An author’s website is his or her storefront. It both tells and sells. It’s your brand. It’s your foundation for your books, blog, social media, and marketing materials. Your site anchors your message and persona. So how will you make sure it is very good at what it is supposed to do?
Authors do not have to have flashy, $10,000 websites, but they can’t settle for bottom-of-the-basement free sites either. But I’ll leave that up to authors to find a decent hosting platform and web designer. Let me tell you of the things you should think about, including best practices.
Let’s start with the core basics.
You will likely have these following elements on your site:
· Home page.
· About you.
· About your book(s).
· Blog and/or newsletter.
· Contact information (include social/media handles).
· Testimonials (for you/your book/your company).
· Something free to sign up for.
· About your company/services (if you have one).
· Media/appearances (past and upcoming).
Your site should best represent your brand. The font, typeface, colors, images, sound clips, video, and text combine to form a picture of who you are.
Your site should be:
· Easy to navigate and find things.
· Able to answer questions one’s likely to ask.
· A tool to sell something.
· A place for people to connect with you.
· Interesting but not complex.
· Full of information but not overwhelming others with it.
· Better than competing authors in the same genre.
Your website should be logical in how it presents you. No one will be standing next to the visitor to your site to explain what to do or where to go. It should speak for itself. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Use your words judiciously – less is more – but make sure you state what you are about and explain your unique selling proposition.
If your site is just as good as anyone’s – or worse – that it is not good enough. Competition is fierce. Just as you wrote the best possible book, had it edited professionally, and had a great title and cover picked out, put together a really good website. It is an extension of who you are.
Your website needs to take the user on a journey, one that informs, enlightens, inspires or entertains. It’s your chance to really excite people about what you can do for them. People will decide whether to buy your book or do business with you, based heavily on your website.
Ask yourself these questions about your site before it goes live:
· Does it present a focused, well-articulated brand promise? Is it presented in a compelling way?
· Do you offer a consistent voice or message that rallies around a catchy slogan?
· Do you present a special or irresistible offer, test sample, or free item?
· Are your claims credible, accurate, important, and reasonable?
· Is your site SEO optimized to reach your target readership? Does it include popular keywords?
· Does it come off as too salesy – or as a resource?
· Is everything spelled correctly and edited properly?
· Does it use inviting headlines, bullet point-filled content, and clear calls to action?
Your website doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be pretty good. You can always add to it and modify content but make your introduction to people a successful one. A good website is just as important as a good book.
“According to a report by the International Publishers Association (IPA), the UK publishes more books per capita than any other country. The annual output of just under 200,000 new and revised titles is roughly four times the figure of forty years ago, and works out at around twenty new books per hour.”
--For the Love of Books Stories of Literary Lives, Banned Books, Author Feuds, Extraordinary Characters and More by Graham Tarrant
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.
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