Episode 71: Check, Check and Check Again
In this episode for the second time in a few weeks I’ve had an issue with my e-mail signup list for this website because of something I didn’t check. Firstly it was lots of people who tried to subscribe via a link on my Twitter profile for beginsppodcast only to see nothing happen. The recent issue is now it’s from the pop-up window within this site (now removed). In both cases an automatic link from these to my e-mail service provider Mailchimp broke.
In the first case it should have worked and worked for a while, but then inexplicably broke. With the second case, the people who provided the plug-in in WordPress I used for the pop-up, SumoMe, changed the option to link to Mailchimp from being a free feature to being a paid feature. They may well have told me but I generally ignore the hundreds of e-mails they send every month to me…
So this got me thinking : one aspect of self-publishing that I often forget to do is “checks”. As I move to having more written down processes I am going to add in regular checks of things. It is because it is very easy to assume that as things were working once they are still working, but often in reality they don’t. Things change all the time, often breaking something working.
So what to check?
The following I have either experienced or heard of going wrong and are worth checking at least on a monthly basis:
- That book descriptions are formatted correctly on Amazon and other sites. Amazon especially often muck this up causing your book description to look awful.
- Search for the books on Amazon and check that you have the correct number of listings. I had a phantom listing appear for my second Magpies and Magic book that was a clone of the first book with the second cover, as well as the correct version.
- That your e-mail sign-up links work, both from your books and from your website.
- Check Google Web Search Console (formerly called Webmaster tools), to see if there are any issues Google has with your website both in terms of what you can control (e.g site content) and external links to your site (a link from a “bad” site to your site can cause a lot of issues).
- Ensure that your website analytics and any tracking pixels are actually working.
- Check what your website looks like on a mobile device. Is it usable?
There are probably lots of other things I should be checking as well, but I will have to work these out over time. Often things will change due to circumstances outside our control or because of something else we’ve changed. It is worth re-checking again as this will save us a lot of time and money in the long run.
If you found this episode helpful then you might like Author Income : How Many Books Do You Need to Sell to Make Money?, Book Reviews, Dr Who and Mo Farah or Moving from Non-Fiction to Fiction with Paul Teague