Your author’s website is more than just a digital presence; it’s the gateway to your success. Invest in its optimization, captivate your audience, and pave the path to unlimited opportunities in the literary world. In this episode, we dive deep into the world of author websites and how to improve them for maximum impact. We have a treat today as Iris Goldfeder joins us to share her extensive knowledge of SEO along with an exciting challenge lined up for this July. She’s the co-founder and managing director of Stradigi Virtual Marketing. Iris explores the evolving landscape of the online world and how it impacts your author website. From SEO strategies to captivating design, she uncovers the secrets to making your website stand out in a crowded digital space. Iris firmly believes that if you’re not online, you’re simply not an option. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to take your online presence to the next level. Tune in now!
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Improving Your Author Website
What does your website look like? We have a guest that’s going to talk about SEO and bring up a challenge that she will have running in the month of July 2023. Stay tuned for that. Also, I wanted to remind you guys to run over to Author Traffic School. I have a new book coming out. You are going to hear more about that in July 2023. You are going to hear more about that.
Go over and subscribe to Breakthrough Author Magazine as well. That’s www.BreakthroughAuthorMagazine.com. It’s a free subscription. We provide monthly tips and tricks on writing, platform building, and, most importantly, what to do after your book is published. That’s where people get stuck. We put all this momentum into launching the book, and then they stop. The book sales stop. Go pick up a copy of that.
Our guest is Iris Goldfeder. The online world is changing, but it isn’t Iris’ first rodeo. Iris Goldfeder is a long-time entrepreneur with more than 25 years of success in the digital marketing field. Before coming back to focus on GasStoveCreative full-time, Iris was the Cofounder and Managing Director of Stradigi Virtual Marketing. Iris also serves as Vice President of the board for Friends of Downtown. She’s also the founder of ICG Development & Consulting, LLC.
Iris is passionate about social issues and giving back to the community. She is President of Unmasking Lafayette, a local non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that she founded with her friend Michelle Zaremba. Unmasking Lafayette is committed to the goal of unmasking social issues in her community. When Iris isn’t doing all the above, she’s a professional musician and loves spending time with her amazing wife, Heather, and, according to her, crazy pups Skyler and Piper. Iris’ passion is to help her clients grow their businesses. Her motto is, “I meet you where you are.” Iris firmly believes that if you are not online, you are not an option. Stay tuned for this interview with Iris.
Iris, welcome. I’m happy to have you.
Thanks for having me.
Iris is one of my pals from the Dames. She owns a company called GasStoveCreative. Tell us a little bit about what you guys do. How did you come into existence? Like most of us, this wasn’t your first career.
We are an all-in-one marketing solution for service-based businesses. When I say all-in-one, I mean we do all the things. We do website development and website optimization. We have some social media that we do, and then we also do trade show exhibits, print supplies, podcast production, video production, and media buying. We do this because we have found that a lot of people don’t want to work with ten different people to get their marketing done. With us, you don’t have to. You come here and we get everything done and take care of it for you.
I forgot that you do those novelty items as well. For you authors out there who are thinking about maybe doing a shipping book funnel where you ship it yourself with special gifts, Iris would be whom you would see for that little swag bag and the stuff besides your book that goes in the swag bag. We used to call them free shipping book funnels. Books have gotten so expensive we can’t call them that anymore.
If you sell it on your site, you should have a one-time-only offer where people can grab something else that’s more personalized. I know with our book launch coming up, we have an OTO. It’s going to be for a program. Iris would be your go-to person. What did you do before this? Most people our age, and Iris and I are about the same age, we are fed up with Corporate America. We are doing our own thing.
I worked in operations, sales, marketing, and catering when I was young. I was doing sales for a large cable conglomerate for advertising sales and I got fired because I didn’t want to sell the way they wanted me to. It wasn’t my thing. They had their way, and their way wasn’t how I sold. How I sold was my way. I was very successful, but because I didn’t follow the program, they fired me.
It was fine because I saw the writing on the wall. I reached out to my clients to let them know that I wasn’t there any longer. One of my clients said, “They are insane because they have been trying to sell me for three years and I never bought anything but I bought a $45,000 contract from you. Why don’t we talk about starting a business together?”
I’m not one who would sit home and collect unemployment, so I would have looked for another job, but then I was like, “I don’t fit in that job mold.” I don’t fit into that, “You have to do things this way mold.” I said, “Let’s talk.” We spoke and decided we were going to move forward, and we did. GasStoveCreative was formed. I kept everything in my name and the LLC in my name. Here we are years later and super successful. I don’t have that partner anymore. I have been doing things myself with a team. It’s great. I love it.
