What is the best website for an author?
It’s tough to stand out as an author. There are more books published than ever. Readers have more choices than ever. If you want people to buy your book, your job goes way beyond writing.
Even before you finish your book, better yet, even before you start writing your book…
…You should have a website.
Whether you are working with a publisher or self-publishing your books, you are responsible for long-term marketing. There is no more effective tool to achieve that goal than to have the right website. Many successful authors started out with a website. Over time they managed to build a following and as a result they have become successful authors.
What makes the right website for an author?
Social Media is not enough.
You don’t own your Facebook page, but you own your website. Having your own Facebook page or some other social media account is not enough. For maximum credibility you must have your own website. You also must have your own author website for control. What if Facebook shuts down your page one day or they change the way you interact with your followers? It is great to use social media to build a following and to interact with your readers, but it is an incomplete book marketing strategy.
If you want long-term success and control, you must have your own website.
Contact us if you want your author website.
Your author website must be mobile-friendly or responsive. What that means is that your website will work equally well on a desktop computer and mobile device like a smartphone or a tablet. Mobil-friendly is very important because there are more searches on mobile devices than ever. If your site is not mobile-friendly, it will hurt your conversions and search engine rankings.
Your own domain.
Your domain name is part of your branding, so don’t settle for some free website tool. You want to own your own domain name. They are inexpensive to register and there are millions of name to chose from.
A few important things to keep in mind about domain names:
- Keep your domain name short. The best is if you can keep it under 12-13 characters.
- Use a .com domain. The .com is the best domain extension in business.
- Don’t use the title of your book. This is not a really bad idea, except if you plan on writing multiple books.
- Avoid hyphens. Hyphens can lead to confusion.
- Avoid numbers unless you can also register the same domain name spelled out. For example, 1greatbooktitle.com or onegreatbooktitle.com.
- Register your domain name for more than one year. The minimum time to register a domain name is one year, but I recommend that you register it for at least three years. The longer registration should help you with your SEO efforts.
WordPress has become so popular over the years that every 5th website runs on it. Why? Because it is easy to use. WordPress is also a robust website platform. Most importantly to you, WordPress sites are easy to manage. You want such a website platform as an author because you have to add content frequently, and the easier it is the more likely will you do it.
Contact us to get help with your WordPress author website.
Do not use free hosting or bargain hosting.
Your hosting is where your website lives. Free and cheap hosting sounds great, but they will hurt your website in the long run. The biggest problem with bargain website hosting accounts is that they put hundreds or thousands of websites on the same server. When the server gets hacked all of the websites are infected. As a result your website will become unusable. In addition, Google will drop you from its index because your website will be marked as infected.
Content is what helps you build a following. The content you are adding should be related to your book or your niche. There is no such a thing as too much content. The more frequently you add content the better. The goal is to turn your website into an authority within your field. If you are writing about web design, your website should be about web design.
Here is what makes for great content:
- Evergreen content. This is the kind of content that will be relevant next month and next year too.
- Detailed content. Search for articles similar to what you want to write about. Search in Google, find the highest ranking ones, then write much better quality and longer articles. The goal is to produce better quality than what’s out there.
- Longer articles perform better. A 2000 word article will rank higher and get more social shares than a 500 word article.
- Variety is your friend. As writer, posting an article might be the easiest for you, but don’t limit content to text. Try to post images, video, and audio.
What should your author website include?
Your author website homepage should have a little bit of everything.
It should include the following:
- Your name.
- Your tagline.
- Call to action. Do you want people to buy, download, or submit email address? Whatever action you want people to take spell it out for them.
- Your book cover. If you have multiple books, I recommend showing your newest book title.
- A few sentences about your book.
- List your biggest accomplishments.
- Summary of who you are.
- Social proof. You can list reviews and what other people say about your book or you as a writer.
- Clear and easy to use navigation.
Your about page should include details about you as an author. The content on this page should be conversational. What should people know about you? Tell a story. What makes you unique. Why should people want to read your books? What makes you unique? What experiences do you have that make you interesting? What make your books interesting?
Give people multiple options to get in touch. I recommend a contact form. I also recommend links to your social accounts like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Don’t include your phone number if you don’t want calls.
Contact us if you want help with your author website.
A page for each book
When you only have one book this is easy. Your link from your homepage to your book page. If you have multiple books, I recommend a page for each book. In addition to that, I also recommend a page that includes a thumbnail image and title of each of your books with a link to the individual book pages.
If you want to sell your own books on your website, the book page where you should have a buy button. If you do not want to deal with selling your own books you can just link to Amazon.com or whatever other websites sell your book.
Your email list is one of the most valuable assets as an author. Collect emails from day one. Give people something valuable for signing up like the first chapter of your book. Then, email your list once a month to give people updates about your books.
Links to social accounts
On every page of your author website there should be links to your social accounts. Link to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social accounts you have.