Optimizing SEO for Writers: adding to your team of pros

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SEO or Search Engine Optimization is something writers can't afford to ignore. But what is it and why do we need to know about it, and is it possible to both know everything about it and still have time to do the things that make you a professional writer and author? Here's the story about my recent experiences following an excellent presentation by Jane Friedman hosted by MWA Norcal in San Francisco.

I jumped all over the “homework” she suggested. 

Some of it was super easy and quick, and I could do it myself. Beyond those easy fixes, I quickly became frustrated and tangled up, but was too stubborn to abandon the project after becoming a Jane Friedman convert with all the zeal of a reformed smoker.


So, I signed up for a grueling one-day boot camp with designer Christine Darby of Collaborada to optimize my SEO and improve some of the inner workings of my website. We worked flat out for eight hours, checking in periodically with questions, new assignments, and encouragement. 

Most of what we did can’t be seen by the casual observer. I learned a ton and was exhausted. Though I was happy with the results and pleased with the ease of DIY upkeep, I decided to hire Christine to do a monthly review and update of the website to keep up with housekeeping and good practices. 

Return on Investment

My inner brat is grumbling over how much money a “free” lecture ended up costing me, but the adult me is thrilled by the changes and the addition of a new expert to my team. I've already seen an improvement in my position on key search engine pages. Do I know exactly how much income the changes will generate? Nope. But...

I love the idea that my website will be working so much harder to promote the books now that it is free from the bonds I unknowingly placed on it.

DIY vs. Paid Professional

We all make different decisions at different stages of our careers, and I’m glad I started with a DIY website. I’m glad I can still go in and DIY it as much as I like. I’m thrilled to have an expert to consult if I get too busy or in over my head—like when the new cover arrives at the same time I need to be thrashing through problems with the next ms. 

While there was a lot I could do on my own with backup from my personal millennials, it is a relief to be able to have a new expert who fills the niche where code meets marketing. My old team had layout (me) and code (my son the software engineer) and artistry (my daughter-in-law the coder and artist) but we were missing expertise in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) arena, and my millennials had demanding paid jobs of their own. 

Take a look

If you’re here on my blog, you've already found me, but feel free to look around the website. It’s still a work-in-progress and always will be, but I’m both thrilled and relieved—feelings I value highly and on which it’s difficult to put a price.