How many times have I heard someone say “Author Websites don’t work”?
But the fact is, they do. Successful websites and blogs earn millions in revenue every month. So, if your website is not bringing you sales, change what you’re doing, because your Author Website is a powerful selling tool with the potential to become your best source of income.
The first thing to change about your site is not the logo, the layout or the content, the first thing to change is your own mindset.
Too many writers view their website as a necessary evil, a damned expense or an outright nuisance. But they are missing an opportunity to expand their brand, and earn income doing what they are best at, writing.
Become a brand via your author website
Yup Dave. That sounds easy, NOT.
Ok, so it’s not easy, but if you make a plan and stick to it, then it’s not that hard either. Apply some self discipline—set yourself some rules.
- Apply writing goals for your blog, be realistic about what you can achieve consistently. A post a week? No not enough. A post a day? Yes or at least two posts a week.
- Decide what it is you’re selling, your book, your brand, your service. Then stay on target, make that the focus of each and every post you write but be subtle. Readers want you to entertain them not sell to them.
- Become a Social Media Whore, open social media accounts that you will use as an author. Build as large a presence as you can, and make your website the target for every social media post.
- Repeat – repeat – repeat. The more content you have on your site, the more opportunities you have to encourage visitors to your site. Write at least two posts per week. If you want to be really effective, make it a post a day. Set a writing target and stick to it. View this as part of your writing day.
- Your own website is still the cheapest way to advertise. But remember also that advertising will only work if it is well presented and it is seen so get your posts out there via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked-In and whatever other platforms you can. Attach your website URL to every piece of work you submit and ensure editors are including it if they use your work.
- Pay attention to images. Don’t use images produced on a mobile phone. Author images and book cover images need to be pin sharp. Featured images for posts need to clean and attractive and make sure your images work on social media.
- Build a following and stay in touch with them. Do not allow people to come onto your site and then leave without offering them the opportunity to register or sign-up to a newsletter. A mailing list is invaluable, it is a source of potential customers for your next book or service so grow it and leverage it.
- What you post and what posts work best will change as your focus changes, but each new post is an opportunity to build a following and an opportunity to monetise your website.
Use your author website to market your brand and make money?
Use your website to build pre-sales for your next book. If you are launching a book in three months time, there is little point in telling your audience about it when it is out and going stale. Think three months in advance, have your covers designed and ready and have your selling links in place so you can take orders.
Promote your service: Show visitors what you do and make the content clean and clear, have easy to find, visible links where visitors can book your service. Show testimonials from satisfied customers or readers.
Promote your posts. The cheapest way for most authors to promote themselves is through social media. So open accounts across as many platforms as you can comfortably manage and work them to your advantage. Make these accounts for your writing only, remember, these accounts are about YOU not about you. Keep them separate from your personal accounts.
Promote every post on your website across all social media. Remember, those who follow you on Facebook or Twitter do so for a reason. They are more likely to buy your work than those who know nothing about you.
Off-set your spend on advertising. To make some extra income from your site, you might consider using your white space to advertise other peoples products. Affiliate marketing is one option to consider. Take a look at Amazon’s affiliate program or consider Google Adsense as a way of monetising your site.
Dave Kavanagh is the managing editor of The Blue Nib and the owner of websspun.com web design agency