Web Site Considerations
These days there is great pressure for websites to be mobile compliant and have good SEO or search engine optimization. This means content should be organized effectively with key words and headers in order for search engines to properly "spider" and catalog them in search engine results.
The Internet's a big place. You need to be found.
Sites that can be viewed easily on desktops and mobile devises are called "responsive" and Google is now ranking those sites higher than ones that don't display as well for mobile users. I am now in the process of converting my website into mobile friendly templates.
Many writers debate whether or not they should mount separate sites for each of their books. The benefit of this is to attract readers by subject areas. The more your website is dedicated to one subject area, the more likely that page will be found in search results from readers looking for information on your topic.
However, I find this amount of work full of headaches, and headaches that won't even scale. In other words, can you really maintain 30 websites if you end up publishing 30 books? Do you only maintain sites for new books? It can get messy.
If there's a publisher willing to develop, host and maintain your book sites for you, swell! Go for it. It can't hurt. I'm just not convinced from the marketing data that readers are using book sites to buy books, even Harry Potter books, whose fans probably have the most expensive and elaborate book sites on the planet.
All author sites are a work in progress. Try some of these suggestions. Try something experimental. But keep tinkering and try to measure the results.
There are two components involved in creating an author website:
- Technically launching and administering a website
- Designing and writing the content.
I’m going to skip the technical launch. This can be very easy (a free Word Press site) or very involved (paying a web designer to launch your site). What you choose will depend upon your finances and your willingness to do-it-yourself. There are copious resources online and in bookstores for learning how to create and launch a website.
But what kinds of information should you provide? Here is a list of content buckets you might want to include on your site.
The Home Page should include nice visuals of your book or books. You can provide separate pages for each book or include them all on the home page. You can include your biography here or create a dedicated page for that. Whatever you do, keep the navigation on the page short and simple. Include:
- Book photos
- A personal photo
- Social media sharing links
Keep the tone and visuals geared to your audience or genre.
Describe Your Books
You should provide book details including the following:
- The book cover
- Book titles and subtitles
- A one-paragraph description (2 paragraphs at the most) on the book's benefits and topics. This is usually hard for poets. Try to avoid the fuzzy, generic, meaningless flarf found on most back covers of poetry collections. Talk about your style and subjects.
- The book's published date, and publisher
- The ISBN number, binding, trim size and page count
- Pricing for hardback, paperback and ebook
- Optional samples of your book
- A call to action: invite readers to buy the book with links to sites of purchase.
Your biography should connect directly to your books and what you write about. Don’t include biographical details unrelated to your books unless they are really outstanding or intriguing. Don’t list all your other hobbies and interests.
The Media Page
You should provide media sell sheets for each book and links or copies of full reviews.
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