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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ask Google to Tell You Who You Are

by Kellyann Zuzulo
 ...doesn't mean you have to change anything about wonderful you. But depending on what a Google search on your name tells you, you may want to shift some things about World Wide Web you. Did your website come up on the first page of the search results?  Your Facebook profile?  Your twitter stream?

If you're an author--or have a service, product or creation that you want to share with others--it matters.  Readers can't find you if they don't know where to look.  Fret not.  This doesn't mean you have to change who you are or how you write, just how you tell people about it. Here are 5 sites where I recommend you list yourself:
  • Google +   Circle time for grown-ups. Google + is purported to be the hot new social networking site that could rival Facebook.  Oy.  Not another Facebook account to manage.  But I dutifully opened my account this week and have started circles and joined circles of like-minded or interesting folk.  I'm actually enjoying navigating the stream; very intuitive and not much of a time commitment.  Still haven't figured out how it's different from Facebook, but while I do, my meta data is shuttling further into the world wide universe.
  • Yahoo I happen to have a Yahoo-supported website that's been a great source of traffic for me.  I pay about $120 a year for Yahoo web hosting.  There are cheaper options (I hear GoDaddy does a pretty good job), but Yahoo has been good for my search engine optimization because they're Yahoo and I'm a client, so I get my "brand" into their search results.
  • Facebook  If you don't have a Facebook profile or page, get one.  I haven't developed an author page yet, but I will before my next book comes out.  Facebook does a great job of linking back to your blog.  Once again, because it's Facebook, we're talking access in the millions. This site will come up in the first page of a search somebody does on you.
  • Networked Blogs: I've only just linked to this little wizard of a widget myself.  Do me a favor and drop by my blog and leave your information in the Networked Blogs section, so I can see if it's working...and so I can network back to you. *wink*
  • Start a twitter account, if you haven't already.  Most blogs and websites you develop will offer a widget to show your twitter stream.  Just a tweet a day, a retweet of someone you follow, or a link to an interesting tidbit will do the trick. Don't be discouraged if you accumulate followers slowly.  Accumulate is the key word and that takes time.
Visit other literary sites like She Writes, Red Room, Authors Den. Open an account (free), drop in your author photo or book cover and the little bio that you've developed for just such an occasion.  Five sentences max.  You do have one, don't you?  I haven't visited some of these sites in a genie's age, and yet they all come up in the first couple of pages of a Google search on my name. 

And if you're breaking out in a sweat because this all seems too overwhelming.  Lift your fingers from the keyboard.  Take a deep breath.  It'll be fine.  Just leave a comment on an existing blog that has a steady following.  Like Pop Culture Divas, for example.  Include your website when you do so.  Time and search engines have a way of accumulating the data trail we leave on the web.  (This trail also means you should be conscious of what you write.  Be professional.  Be generous.)

Narcissus gazes at his reflection [John Williams: artist]

Yes, it all seems narcissistic.  That's because it is.  An author wants people to read their words. Look at your reflection in the Google stream.  What do you see?

And what sites do you visit that you find to reflect back very nicely?  Dish, please.  After all, sharing is what it's all about.

Best Wishes,
you can find me at twitter most days
and on LinkedIn
and on my WordPress blog (which is linked to my Yahoo site, but which I've yet to link to a Facebook page)

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