Do you have an effective author website? (sponsored post)

FTC disclosure: this post is a sponsored post provided by our advertiser, Jamie’s Notebook. Jamie’s Notebook “gives you a voice with the written word” through providing consulting, writing and coaching services.

MTAR author websites

If you’re an author, especially one who is self-published, you know there’s so much more involved than simply writing the book. You must help market your book and establish a platform including several forms of online communications. The most vital online platform for an author—or any small business—is your website.

Let’s talk about what a successful author website entails.

Four key components for a successful author website

Be easy to navigate – Your reader shouldn’t have to think about where to go next. It should be like second nature. If your website is cluttered or complicated, it will confuse and distract your reader. The way you place your pages and icons should be similar to other websites.

Be search engine friendly – Your website should be search engine friendly through links, plugins, or keywords. People find your website through search engine optimization (SEO). People finding your website means they’re more likely to buy what you’re selling.

It’s also important to link areas of your website to other areas. For example, if you mention a book you’ve written in your blog post, link it back to your “Books/Writings” page where the reader can buy the book. The more fresh content you provide, the better your SEO.

Have a clear call to action – Think beyond the typical “buy my book” message. Make sure every page and blog have a distinct call to action with a link. Calls to action can also be on the side columns of your website, which could include “call us,” “connect to us,” or a download.

Be clear in how you can solve the visitor’s problem – Clearly tell your visitor how you can help them and how you are the best choice. In this case, the problem is most likely needing to find your specific kind of book. Write interestingly, but don’t sacrifice clarity to sound unique or clever. Stay away from jargon. If you aren’t sure if your reader will understand the lingo, break it down into simpler, everyday terms.

Now that we’ve discussed overall qualities of a successful website, let’s learn about the four key parent pages your author website will need. These are by far not the only pages you might need, but it gives you the appropriate starting place.

Five key parent pages for an author website

Parent pages are the main navigation pages you see in the menu at the top of the website. You should have five to seven parent pages. Below are the most common and most vital to a successful author website.

Home – The home page should tell very clearly what you do, what you can do for them, and a call to action. You only have a few seconds to capture and keep the visitor’s attention. Keep it simple. Too much information causes clutter and will turn them away.

About – This page should primarily be the author’s bio. It’s important to make sure to show how you are qualified to write the books you wrote.Your bio shouldn’t sound like it came from a documentary. Show your humanity and make people want to read about you! I wrote this blog a couple years ago about writing a professional bio that might help you.

Books/Writings – This is where you can list your books, short stories and other writings. For your viewer’s convenience, you should have images of your book covers with links to purchase the books. If it’s right there in front of them, they’ll be more inclined to buy it as opposed to having to look it up on Google or Amazon first.

Blog – Blogging more frequently will improve your SEO, but it’s more important to have quality over quantity. An author website should have a blog that includes everything from other writings not showcased on the Books/Writings tab and information about upcoming events like book signings.

Contact – The contact page should include your phone number, mailing address, social media and a contact form. Contact forms make it easiest for visitors to get ahold of you.

With some strategically planned and simple content, your website can showcase your work in its best light and bring in more traffic and revenue.

Are you unsure of your website? If you want to make sure that it is conveying the right message, contact me today!

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