Recently, I’ve come upon a couple of writer/author websites that contain excellent content, but lack an effective design that could help take their websites and books to the next level.
And I think blogs, in particular, those run by WordPress, are easy, affordable tools for marketing your book and writing skills and niche to a worldwide audience.
Here are some ideas for designing a better author/writer website:
1. FOCUS ON THE BOOK.
Obviously, all book authors want to sell books. But what I’m talking about here is showcasing the book and its contents in ways that actually SELL the book.
As an author, your book should be an integral part of the design, not an afterthought.
You should also include downloadable and easy-to-print resources related to your book, such as a table of contents, excerpts or sample chapters and a question and answer session for the press and your readers.
Penelope does this really well … and Amazon has been doing this for years … and I might add: for good reason.
From my own book-buying experience, I want to look through these resources as it helps me decide whether or not the book is worth my money. The “free offer” is an age-old marketing technique … authors should be using this more to sell their books.
2. PUSH PEOPLE TO AN EMAIL NEWSLETTER.
Email newsletters are integral parts of my blogging strategy. I push all my clients to start email newsletters for a number of reasons.
Email newsletter are beneficial to authors and bloggers because::
They make your website or blog sticky. Blog stats only tell you where your readers are from. With an email newsletter, you can know their name or any other information you request.
They boost return traffic to your website. I call this residual traffic. There is still a major portion of the blog-reading world that doesn’t know how to operate that big, orange feed button. They don’t know how to use a feedreader. But most do know how to subscribe to an email newsletter. Building a good email newsletter database and then sending them a regular, value-packed email newsletter, listing some of the best content you’ve added recently is a great way to get them to come back to your site.
Publishers must love them. I’m not a book author, but I have to believe that pitching your first or even second book to a publisher and being able to tell them you have 2,000 people subscribed to your email newsletter (which you control) is going to help sell your book proposal. It shows you’ve done work to build a platform in which to sell your book.
Check out how New York Times columnist and book author Marci Alboher talks about how she used an email newsletter to help promote her book and tour.
By the way, I suggest Aweber’s excellent email newsletter solution to all my clients and use it myself.
3. SHOWCASE YOUR QUALITY CONTENT.
When I first started this website back in 1999, I had to do all the heavy lifting of updating my site as I added new content. But with blog software, it instantly took all this and put it all at the click of a “Publish” button so that I could concentrate on writing, instead of maintenance.
You don’t even have to call it a “blog” … just use the free technology to produce an “articles” section of your site. And with WordPress Pages you can use it as a content management system to manage your entire website.
Using blog software, you have an easy way to archive, search, tag your great content and keep readers coming back for more … or help sell your book.
One of the best at this is Tom Peters.
4. PACKAGE IT ALL IN AN ATTRACTIVE DESIGN.
There is something to say for a well-thought-out web design for authors and writers that incorporates the previous three suggestions.
A professional web design helps sell your book. It gives off a good impression to your book buyers that your book is worth the retail price.
The design is the gift wrap for your book. And, in my humble opinion, that gift wrap is a valuable marketing investment.