For our younger audience, I’m going to ask you something here. I tell this to my kids all the time. I hope your answer is what I think it will be. You are 62, right?
Yeah. I hear that number and it’s like, “I don’t freaking look it. I don’t feel it,” but I am.
Same here. I’m 62. The one thing I noticed when I look back on where I have been in this world, at the time, it seemed like, “Why am I going from publishing to advertising? Why did I go from advertising to real estate?” When I look back at that, I want to give these kids hope when they feel like the job they have isn’t what they want to do for the rest of their life. I feel like each of those avenues gave me the skillset that I needed to have my own business and run my own business even though it seemed, at the time, like, “What am I doing going from publishing to advertising?” Did you find that as well?
Yeah. I found that every job that I had prepared me for where I am now. You don’t realize it when you are doing it. We don’t think of it when we are in it because we are like, “I’m in this job. Now, I’m going to this next piece. This is going to be my new career. I’m going to go here.” Each step is a stepping stone. When an employer looks at a resume, they don’t expect to see somebody at one of their jobs for ten years. That’s rare because people hop a bunch. Hopping a bunch is good because they are getting different experiences and different exposures to different things and different methods. It’s changed a lot. All of my jobs and all of my experiences have led me to be able to run my business successfully.When an employer looks at a resume now, they don't expect to see somebody at one of their jobs for 10 years. People actually hop a bunch, and it’s good because they're getting different experiences and exposure to different things and methods. Click To Tweet
I thought of that as I was reading your intro, seeing where you’d been. My son is going through this thing where they are teaching him billing at work and he doesn’t like it. I was like, “Billing is the most important thing you do as an entrepreneur because you need to get paid.” It’s that business degree in action that he had. I thought it was funny because I was relating how you are learning the pieces of how to run a business effectively. Even though that’s the job you hate when you grow up, you will be able to delegate it.
That’s exactly right. With my accountant, I’m like, “Take it. Let me know if there’s a problem.”
You have a new challenge coming up in July 2023. This will come out in late June 2023. You are doing a website challenge. Tell us a little bit about that.
A lot of what’s going on with websites is load speed. People aren’t aware maybe that their site is loading slowly on mobile as well as desktop, but mainly on mobile because this is how we get our information. When we are in our car, we are like, “What’s the nearest restaurant near me?” If somebody’s looking to go to your website specifically and it takes more than 3.8 seconds to load, they are onto the next one. I’m like that. If I click on it and it doesn’t immediately load, I’m done. We don’t have time. We are busy and all this stuff.
What our challenge is going to do is show how to increase page load speed so that it loads faster, but then also how to generate more traffic to your website within twelve hours. We are going to teach three things in the challenge. They have to follow it to the tee. If you waiver from it, you are not going to get the result that you are joining the challenge for. If they do the three things that we tell them to do in the way we tell them to do it, within twelve hours, they will see a nice uptick and increase in their website traffic.
The challenge is going to be three days. We are planning on July 11th, 12th, and 13th, 2023, but we may make it 11th, 12th, and then the 16th so it gives them time to implement what we have taught them so they can see where it goes. It’s important not just for the page to load right but for the right person to come to your website.
One of the things I noticed a lot, and we have worked with authors that needed a website, is first of all, the complaints I used to hear all the time is, “I hired a web designer and it’s been a year.” It’s not always the web designer though. When I dig down, it’s like, “Did you write the copy? Did you choose images? Did you give them a branding guide?” We back up and find out, “I haven’t had time.” How do you expect someone to build something that you haven’t given them the details for? Let’s talk about that.
When I work with my authors, in a Word doc, we write copy. We are like, “We want this at the top. We want this here.” We can give the designer an idea of where everything goes. When you get that as a designer, it’s probably pretty easy to do. That’s the point also where you can say, “You have got too many images,” or, “We have to go to functionality over aesthetics.” Talk a little bit about that because I know that’s why it loads slowly sometimes. It’s because you have all these images.
You have all the things and all the plug-ins. Here’s the thing. There are a lot of WordPress sites like Elementor, Themify, and all of these different programs that have a whole bunch of plug-ins that slow down the site. Sometimes, the pictures or the images are too big. They need to be smaller. Sometimes, somebody puts a video on the page instead of a link to the video. There are a lot of different things.
