We all know that your eye-catching website is your business card to the world. It should be the ‘first impression’ you want to portray to readers, writers, editors, publishers, clients, and even agents.
Your website should not only tell about you, but should display books, articles, or services you have to offer. A website is not a waste of money – on the contrary – it should be one of the best investments you make in your writing career. It should more than double the money you’ve invested.
Unlike blogging, where our motive is to engage others in a discussion, your website’s main goal is to inform people about you and what you have to offer.
I must admit here, I would rather write than worry about my website! There you have it. I’m not the most savvy when it comes to all the wonderful social networking opportunities we have these days. Let’s face it – in the ‘old days’ we had a business card, maybe a flier, sent out postcards, and a hand-shake. Yep, relatively easy. If you stick to those practices, you’ll sign your death-warrant as an author.
If you’re not visible on the social networking scene, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. It all begins with your website. So how do you create an exciting, fresh, and crowd pleasing website that will engage those willing to ‘visit’ you? The expression I love the most is ‘learn to be tech savvy and maintain a strong buzz.’
GETTING STARTED – There are some basic items that should be on your website to meet visitor expectations. I’d suggest you go out and visit several of your favorite author’s websites and get a feel for what they share, how they share it, and think about how you can ‘create’ your own space to reflect who you are.
You should be building a platform whether you’re published or non-published and this begins this with your website. Always keep in the back of your mind this site should be compelling, current, and friendly.
Begin with the basic setup pages as follows:
ü Welcome – home page
ü Bio Page– who are you and what do like to do besides write
ü Portfolio Page– what books are available/blurbs – links directly to ordering them
ü Review Page
ü Contact Page– include email, agent/publicist info, blog page, Twitter, FaceBook, Linkedin, Hootsuite, etc.
ü Calendar/Events Page – book signings, guest, interviews
ü New Releases Page – What are you working on? Date new releases.
Verify you’ve considered the following:
ü High resolution photos and book covers
ü Terminology current – portfolio and not library, etc.
ü Is your site easy to more around in?
ü Double check ‘links’
ü Avoid Flash and music – will slow down page load-time.
ü Double check site loads on popular browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox, etc.)
BUFF IT UP – You want to engage your visitors. Don’t be ordinary – be extraordinary.
Keep a link to your website on Facebook and Twitter, etc, —and record your social media fan and follower numbers, because they can come in handy when querying agents or talking to publishers about how you promote your books. It reveals you know the market and you’re successfully being noticed.
As it’s important to have an outstanding website, it won’t do you any good if the information is old, links don’t work, or if you haven’t spiffed-it-up from time-to-time. You know that seeing the same site over and over will not excite or prompt you to return – same applies to your site.
Put a monthly reminder on your calendar to visit your own website and update it. Check your ‘buy’ links and make sure they’re working. Designate an area on your ‘home page’ that will alert visitors what’s new and where to find it.
Be sure to keep reviews updated . . . it’s an inexpensive selling tool. Same goes for pictures – change them out every month. Keep your site fresh and new.
Do you have a newsletter? Make sure it’s on your website and a place it’s available for them to sign-up.
Do you have a blog? Again, make sure this information is available. Create a link so they can pop over and sign-up.
It boils down to being consistent – this will keep your visitors engaged with compelling content that makes them return time and time again. Take your website to the next level – and your writing career right along with it.