The strategy behind building an author website is not about selling more books today, or next month. It’s about having your own strategic marketing asset for years to come. Most professional authors lead a hand-to-mouth existence, living from advance to advance, always trying to line up the next book contract, and the one after that, even before they finish cranking out the title they’re working on at the present. It’s about building you as a brand. Your website exists to create business for you. It is not a scrapbook, it’s a sales tool. Websites may contain a blog space, but are defined by their static (unchanging) home page. A blog will look different with each update, but a website will largely maintain the same look over time. A website is a place to directly sell your books or other merchandise. Here are some questions that will help you determine if your website is working for you.
- Is it immediately obvious what you do?
- Is it immediately obvious what you want your visitors to do?
- Does it make your phone ring? (or generate email)
- Is it unique? (or at least feel unique)
- Is it findable? (by search engines like Google)
- Is it bountiful? (filled with great resources and content)
- Is it beautiful? (a place you’d want to hang out at)
- Does it look and sound like you?
- Do you like it?
Still not sure if your website is working? Here are some things that you can do.
- Talk aloud to yourself or a friend about what you do (or what you’re selling), then put that on your website.
- Place a call to action on your site. Make it clear what you want your visitors to do, then make sure their eyeballs are going in that direction.
- Promote your site! Get that web address out wherever you can. Comment on blogs, make business cards, put it at the bottom of all your emails, make it your Facebook status. Get it out!
- Ask yourself what makes you, or what you are selling, different and unique. Then make sure that is present on your website.
- A blog is helpful with Search Engines. If you have a blog, update it weekly. Keep the content fresh, even if it’s a really short post.
- Watch a friend or family member who has never been to your site try to navigate his or her way through. Don’t coach them – just watch. If they get lost or are overwhelmed, consider where they are getting tripped up and make changes.
- Ultimately this site is you. Everyone has an opinion and you could go on forever adjusting your site to everyone’s needs. Make sure, all in all, that you are happy with the site.
Visit our blogs page for more information about how to set up a website.
Here are some examples of Author websites: