200-300 drafts that are on the go! Cara presented us the challenge to get up to 100 drafts, then start finishing drafts to publish them.
Kayla’s take is that “you can put your stuff out into the world, and you’ll be fine!” An important piece of advice is to always keep a notebook to list your ongoing ideas, as often one will come to you at a random time. Like, when you are in the shower for instance, or driving. The next snippet of wisdom was to just sit and write! Who cares if it’s seemingly ‘crap’ to you!
Whilst writing, it can help to change your surroundings and write in different places to help the flow of creativity from becoming stagnant. Moreover, there doesn’t always have to be a grand plan behind your writing. You can just say what pops into your head; (now that could be interesting!).
Another noteworthy point is that there are no original ideas. All ideas have been covered previously in some form. But you can add your unique perspective to whatever you say about a topic. The community is larger than Eroticon; something that GotN pointed out, so it’s important to network outside of this group of people too.
Lastly, if a topic really scares you, then the best thing may be to just not go there! You don’t have to share your opinion.
In terms of promoting your work, if you really dislike self-promotion, then ask someone to promote your content, and in return you can promote theirs. A way to overcome writer’s block and self-doubt is to fight the inner voice that speaks negatively to yourself. Instead, talk to yourself as a friend would, in a kind and nurturing way.
There really was a smorgasbord of great advice to take away in this talk. Thank you GotN, Cara and Kayla!
Looking at your blog with a critical eye
Molly and Michael presented the fourth session on Sunday, about looking at your blog with a critical eye. On a semi-regular basis, they recommend you log out of your site back-end and just look at the front-end, as a regular viewer would. The reason being is that WordPress shows you the ‘best version’ when you are logged in!
When you review your blog content, you need to check how it looks across different devices. Does it work well on a desktop but not so great on a mobile? Have you checked your site in different browsers? Not everyone uses Windows Edge, so check it in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera too.
How easy is it to find content? Do you have categories that are put into menus along the top of your home page? Are there monthly archives? Importantly, do you have a page that talks about you, and who you are? The blog speaks for itself, but readers want to know the person (or people) behind the content. Check your About Me page from time to time and update as necessary. You may have multiple characters you write about, so include little biographies about them too.
Try to ensure you have zero posts that are not categorised. Everything ought to fall into a primary category. Try not to use multiple categories for posts, as this can duplicate content on your site, depending on your layout.
For instance, I sometimes show a product like a dildo in a Sinful Sunday, and I have ticked both categories. Ideally though, I would just use the Sinful Sunday category and then tag it as a dildo. This is because people wanting to read about dildos may be a bit surprised to suddenly see images of them!
Finally, establish your niche. What do you want your blog to do? Try not to just focus on one thing, like only product reviews. But conversely, avoid not having enough focus. If you write a couple of posts for dozens of memes, it will appear that you are not showing what your blogging aim is. Do you want to educate people, or amuse them? Do you want to inspire them or get them hot and bothered?
I like to try and entertain readers with my reviews. To some extent, reviews can get a bit samey. You explain how a toy charges, operates and describe the vibrations et cetera, in the case of a rabbit, say. Then you describe how it made you feel and if you’d recommend it. You may suggest it to people with a completely different outlook from yours. You didn’t find it powerful enough; but they might like weak vibrations. We are all different after all. The toy will hopefully be body-safe (otherwise, why the heck are you testing it, right?!) and easy to clean.
Because I feel reviews can get a bit repetitive, I try to break up my content with some images and short stories also. I am not necessarily a great writer, and my ideas are somewhat limited. But if I can excite just one person, that is cool!
There is so much involved in blogging. More than I ever dreamed of when I started. I think I have very limited technical capabilities. But it doesn’t matter, because in the community there are so many people like Molly and Michael who have a tonne of knowledge and expertise. They will not bite if you reach out to them, and you can always thank them by donating a ‘coffee’ on their site.
Building your blog traffic
The final talk I went to was Girl on the Net’s Building Your Blog Traffic. To summarise, her advice is to:
- Write regular content.
- Promote your content.
- Measure its performance. Check a post’s views over a period, like 30 days or a quarter.
Google Analytics is probably the best tool to use. JetPack is not very comprehensive, as pointed out by GotN. You’ll probably find that less than 5% of your traffic comes via Twitter. To build your traffic you need to create the great content, attract new readers and make readers return!
In establishing links, new links to other sites are more valuable than repeat links to a handful of sites, as this expands your readership pool. Larger websites will offer more value than smaller ones to have your link on them. Deep links are recommended, as they take the reader to a specific area of your site. To get links on other sites, you can pitch ideas to mainstream outlets. Network with other bloggers and editors. Contact PR folks at companies. Use the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter.
When you write a new post, include an image, as well as internal links to other content on your site that is relevant. Have a ‘call-to-action,’ like a ‘click here to watch a video,’ and use appropriate keywords to maximise your SEO (search engine optimisation).
Analyse your bounce rate and exit rate. A lot of people will come to your homepage and look for two seconds, before hopping off to another site. Get them to stay! Aim to decrease your bounce and exit rates. Gradual changes make a huge difference.
Be strategic in optimising older posts. The results will not be instantaneous, but nothing worth having is gained overnight, hey?
This post is getting ridiculously long. There was loads of information in all these talks and the others I did not get to. That’s the only not-so-great thing about Eroticon; the talks overlap. Unless you go with two besties, you simply won’t be able to attend all the talks!
I am sure if you want more insight than what I have waffled on about here, then any of the speakers will be more than happy to point you to their content
Thanks for reading! 😊