Author Promotion: Website

Purpose of Website/Blog

  • Author Presence – This is your primary online place to represent you the author and your brand.
  • Books – A place to tell the world about your books and where to find them.

Blog vs. Website

Blog: The term is short for “web log,” and may contain a few pages.

  • Set-up – Easier to create than a website.
  • Informal – Written in a conversational style.
  • Content – Personal online journaling, photos, artwork, videos, covers, and more.
  • Interaction – Encourages readers to respond and be responded to as well.
  • Book Links – Supplies links to your books and where they are sold.
  • Other Links – Links to other social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Updates – Frequently updated, at least bi-weekly.

Website: This is a permanent online address where information about the author and their book(s) are described in detail.

  • Set-up – More extensive set-up required, either DIY or by a professional.
  • Formal – More formal and professional style.
  • Content – Interconnected pages, images, book covers and descriptions, links to booksellers, media information, and more.
  • Interaction – Little interaction with readers unless the website contains a blog.
  • Updates – Static and the content is not regularly updated.

Domain Name

  • Ownership – It is important to be listed as the “Registrant” whether you purchase it or someone else does on your behalf. Otherwise, you will not have access to it.
  • Details – You need the username and password for it.
  • Purchasing – There are many places to buy a domain name and many extensions available (.com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, .eu, and more)
    • GoDaddy – world’s largest registrar for $2.99 https://rebrand.ly/5xlp8nx
    • Network Solutions – domain registrars for $5. https://rebrand.ly/gc4foti
  • Expiration – Usually needs to be renewed annually or every couple of years.

Contents of Author Website

Home Page

  • Header – Author name, tagline, and maybe a headshot.
    • Tagline – A catchphrase that encapsulates in no more than three to six words what you are as a writer.
      • Starla Kaye – Romance books that turn up the heat
      • Starla Criser – Stories to warm your heart
  • Cover – Cover of your most recent book or covers of all your books.
  • Links – Social media links.
  • Content Pages – Links to specific pages: About the Author, Latest Release, Upcoming Release, Events, Books, Blog, Contact
  • Newsletter Sign-Up – If you plan on doing a newsletter.
    • Use a service like MailChimp or Constant Contact to collect emails. Their form goes on your website and signups go directly to your email list.
      • MailChimp – https://mailchimp.com/
      • Constant Contact – https://rebrand.ly/slzwdno

About Page

  • Author Bios – Preferably have two.
    • Long version – Put this on the “About the Author” page.
    • Short version – Put this on the “Home” page, with a link to read more on the “About the Author” page.
  • Professional Headshot

Latest Release

  • Book cover, description, and where available.

Upcoming Release

  • Book cover, description, and where available.

Events

  • Upcoming book signings, speaking engagements, etc.

Books

  • Booklist – Printable list of all books
  • Categories/Series – Drop-down lists of different book categories or series (if more than one)
    • Starla Kaye – Western, Contemporary, Historical
    • Starla Criser – Books for Adults, Books for Children, Senior Anthologies
  • Individual Book Page – Each book should have its own page with a Long Description (150-200 words), cover, and purchase details.
    • Start with a bold, clear, and punchy headline that highlights something interesting about the book (genre, key topic, theme) in 25-30 words.
    • Sets the mood and shows the readers the author’s style.
    • End with a strong close that encourages the reader to purchase the book in 25-50 words.
      • Who the book is for, for fans of…, great gift for…
      • Avoid time-sensitive language to keep it from becoming outdated: “latest,” “soon,” “forthcoming,” “most recent,” or “last year.”
  • Offer an excerpt for viewing or download.
    • Fiction Book – Describe the plot, settings, and key characters.
    • Non-Fiction Book – Detail the subjects covered, important people, places, and things.
  • Each book should also have a Short Description to be used as a pitch for book discovery and sales purposes.
    • This is what appears in publishing catalogs, trade show copy, online websites, marketing materials, press releases, online retailers, and more.

Blog

  • Content
    • Titles – Use captivating titles to hook readers.
    • Topics related to your book(s), topics with which you are knowledgeable.
    • Announce about posts on social media to drive traffic to the website.
    • Two-way discussion to encourage comments and your response to them.
    • Contributors – Have readers, peers, industry experts and others contribute to the blog and build a network of supporters.
    • Photos/Graphics – Visual content catches the key; use royalty free images.
  • Sale – Hint (ask) for a sale by mentioning your book at the end of the post, including a link for purchasing.
  • Updates – Weekly or at least bi-weekly.

Contact

  • Use a form that hides your email address to keep spammers away.
  • Ask for basic information: email address, name.

Monitoring Website Traffic

Sessions

  • Number of times people come to the site.

Unique Visitors

  • Number of distinct people coming to the site.

Pageviews

  • Number of pages viewed on the site.

Bounce Rate

  • Percentage of visitors to the site who see one page and leave the site (bounce off).
  • High bounce rate – Consider rethinking the site content or layout.
  • Low bounce rate – Visitors are liking the content and you are achieving reader engagement.

Average Session Duration

  • How long someone stays on the site.
  • Indicates what people are doing on your site.

Top Content

  • Track the content that gets the most page views.
  • Can tell you what pages are high-performing and what to do more of

Social Visits

  • Use the Traffic Source section of Google Analytics to find out what social media sites are sending the most traffic to the website.

Keywords

  • Track the keywords people use to search to get to your site.
  • Consider using more of them on your site, especially the homepage.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

  • Consider the traffic source keywords.
  • Do not overly optimize using too many keywords and phrases that the site is hard to read.