If somebody hands me the material and they hand us the images and they are like, “Here’s everything. Put it together,” we can put it together in 4 to 6 weeks tops as long as we have everything. We also meet and say, “There is a lot of poppy here. We are going to pair this down,” or, “We are going to keep it here, and then we will do Read More and it will go to another page so they can read more rather than having everything right there.”
It’s also the flow of the site. It’s not just the stuff that’s on the site. It’s how the site flows. Is it user-friendly? Is it ADA-compliant? That’s a huge thing. Why would you want to leave out a part of the population that could get value out of your site? Whether you are an author, a coach, or a tradesperson, people need your services. People want to read your book.
A blind person can read your book. They have readers. A deaf person can read your book. Somebody who has ADHD can read your book. If it’s not ADA-compliant, it won’t be easy for them. If you go to an ADA-compliant site and click on, let’s say, ADHD, what it does is because people with ADHD, and I may know a couple, It’s hard to focus. What it does is as you are scrolling, it highlights the part of the page so that your eyes are focused on that piece. It’s cool.
Also, if you are not compliant, you are leaving out a decent part of the population who have challenges as it is. Why do you want to add another challenge when they come to your website? Also, why are you going to leave that money on the table? It’s also financial. We are in business to make money. Why would you want to leave a part of the population out?
As far as getting started, we work closely with the web people and we ask for a wireframe. Do you guys do that? It is so we know exactly how much room we have. The reason I’m saying this is when you are working with a web designer, that wireframe is important because it will tell you where the images go. It will tell you where your copy should go, and that will help your copywriter. When we work with our authors, we work with the designer as well because most of the time, we write the copy and choose the images so it all has the same feel. Does that happen a lot? I don’t think that’s unique to us. Your site should have professional copywritten materials.
I’m going to be mean here. I can tell when you have written your material because most writers are not copywriters. They are separate skills. If you go ask my editor, I’m a better copywriter than a writer. I am a storyteller, which makes me good at copywriting, but she has to edit the hell out of what I do.
The other thing, too, is when it comes to websites, the copy has to be SEO-friendly. You have to know the keywords, where to put the keywords, and how many to put in because you can put in too many and you can also put in too few. It is an art. It’s not like, “I’m going to write this.” You need to know what the hell you are doing or you can screw the whole pooch. I’m sorry I said pooch.
That’s okay. The only thing we can’t do on this show is the eff bombs. The other thing, too, is a lot of people used to do what was called keyword stuffing, which you can’t do that. Google will not let you do that anymore.
I will tell you a story. This is my favorite. I felt bad for him, but it is my favorite story. I had a client. We were doing SEO for him. This was several years ago. This was when SEO was there. We were charging what we were charging. This company called him up and said, “I’m going to get you to number one on Google by tomorrow for $100.”
He called me up and said, “We are dropping your services.” I said, “Why?” He said, “This guy told me he can get me for $100.” I said, “You will be blackballed. Don’t do it. If you don’t want to use me anymore, I’m completely fine with that. Go find somebody else but do not do this. You will be blackballed.” He said, “Yeah.” I know what I’m talking about. I have only been doing this for many years. He does it. The next day, I look and he was number one. Two days later, he’s gone.
They will take you down.
Google blacklisted him. I went to page 100 and he wasn’t there. He was in the Siberia of Google. I don’t even know where the heck he was. He called me up and was like, “What can we do?” I said, “I don’t know.” I contacted Google and told them what happened. You could talk to Google back then. We worked it out and fixed it.
Fast forward years later, he does the same thing and then he gets blacklisted. We had to change his domain. It was all keyword stuffing. I looked at his site and I was like, “You can’t even read what you do because they loaded it on the front end and the back end.” It was horrible. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Some cautions here for authors, don’t buy a canned publisher site. I experienced that with my first one. I paid outrageous monthly fees. When I went to add my second book, I found out that it was a canned site. We went through this with one of our other clients. Kelly Witt designed his new site, but he had gone through a coaching program. This is where you have to watch it. It’s the coaching programs in the publishing world where they say, “We will sell you a site,” and it turns out to be a canned site.Some cautions here for authors: don't buy a canned publisher site. Click To Tweet
A canned site is non-functional for internet digital marketing. It only does 1 or 2 things. You need an email list. You need a lead magnet. You need all of those things that make you a functional website for actual online marketing. It’s a huge mistake. Here’s another thing, and I hope I’m not stepping on your toes with this. Buy your URL.
