All authors NEED a website. But what should you put on your author website? And how can you encourage more visitors? This post provides a few marketing tips for authors.
Take a look at this site that in many ways is a model site for an author:
Essential features include:
- Mailing list sign up form (for creating a mailing list and sending newsletters)
- Facebook feed – makes the site look current and active (assuming you are active on your FB page of course)
- Covers of the books and clear ‘buy links’
- A blog – lots of relevant content for the search engines to index
- Blurb about the author, information about the book, reviews etc
A website on its own, with little change to the content will act as an information point on the web for anyone who wants to find out about your work, but it will not draw in visitors from Google searches. For a site to attract visitors, it needs to have lots of relevant content added regularly. This is why blogs are such a good thing to have on your site. Writing fresh regular content is crucial and adding appropriate alt tags to your images also enhances the visibility in searches. CONTENT IS KING as the saying goes.
All our sites are made using WordPress. Wordpress, by default, is set up to be SEO friendly. HOWEVER, this is dependent on content being added and updated regularly. There’s little point launching a website and then not touching it for a year or so if you want to get found on Google. Any ‘unloved’ site will be seen less by Google’s robots that roam the web looking for new content to index, and in time your website will lose ranking due to this inactive behaviour.
But just adding lots of content is not enough if you want to maximise your website’s marketing potential. Like it or not, social media should be an integral part of your marking toolset. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. You MUST get involved in at least one of these – preferably two or three.You must set up some social media pages and become active, posting bits and bobs about your work and sharing posts that interest you (relevant posts of course). That way, the word will spread. It’s a bit like going out for dinner with friends. Perhaps someone mentions a new book that they’ve enjoyed and you decide to read it too. You then tell your friends about the book and so the word is passed on. If you are not involved in social media, you are missing a huge trick as social media is THE main marketing tool online. Of course you must also have share buttons and links to your social media pages on your website.
The problem is that blogging and participating in social media marketing takes a lot of time. It’s something you need to build into your week – and make sure you do it every week. Some large publishers insist that their authors actively get involved in social media and blogging as part of the publishing contract. This means that the authors HAVE to spend a few hours a week doing just that. It’s just part of the job really.
Finally, don’t forget to encourage visitors to join your mailing lists. Mailing lists are very powerful marketing tools because people who have signed up have already shown they are interested in what you do, just by signing up. It’s important to have a mailing list sign up box displayed prominently on your website. Over time, people will subscribe and you will be able to compile a list. From time to time you can send out newsletters detailing your events and festivals, and of course announce your new book when it is published.