Hiring Technical Assistants

Expert Novice Buttons Show Professional Or Apprentice

 Barb Drozdowich returns to The Author CEO to share her “guruness”. This time in the area of vetting technical assistants. Social media is the mother’s milk to the success of the Indie author. Those unable to master social media or hire the wrong social media consultant remain practically invisible. With so many offering their services as social media experts, Barb gives authors areas to investigate when vetting technical support.

 

Authors are pretty special people. Not only are they way more creative than I will every hope to be, they supply me with the books that feed my soul. To me, authors are very important!

 

BarbDrozdowichPicWith the way that publishing is going, authors are now expected to be Jacks of All Trades. Not only do they have to create those wonderful stories that I devour, but they have to wear so many hats.

 

Where I come in is to help with that Technical Hat. I do a bit of blog design, but what I spend most of my time doing is teaching authors how to manage all the technical aspects of their platform. I teach how to manage a WordPress Blog, how to wrestle with Mailchimp and how to set up all those social media accounts along with the software to manage them. And lately, it seems that I’ve been helping authors that have been ‘helped’ by someone who doesn’t understand the needs of authors.

 

Because of this, I thought I’d put together some thoughts on what you should be looking for in technical help.

 

Let’s start at the top – with your blog. When hiring someone to create a blog for you, you want to make sure that you find someone who has experience with working authors. By that, I mean someone who creates simple, easy to manage, functional sites that are meant to be operated by you. The last thing you want is a fancy site that only someone with a degree in computer programing can operate. An author’s blog does not need to be a complicated technical wonder.

 

Most people who create blogs have a business website or blog of some sort. Have a look at it. Although their site might be complicated, look at sites that they have created for clients. Are those sites set up to foster relationships with readers?

 

Puzzled?

 

What are the two main objectives of your blog?

1)      Communication and relationship building with readers

2)      Selling books

 

How do you do this? Apart from your blog posts, you should make it REALLY easy for readers to follow you on social media and to subscribe to your blog. Secondly, your book covers should appear on your site as close to the top of the sidebar as possible. That being said, you don’t want to sell books on your site, you will want to send readers to the major retail sites to buy your books.

 

Here’s a few more clues to look for.

 

Is the author of the blog posts ‘Admin?’ If it is not the owner’s first and last name then they don’t understand the importance of “Authorship.” Authorship is a Google initiative and will become more and more important as time goes on.

 

In other words, when you search their name, does the search results show their photo as you see below:

barb2

Do the blog posts have visible share buttons? You know, those little buttons that allow you to share the post with your friends and followers on your social media accounts. Sharing is HUGELY important in ranking on Google. If your technical person doesn’t offer share buttons then they don’t understand this.

 

Can you see that blog posts are categorized as ‘uncategorized’ and either have no tags or a huge mess of tags? This indicates the lack of understanding of the importance of both tags and categories to your blog.

 

If your choice for technical help doesn’t have a Google+ presence, then they don’t understand the importance of that platform.

 

Have a look at their blog/website’s Alexa ranking. Before you roll your eyes at me, I find that an Alexa ranking is a quick and dirty look at the health of a site. It’s a good indication of how well the site is linked in and out. The larger the number the worse it is. If the rank is in the several millions, that’s not good. If this person doesn’t have a healthy site, how can they help you to have one?

 alexalogo

Is the technical person’s blog the center hub of their social media platform? If every point doesn’t point back to the blog, they don’t understand the importance of an integrated platform. How can they teach you if they don’t understand themselves?

 

Lastly, the technical person that you choose should be spending several hours with you helping you to understand how to use your blog. They should be able to use language that you understand and by the end of your time with them you should feel confident with the following:

–          creating posts and pages

–          inserting and editing pictures in posts, pages and sidebars

–          inserting links into posts and pages

–          comment management

–          the difference between plugins and widgets

–          how to find new plugins and how and when to update them

–          how to utilize appropriate widgets

–          the importance of having a complete user profile

–          how to customize the dashboards

–          how to automate the dispersal of posts

–          how and when to back up your blog

 

I hope these points help you do some informative research and ask some intelligent questions when it comes to getting some technical help!

 

Bio: Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books. She can be reached at sugarbeatbc@gmail.com

 

Barb is the author of three helpful books so far:

 

The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers

Go Global: Building an International Author Platform that Sellsbloggers

Book Blog Tours: An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors

 

All are for sale on Amazon as well as other retailers

Comment here!

Comments

  1. Morning Naomi!
    Thanks for letting me visit! I”m happy to answer questions or just chat. Hope everyone is staying warm and enjoying their day!

    Barb

    • Barb,

      Thank you so much for the wonderful information for our readers! With many options out there for professionals, it is incredibly important that authors know the right questions to ask and what to look for when researching potential assistants! neb

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