As beautiful as you may want your book website to be, at the end of the day it's supposed to be the focal point of your writing endeavors and a marketing tool for you and your books.
And for it to be a great marketing tool you'll want it to be rich with information about you as an author, about the books you write, the public appearances you and your work make, as well as being a destination for your social media efforts and potentially a store for selling your books.
It's a big ask!
Surprisingly many authors become so bewitched by the technology and design aspects of building a website that they forget that it's really the words that make a website sing.
In fact without all your glorious prose, getting people to visit your website (called 'getting traffic' in Internet marketing jargon) is a pretty difficult task. Here's why...
Right now there are two major sources for getting people to visit your website. The first is through search engines (like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc), the second is through social media.
Search Engines as a source for Traffic
The (not so) humble search engine has been the main source of website traffic for most websites for over a decade.
It's origins spring from the early days of the Web when pictures and colour were a luxury. This was a time when language and in particular words were the most important part of your website. This meant that words became and still are the primary key used for finding information and resources made available online.
Search engines for this reason are built around the concept of key words - strongly identifiable, meaningful words that occur frequently in a discrete piece of information (most commonly a web page).
In practical terms this means the more words you have in the pages of your webiste, the easier it is for the search engine to work out what the important key words are for your site.
It wasn't long before we humans worked out that search engines aren't particularly smart at working out keywords, so the field of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) was born.
SEO has allowed us (in a somewhat convoluted way) to tell search engines what our website keywords are.
And all this effort is expended so that when a person using a search engine types in some words to find something, that our website is displayed to them as being a match to their query. It's all about getting them to click on that search page link to visit your website - so you 'get traffic'.
Social Media as a source for Traffic
Just like Multimedia is a term that collectively describes video, audio animation etc. Social Media is a collective term for a whole host of different ways that people can interact with each other and information online.
Under the umbrella of social media are -
- social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn & Google+ are examples of these),
- social bookmarking (like Delicious, StumbleUpon & Digg),
- social websites (Meetup, 43Things & Ning),
- microblogs (Twitter, Foursquare, & Tumblr),
- wikis (for example Wikipedia & WikiAnswers),
- social worlds (include Second Life, Sims Online & World of Warcraft),
- content communities (such as YouTube, Flickr & SlideShare),
- and many, many more.
The basic idea with social media is to identify the style of interaction that fits best for you and then immerse yourself in it so that you become a trusted part of the community.
Through your community connections and contributions you 'get traffic' to your website; people who enjoy interacting with you and the information you contribute will be persuaded to 'check out' your website.
Which brings us back to the point.
If when a searcher (some one using a search engine) or a social media connection decides to click and visit your website, it's a very big deal if there isn't really very much there to read or look at. In this case they are most likely to click away (what's called a 'bounce' in geek speak) without really exploring your website.
It's the equivalent of window shopping. They didn't even step through the door to see what you've got on offer! Which means you'll have squandered your opportunity to get them interested enough to consider buying a book.
Rounding it all up
To have a website that is going to work as a marketing tool for you and your book. You need to fill it with things that till interest search engines and people.
As you now know, search engines love words and so do people who are getting to know you 'virtually'.
So put your trust in the 80-20 Rule and put 80% of your effort into the words and 20% into the design and you'll be rewarded with more traffic, more readers and more fans.
Now if you're not up with the latest in SEO or Social Media, then download the "Where to get help with SEO and Social Media' whitepaper, so that you'll be confident that all your 'word-smithing' is being put to it's best possible marketing use.Now if you're not up with the latest in SEO or Social Media, then the 'Where to get help with SEO and Social Media' guide, is what you'll need to become confident that all your 'word-smithing' is being put to it's best possible marketing use.
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