When was the last time you updated your website?
As some of you know, I teach social media workshops and I recently took my own advice and updated my website. I will admit, I still have more to do especially after conducting research for this blog. Check out my website at http://www.kalyncooper.com/
In a recent study of Romance readers, the author’s website was the number one place readers went to find information about an author and upcoming book releases. Unfortunately, most authors get swept up into Facebook, twitter, blogging, etc. and forget about their website for months at a time.
I’ve compiled some tips for revamping your website.
- Streamline your design. Just as readers judge a book by its cover, they judge the author by their website. It should look like your brand. Even though you personally like the color orange and wispy lines that swoop into tight curls, it’s not going to work if you write romantic suspense. You want it to look as professional as possible.
- Create a HOME page that teases the reader to delve deeper into your site. Give them only a little of the most important information with links to pages with more about each specific book.
- Make sure it’s easily navigated. Not sure how to do this? Ask someone over fifty with limited computer skills to check out your website. It needs to make sense. If you are going to have a separate page for each book, great! Then label each page accordingly. Separate page for each series? Same.
- Give the reader something new or different. That doesn’t mean to give away some swag, it means give them something interesting about you and/or your books. Your website is social media, be sociable. Talk about your work in progress, unique research into your last book, a quote from a great review.
- Be sure to have a Call to Action on every page. Ask yourself what you want them to do while on that page. Want them to sign up for your newsletter? Put a link to the sign up page. Buy the book on that page? Include your links to Buy Now button prominently and in a stand-out color. That reminds me, every book page should have the cover, blurb and excerpt of about 150 words. Include something interesting about this book.
- Make it sharable. Admittedly, I didn’t do this on mine but read this idea just yesterday. Create quotes and a Click to Tweet button. This makes it easy for readers to share your information socially, tying them to you and spreading your info to their friends.
- Deftly add key words to your headlines and first sentences. Search Engines read your headlines. You can also embed hidden key words into your headlines that SEOs will hit. Be sure these are words that people search for and then search for them yourself to see just how deep your website is. Once you find your site, be sure to click through the search engine to it. It raises your visibility within the SEO.
- Type your name into Google, Bing, etc. and see what comes up. It should be your website. This is also a good way to check to see what Search Engine Optimizers are doing with your name.
Increase your use of quality images. Nothing screams amateur louder than bad pictures. Keep in mind the larger the picture, the longer it may take to download and in the world of impatience, readers may give up and move on with a negative feeling toward you. Be sure to lock aspect ratio so you don’t get elongated features or squashed bodies. You can add a link so your readers post your pictures to their Pintrest boards, increasing your exposure. Be careful of copyrighted photos! (Speaking of Pintrest, thought I’d share here. Check out my Hunks and Junks board.)
- Fonts, bold, italic, colors all help keep the reader engaged. Direct mail houses have used these techniques for decades. Use them to highlight something important by drawing the eye and thus attention to it, but be careful not to overuse. Be sure to proofread every word and phrase. Nothing turns off a reader more than typos and bad grammar. (Fingers crossed I proofed this blog well.)
- Link everything together. Check all your author pages and be sure they are linked correctly to your website. Don’t forget Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, ARe, Fresh Fiction, The Romance Review, and anywhere else.
- Install Google Analytics and USE the information. The program is free and it tracks who visits your site.
Hope this has helped!