Saturday, April 14, 2007

Google as Entertainment

While I'm still putting most of my effort into selling my novels the traditional way by sending manuscripts to agents and editors, I'm also seeing what can be accomplished in the web publishing area with my downloadable novel Emperor Dad. Believe me, this is a lot more complicated than packing up the query letter and samples and putting them in the mailbox. But it's also quite a diversion.

I have two main web presences: This blog, and HenryMelton.com which has been around quite a few years. Google has managed to become enter-twined with everything.

The blog, of course, is hosted on Blogger, which is one of Google's purchases. My original site is hosted on Prismnet.com, which bought out Illuminati Online, carrying my account along for the ride. But even there, I use Google Sitemaps to make sure that my website is properly indexed, and Google Analytics for reporting purposes. At least once a day, I click on the Google Analytics link to see how many hits are occurring on each place, and which are the most popular topics and pages. I know Mary Ann just loves to do the same on her sites as well. Be aware that we both click on that little map and marvel that someone in Bangalore or Stuttgart has come to take a look.

Google Analytics also shows me where my visitors link from. In this chart, I see that I've had a number of visits from the Twilight Folk. Gamers often come to my site, usually drawn by the short story Catacomb, which is available to read there. In fact, that one short story from 1985 has brought more traffic to my web sites than all other sources combined.

I also use Google Alerts to send me regular emails when new links to me or my stories show up on the Internet. I used to be the number one 'Henry Melton' out there, but depending on how the football season is going, another Austin resident sometimes takes the top spot.

My latest source of amusement is Google AdWords. Yes, I admit it. I've bought Google advertising to see if I can bring more traffic to my eBook. But whether it works or not, it's a fascinating game to construct alternate advertisements (in 70 characters or less) and match them with a list of keywords, and then tinker with the mix to see if I can capture more Impressions and Clicks. Since you can watch the statistics in near real time, it gets addicting to check the results, and add or delete a keyword. I've only been at it 24 hours now, so no sales yet, but I'll let you know if it works.

Unless Google comes out with another amusement to distract me.

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