The foundation for all author promotion and platform building revolves around an author website. Today, however, you only need a blog because this type of content management system serves all your website needs and it’s easily managed by most writers once designed and “live.” Yet, your author website must work for you; it must accomplish your goals. If it does nothing more than take up space on the internet and your time and energy, it doesn’t serve you (or anyone else) in any way.
Your author website should function as the main station, or hub, of all your online and offline marketing efforts. As your home on the internet, you want it to drive traffic—potential book buyers, clients and customers—to you and to provide a way for visitors to get to know you, your books and your products and services.
Take a close look at your site to see if it accomplishes these goals.
Nonfiction Writing Prompt #34: Evaluate Your Author Website
To complete this prompt, answer the following 25 questions as you review your blog or website.
- Does your blog or website accurately reflect how you want visitors and readers to perceive you as an author or authorpreneur?
- Does your blog or website have an attractive banner?
- Does your site banner features your name and a tagline that quickly and effectively tells visitors what benefit you offer them?
- When someone visits your blog or website, will they know in 10 seconds or less what you do or offer and what type of books you write?
- Does your blog or website carry out a brand you created for yourself?
- Does your blog or website feature an “About” page in the navigation bar?
- Does your blog or website’s “About” page offer information about the site, you, your books, and your products and services?
- Does your blog or website have individual pages in the navigation bar that feature your books, products and services and that provide buy buttons or links to where they can be purchased?
- Does your blog or website have a way for visitors to subscribe to an email list or newsletter of some sort?
- Does your website have a blog that is part of the site itself, not linked?
- Is your site created with blog technology, preferably WordPress.org?
- Does your blog focus on the topics, themes or subject matter of your books?
- Do you blog at least twice a week?
- Do you respond to comments on your blog?
- Does your blog or website provide a way for blog readers to subscribe to posts, preferably via your email marketing system, such as aweber.com?
- Are you offering a free product to compel visitors to sign up for your mailing list?
- Does your blog or website feature “shareware,” or ways for visitors to follow you on social networks?
- Does each blog post have shareware so readers can share posts on their favorite social networks?
- Does your blog or website prominently feature your books?
- Does your blog or website tell visitors where you are speaking or appearing or where you have in the past?
- Does your blog or website provide a call to action, at least in each blog posts?
- Do you own your blog or website or is it hosted by a free site like WordPress.com, Blogger.com, or Typepad.com?
- Do you regularly update your blog or website?
- Do you regularly update your blog’s plugins, themes, etc.?
- Do you use analytics on your site, and do you track them to see if your site is gaining new unique visitors?
If you answered “Yes” to all 25 questions, you are doing a great job with your author website. It rocks! You’ve got a brand and are sending out a clear message on a regular basis. It’s working for you and you are making it work, which should bring you readers, customers and clients.
If you answered, “Yes, to 12 to 15 of the 25 questions, your blog or website has a fairly strong brand and is in pretty good shape. You need to fine tune a few areas of your author website to make it work harder for you, be more efficient and to ensure your message comes across loud and clear. This will help you and your books succeed.
If you only answered “Yes” to 9 to 12 of the questions, you’ve got some work ahead of you. Your author website is likely not achieving the results you’d like, nor will it until you do some redesigning and refocusing. Visitors aren’t “getting it” when they show up and, therefore, probably won’t buy books, products or services. In fact, they likely click away pretty quickly. It’s time for a redesign or at least a major update. You want to consider branding, a blog plan and a general strategy for your site.
If your affirmative answers fell below 9, the likelihood is that visitors to your author website click away within about 10 seconds of arriving—if they ever arrive. You need to develop a brand or clear message and carry that out with banners, titles and tag lines, colors—branding. You need to develop a blog strategy, and generally redesign your site so it attracts book buyers, blog readers, customers, and clients. If you don’t, the site will continue to not accomplish your goals.
For more information on how to create nonfiction book ideas that are marketable and that support your writing goals, join the NFWU. When you do, you’ll receive this month’s Nonfiction Writers’ University (NFWU) homework assignment, which contains more exercises and information on this topic. Plus, you’ll have access to the growing archive of past homework assignments and NFWU event recordings as well as some introductory gifts worth more than the membership! Members also get additional bonuses during the year.
Next NFWU event: FREE teleseminar on 8/20 at 5 pm PT: Finding Creativity in Planning with Nina Amir. Register here. (No membership required.)
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