You have to. I tell all of my clients that if they don’t know how to do it, I buy it for them. I will set up a GoDaddy site for them and then I transfer it immediately. There are so many companies out there that will keep your domain. You say URL, but it’s a domain like GasStoveCreative.com. I have had so many people come to me that went with certain companies that I’m not going to say because I don’t want to get sued.
There are certain done-for-you sites out there where the website is done. All you have to do is make a couple of changes, but they own the domain. In order for you to get that domain back, it’s hell. One hundred percent, you are not stepping on my toes. I tell all my clients that’s the first thing because I have seen people here and nationally hijack people’s domains. They are like, “You want your domain back? It’s $5,000.”
I’m going to tell you a little story here. Back when we first started the company, I had a web designer from a networking group. 3 or 4 of my clients were there. I was there. I’m not going to mention names, but he developed a meth problem. They weren’t being serviced. They got their websites back, but he was angry at me because my clients were leaving him.
I was able to get JulietClark.com back because it was my name. That was easy, but with Winsome Entertainment Group, he kept renewing. Finally, after eight years, he let it go. I went back in because GoDaddy had a note in there to notify me if he didn’t renew. It can cause a lot of problems. I had to go from WinsomeEntertainmentGroup.com to WinsomeEntertainmentGroup.net, and then I let the whole thing go when we rebranded back in 2016 and changed.
It could be a real nightmare because there’s nothing GoDaddy or any of the host providers can do at all with that. I’m excited. You are going to start promoting this in early June 2023. We will get some dates out there for you. If you want to get on the list to be a part of this challenge and boost those people going to your site, Iris has a quiz. You can also get a hold of her over on LinkedIn. Tell them where to find your quiz.
The quiz is on our website, but you can go to IsYourWebsiteEffective.com. The quiz is for everybody, but the challenge isn’t for everybody. What this quiz will do is show you if you are eligible for the challenge. This is for people who are ready to make a change and increase their traffic and they want to get their ideal clients to their site. They have to be willing to do the work. We can do it for them, but they need to be serious about it. The quiz will weed out who’s ready and who’s not.
I’m going to tell you something.
Is that terrible? Is that mean saying it that way? I don’t mean to.
No. I’m going to say it very succinctly. If you are someone who goes over and you take this quiz and you have a lot of, “I’m not doing this,” that is not only a cue for you to go take this challenge, but it might also be a cue for you to go back to your web designer and say, “Why does my site suck?”
They could hire us and we will redo it. There’s that.
I will be the meanie here because these are important things. As a digital marketer, if you are someone who uses your digital marketing, landing pages, and stuff more, this might be an avenue where you create your leads through landing pages and digital marketing. If you are someone that people find you and they go to your site and that’s where they find you and contact you, then Iris’ class is for you. You have to have something that’s quick and easy and people feel good about hitting a link or something right on the spot or picking up the phone and calling you. Make sure that everything is as perfect as it needs to be.
You can go over and find Iris on LinkedIn as Iris Goldfeder. Go over there and follow her because you will see all the announcements about the challenge over there. You could also go over to the website that Iris gave you and take the quiz. See if you can get an invite to it as well. Thank you for sharing all this.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so. I appreciate it.
- Friends of Downtown
- Unmasking Lafayette
- Iris Goldfeder – LinkedIn
About Iris Goldfeder
The online world is changing, but this isn’t Iris’ first rodeo! Iris Goldfeder is a long-time entrepreneur with more than 25 years of success in the digital marketing field. Before coming back to focus on GasStoveCreative full-time, Iris was the co-founder and Managing Director of Stradigi Virtual Marketing. Iris also serves as the Vice President of the Board for The Friends of Downtown (FTC). She is also the Founder of ICG Development & Consulting, LLC.
Iris is passionate about social issues and giving back to the community and is the President of Unmasking Lafayette, a local, not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that she co-founded with her friend, Michelle Zaremba. Unmasking Lafayette is committed to the goal of “Unmasking” social issues in her community. When Iris isn’t doing all of the above, she is a professional musician, and loves spending time with her amazing wife, Heather, and (according to her!) crazy pups Skyler, and Piper.
Iris’ passion is to help her clients grow their businesses and her motto is- “I meet you where you are.” Iris firmly believes that “If you’re not online, you’re not an option!”
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