Having a dedicated author website is more important than you think. It offers credibility, access and a one-stop resource for your readers. But where do you start?
We discussed the need for:
- A good first impression
- About/bio page
- Contact information
- Email sign-up/updates
Here is the remainder of her advice:
6. Social Media
There are two areas to focus on when it comes to social media and your site. The first, is to provide visitors the ability to find and follow you on your various social media platforms.
To encourage follows and Likes, add links to your social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook) on your Homepage, About page, and Contact page. Then ask people to follow or Like you. It’s just crazy enough to work. Let’s try it
The second area to focus on regarding social media, is making it super easy for people to share your site and your content with others. To do this:
- Write amazing content
- Add a sharing plugin to every page on your site, so visitors can share your pages via all the major social networks.
The free plugin I use on YWP is called SumoMe, but there are many to choose from.
7. Books, Products and Services
Depending on what you have to offer, you may have separate pages for your books, products and services, or combine everything in one. For books, include a large cover shot, an enticing blurb and clear details on purchase options (with links).
You may want to feature your current project on your Homepage. Provide a link to your Book page for visitors to get additional information about the book, get some behind-the-scenes info or promotional materials. (A press/media Kit for each book would be ideal).
Tip: If your books are available on Amazon, join Amazon Associates and you will be provided a code to link your book. You will also get a percentage of whatever a buyer purchases after they click your link–even if it’s not your book (lets hope it’s a T.V.). Once you have signed up for an account, type in your book title. When your title pops up, click “get link”, and Amazon will give you a variety of options to customize your link. Just copy and paste that code where you want it on your site (sidebar, Book page), and your book will show up with a buy link.
8. A Blog
Websites with blogs get 55% more traffic than websites with no blog. As well, having a blog creates fresh, additional pages of content which is great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
If your goals are to be seen by more people, drive potential book buyers back to your site, and establish yourself as an industry authority and thought leader, you need to include a blog on your site.
Here are a few more additional benefits:
- You can entice your current and future fans with exclusive, unpublished content, inside information and downloadable extras, like sample chapters.
- Readers find it especially appealing to find out who their favourite author reads or recommends. This is often a missed opportunity to not only engage with your readers, but network with and support your peers. No matter how famous, everyone loves recognition and appreciation, so share the love! This is also a great way to get inbound links–other sites linking back to your site. This too, increases your importance in the eyes of Google.
- Utilize your blog’s comment section to converse and engage with your audience. You can even encourage interaction between your readers by encouraging them to comment or reply to each others comments.
- You can have excerpts of your most recent blog posts on your Homepage, which will dynamically update each time you publish. This keeps the content on your Homepage fresh, and encourages people to return for more.
- A blog gives you the freedom to add additional content and bonuses (see below) without cluttering up your Homepage.
9. Appearances/Speaking Engagements/Latest News/Events
Include a section or page on your site that allows you to inform your fans of your whereabouts and upcoming events. Include things like:
- Latest News/Events: interviews, blog mentions, reviews and other media coverage items you can share with your audience.
- Appearances: book readings and signings, speaking engagements, interviews, conferences and professional events, workshops and so on, so your fans can find out the details and attend.
10. Press Page/Media Kit
The purpose of a press page or media kit is to easily provide the media, or anyone wishing to profile you, with the info they need to feature you in their piece.
The contents of a press kit will vary, but here are some of the basics of what you should include:
- Basic author bio, including contact info.
- Author photo (use a professional-looking headshot), and any additional photos that can be used when writing about the book.
- Information about the book, including a sample review, sample chapters.
- Press release.
The simplest way to make your media kit available is to turn the contents into a PDF. Provide a brief description and a link on a page on your site. Make it easy to find, and consider carrying around a few hardcopies at conferences/events, in case you receive a request for a copy.
Get the creative juices flowing! There are many fantastic ways to build value into your website for your readers and to keep them coming back for more.
- You can include a slideshow of photographs, sketches, illustrations of characters and locations in your book, and other meaningful images.
- Add other multimedia like audio files, a podcast, YouTube video and video trailers.
- Additional research material.
- If you are an expert in your field, and your book is an extension of your career, include things that spring from the larger context of your work and experience.
- Younger fans are often interested in contests, games and prizes (autographed books).
- An author’s favourite book, music, and movie recommendations are also fan favourites, so include these and some of your other influences.
- Include sneak peeks, additional content that isn’t in your books, main character bios, extra chapters, alternate character POV’s and any other bits that didn’t make the cut. Your readers will love it!
At Certa Publishing, we believe that our authors’ content has the power to transform lives and communities, so we are passionate about people finding your books. An author website is absolutely essential to your marketing. If you still feel intimidated by the process, we would love to help. We can either tweak what you already have or help you find the perfect partner to create one from start to finish. Contact us today!