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 Post subject: Just Some Suggestions To Boost Site Traffic...
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:43 am
Posts: 10
Hey, Steve (and Simon too) these are just some ideas for the site to make it more fun, visible, and exciting for its visitors and followers. These are ideas that I've seen on other sites and forums that get significant traffic.

Just let me preface that SRG already has a ready made fan base out there waiting to come and play. Steve, you and Simon, and whoever else is involved have to get the word out.

Now, I know that Jim Butcher is one of Simon's main contemporaries, and some might consider him Simon's rival, but Butcher's site has mad traffic, and followers that almost seem like zealots. People are weird like that, but I'm sure you're aware of that already. It's a good thing though. Jim has a community that he interacts with and betas his books before releases them, and personally, I think that makes his writing better.

Simon has always been a fun read to me. Sometimes he is a little formulaic, but I love Edgar Rice Burroughs, and he was formulaic as all get out, and even coped to being a pattern hack, but that didn't stop his success.

1st. The community has to be built. People have to interact and feel a part of something. The sight has to have a leader. Simon is the leader. The King. Steve, you're the de facto Prime Minister. However, Simon needs to get involved. He has to post now and then, and interact with his fans. Not to the point of distraction from his work, but doing so is an integral part of such a site as this. Butcher does that occasionally, he also does an infrequent podcast and blog, and releases free short stories on his sight. Fans will want to know Simon's opinions, his likes, and dislikes, his ideas for the future (circumspectly of course.) Speaking of the future, when he gets a few of his fans following his site, he might want to organize a little fan convention over in his neck of the woods so he can meet them and they can network in person.

2nd. Contests and Challenges for Prizes only the author can give. Signed one of a kinds. Signed books. Signed merchandise. Etceteras. Even meet Simon in person and have tea or whatever. Contests can include fan art, best character costumes, best fan fic (you have to be careful of this one, because someone might accuse Simon of stealing their story. Butcher does not allow fan-fic on his sight anymore, but then Orson Scott Card has a whole site that is based around teaching others to write, and even encourages fan-fic, of any genre as an exercise.) You could even have a contest for the best short parody, pastiche, or homage film done using some of Simon's characters. (Again, be careful of licensing rights. These should be projects that are campy and fun, and can be posted universally open on sites like YouTube or Metacafe.)

3rd. Merchandise-Merchandise-Merchandise!!! Sell things here, or post links to retailers you have made distribution deals with to sell for Simon. T-shirts, ball caps, mugs, posters, prints, keychains, action figures, replica swords and weapons, thong panties (knickers) that say on the front panel! "Deathstalker Does It With A Boost!", anything that will be fun and get the fans salivating. Simon has always had an irreverent sense of humor in his books. Use it. People who are true fans will expect it and love it. Also, art of the books, in conjunction with its creators should be available in some form. Even new art, or concept art that's never been seen or sold. Simon might even be able with his writer's cache to make deals with diverse artists for original art and split the profits of sales, and thereby fans could benefit by owning new media signed by the author and artist, or just a plain ol' print. Signed works are always at a premium anyway, right? ;)

4th. Simon, when he is promoting a new book, needs to mention that he has a site, and clearly give the address. His voice will do more than anybody else to get the word out. People ARE searching for him and his righting, but if they come to a dead ghost town of a site, they won't stay. Simon's presence has to be felt, here and out on the rest of the web, and in general media as well. He should do interviews on the site as well. Get feedback from the fans, and such.

5th. Eventually, a chat room might be fun. Fans can chat in real time (sort of, depending on the lag,) and Simon can show up and gab with his fans across cyber-space. Such appearances can even be scheduled like events, and prizes can be given out then as well.

Building a high traffic site is never easy, but there are rewards. Fun, friends, and fruitful endeavors are to be had by doing so. There will be the inevitable trolls and flamers, but that's what admins and mods are for. Moderators will have to be assigned as the site grows. That's just a fact of life on a busy forum. Rules should be set up for site conduct, or forums can get way out of hand, sometimes driving all the serious regulars away. I suggest reading the forum rules at:

Butcher's site: http://www.jimbutcheronline.com/bb/index.php/board,11.0.html

The Writer's Beat: http://www.writersbeat.com/faq.php,

Laurell K. Hamilton's FAQ: http://forum.laurellkhamilton.org/faq.php

Stephen King's Forum FAQ: http://www.stephenking.com/forums/faq.php

And Orson Scott Card's forums: http://www.hatrack.com/ubb/main/ultimatebb.php?ubb=faq and his Writer's Workshop http://www.hatrack.com/forums/writers/forum/faq.html.

After that, play it by feel as situations arise.

Also, a thread for pictures of fans, if they want to post them, would be fun. Make the stipulation that the site is not responsible for the consequences of their doing so, as posting pics is always a lil' bit of a risk. Just as those bazillions of Facebookers, eh? Also, there should be no nudity and such, that is, unless you want to play it that way on this here site. Others do, but they have a whole different vibe.

In the end, it's all about perseverance and interaction. Remember, Simon should not be too aloof. He's the King around here, and subjects always want to see and here from their ruler. Long Live The King! Long May He brandish His mighty blood-inked pen across the deep canvas of the Omniverse!

Jimmy Out!


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 Post subject: Re: Just Some Suggestions To Boost Site Traffic...
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:53 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:18 am
Posts: 918
Location: Bristol. UK
Wow. . .

Ok, first of all, thanks for all of that.

We are on the same page with regard to a lot of it.

Simon will be giving us his words of wisdom soon, but he's a bit snowed under with writing at the moment. Deadlines can be a pain !

There will be contests and signed stuff. I'm looking to get podcasts up and running next year, with maybe one every other month taking questions from the forums.

Merchandise. I've been looking into this for while but I wanted to see where most of the traffic on the site was coming from.
Most (at the moment) is from the US. I don't want to start merchandising with a UK company for 2 reasons. The quality of items over here is no where near as good as things in the US (to be honest, its rubbish).
And I can't see the point of selling to the US from the UK, that just adds to the shipping costs for no good reason.

I take point 4, but Simon doesn't do any promo over here. His UK publisher won't pay for it ! (and then complains when the books don't sell!)
The US publisher won't pay for him to come over and promote, he's not at that level (yet).

A chat room would be nice when we get more members. I'll have a talk with the hosting company and see what we need in terms of bandwidth etc..

I've set up a Media section this morning, so if everyone would like to form a orderly line over there. . .


Many thanks again, Jimmy for the input.

Steve


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