I am thrilled to welcome Brinda Berry to my Hammock. Okay. That’s SO not true. She plans to tip me out of it and send me skittering between blog and facebook and twitter to perform daring feats of connectivity. Our goal? Optimize my web presence; minimize the time required to build and maintain a professional presence. I hope to do everything she suggests. When (not if) I have questions, I’ll jump in and ask them.

And, now I turn the Hammock over to Brinda. Thunk. Ouch!


Brinda Berry is the author of The Waiting Booth, a YA fantasy published by Etopia Press. Currently working in higher education administration, she spends her days thinking of ways to improve education for college students. Brinda spends her nights devising exciting tales that involve teens who might be saving the world.

Brinda lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She has a BSE in English and French and a MEd in Learning Systems Technology. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality. Find Brinda :  FACEBOOK ,   TWITTER ,   WEBSITE/BLOG


by Brinda Berry

I recently met Gloria online through Sherry Isaac. Heck… I had just met Sherry, and she was already introducing me to someone else. That’s how we writers operate. We go above and beyond the normal person. (We’ve never claimed to be normal.) We go to ridiculous lengths because it’s all about paying it forward in the writing world.

Gloria has offered me the opportunity to guest on her blog with all kinds of fun advice on creating a social presence. Now, I can see your skepticism from here. “Fun?” you say. ” I don’t think so. AND we’re already pretty social. See how easily you met Gloria?”

I could tell that I liked Gloria from the first introduction, and I want her to know everything that I know. In the meantime, I am constantly learning from other people who are doing it well. When I say “it”, I’m referring to a web presence. So, we’ll start today with some little things that I feel make a big difference.

First, let’s talk about Gloria’s blog/website. I feel that the blog/website is the MOST important building blockfor your web presence. The look and feel of Gloria’s site is very nice. It’ssimple and organized. The page titles are clever. She has a great author
picture and bio. She also has the sharing social media icons at the bottom of
her pages for Facebook and Twitter. I noticed that she posted her last blog
link on her Facebook fan page.  I give her kudos for cosmetic appeal and easy navigation. 😉

Here are my observations:

1. Contact form or email link. What if an editor or agent would like to reach Gloria? My author friend Isis Rushdan has an agent who found her through her website. Gloria might add it to the “Who Me” page or  create a “Contact” page. If she places her email address on the page, she needs to disguise it from the spambots online. To do this, she will perhaps say, “Contact me at WriterGloria(at)host(dot)com. Please replace the words with the appropriate symbols.”

[First Q for Brinda from gjr was: Huh? What to you mean by “WriterGloria(at)…”. After Brinda explained, I knew I needed “Contact me: Gloria(at)gloriarichardwrites(dot)com. Please replace the words with the appropriate symbols.” Spambots ’round the net collectively groaned.]

2. Analytics. I’m a believer in measurement tools…ROI (Return On Investment). How can you know if you are improving things if you don’t have data to measure your efforts?  You might have friends tell you, “Wow, Gloria, your blog rocks!” BUT, I would also like to know that Gloria increases her blog readership from 10 readers a day to 100 readers…or maybe 1000 readers (let’s set high goals, right?). I’ll ask her to do something very easy for now. It will NOT track everything. Gloria uses WordPress, and I’ll ask her to privately document what her stats are as of NOW. Go Gloria- please print the page or write it down anddate it. 🙂  In WordPress, it’s called STATS in the menu on the left. Instructions are also at the end of this post.

3. QUESTION: Does Gloria automate the posting from her blog to Facebook and Twitter. Does she want this? I automate my posts to Twitter and to my Facebook author page AND my Facebook personal page. I do not automate my tweets on my Facebook page, but you can see my tweets in a box on my blog page.  These are my preferences, and I see that Gloria has her Twitter feed in a box on her blog (automated). Gloria can let me know what she does manually that she wishes to set up with an automatic feed.

So, these are some of my ideas to help Gloria improve her site. Now, here’s the part that helps me. If Gloria has NO CLUE on one of the above and needs help, she’ll respond to me that I need to write a technical blog post on her blog or mine at www.brindaberry.com/blog.html to explain. Yay! Then I know I have a tech topic to do.

I’m going to explain #2 on her blog today, and she can tell me if she needs any help with the other items listed above. Please note that I do not use WordPress for my author blog.  I can discuss other analytics (Blogger, Weebly, or Google) with more expertise since those are the ones I use.

Instructions for #2 : WordPress Stats

1. Login to your WordPress account and go to the Dashboard.

2. Here is a video showing how I login to a test account I made and
view the stats page. http://screencast.com/t/xn6GA7CotTOe

3. Note the information you see. This will tell you the number of
subscribers and traffic information. After a month or so, she can see if her
traffic is increasing. As for my own usage of analytics, I can look at the
history of my site over a month and see the days, pages, posts, etc. with the
most traffic. I can also see WHERE my traffic originates. I know if that person
came to me from a Twitter link or a blog post on another site. I will know if
these posts on Gloria’s site send traffic to my site. I won’t know who, but I
can look into my Google Analytics and tell the geographical location of a
visitor. For now, I’d like Gloria to know where she stands on traffic today and
start paying attention periodically to that information.

Well, this was fun. It’s very easy to look at someone else’s site and suggest. When Gloria is satisfied with her site, we’ll move on to other social tools.  I look forward to my friendship with Gloria. Saturday morning on Twitter, she pointed out someone to me who rocks a tagline, and I desperately need one. So, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Let’s do this thing!

THANKS, BRINDA! You spoke with such authority when you told me to check out my stats, I ALMOST left the page without saving the latest draft. I also had two edit windows open and closed the wrong one. Hmmm. Hope this doesn’t turn into two posts. Deletes and U-turns I can do.

And, now it’s time for questions. I DO have some. I will post them as comments and Brinda will answer on-line. If the answer to any question is topic-length Brinda will let us know when and where to anticipate the blog response. CHIME in! Ask your questions. When you see mine, you’ll lose any fear you may have of asking a dumb question. My most pressing question at the moment? Do Spambots have bellybuttons?