Do you wish book marketing would just magically happen? We’d rather focus on writing than try to figure out how to sell them. Sady, book sales don’t just happen. We have to do the work. Which is why we should discuss having an author website.
One of our favorite ways to build an audience and sell more books is by maintaining an active author website. You may think that you don’t have time, but when you understand the benefits an author site can bring, you might consider making the time.
Here are a few of the benefits we like:
- Generate more sales. Statistics show that authors with active websites sell 3 times more than who do no not have one or do not keep it updated.
- Know what keywords are best. Google Analytics is a free powerful tool in helping know what words your target audience is typing to come to your site. You can use these keywords in so many ways: make your Amazon product or author page search engine optimized, make your site rank higher in Google, write your next book…
- Create a downloadable version: Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other bookstores are great. They help you sell your books. But they do take a big chunk of your revenue from books. So eliminate the middleman and sell your book directly from your site. This strategy is successful for more established authors.
- Create products related to your book. Mug, T-shirts, temporary tattoos, custom, fabric bookmarks. Sky’s the limit.
- Attract new book buyers. Amaze them with your content and they will be more inclined to buy your book(s). There is a saying common in the business community, “people buy from people who they know, like and trust.” Therefore you have to make your potential book fans go through that process of knowing you, liking you and buying from you.
- Help you cultivate a community. Websites with a blog can be a two-way discussion when you encourage comments and respond to them.
- Be an integral part of your social media strategy. We view websites as the heart of your social media strategy. Each new post/page you write should be shared across your networks. Also, install a plug-in that will let you display your fans on Facebook.
- Create new alliances. By inviting blog guests to contribute to your blog, you can build a powerful network of support.
- List all your book signing/reading events. Don’t leave your fans guessing what you are up to. Show them that you take your author career seriously.
- Create an email list. Without a website, it is next to impossible to create a list of potential buyers.
- Attract media attention. When you blog about timely topics, don’t be surprised when you hear from reporters and producers. They turn to Google to find sources for their stories, and a site can help them find you. This ties in with the earlier point of making your site search engine optimized.
Ways to Increase Website Traffic and Sell More Books
Website traffic doesn’t happen overnight, but with consistent effort, your author site can build momentum with time. Following are few proven ways to accelerate the process, increase traffic, engage readers, and inspire book sales, in other words, search engine optimized.
- Know Your Audience. Your site should entertain or inform your target audience. Find out what motivates them and create content they care about. Turn to your Google Analytics data and review it on a weekly basis, if not daily. Combine data from Google Webmaster, another free service.
- Write Captivating Blog Titles. The most important element of any blog post that you write is a great title. You want to hook potential readers so that they will click through to keep reading. Study blog titles on popular blogs to see how they make them more enticing.
- Call-to-Action. Ask for the Sale. At the bottom of each blog post, mention your book and include a link to purchase.
- Share on Social Media. Share each new blog post across your social media networks. Include the post title with a link to continue reading on your site.
- Promote via Email. Summarize your recent blog posts in your e-newsletter by including the title, first paragraph, and a link to keep reading on your site.
- Increase Blog Frequency. Ideally, you should update your blog at least twice a week, and the more you post, the more traffic you can expect to receive.
- Feature Guest Contributors. Invite others to contribute content to your blog, including industry experts, readers, and peers. Once their post is featured, ask them to share with their networks. To streamline the process, create submission forms on your site.
- Include Social Sharing Buttons. Make it easy for your readers to promote your blog posts by including social media sharing buttons. The major blog platforms each offer free plug-ins for these.
- Optimize Posts for Search. Add a keyword phrase to the alt tag and description for each post to boost search engine optimization. Hint: Incorporate the phrase into the title of the post and then copy that title into the keyword fields.
- Include Photos and Graphics. Images make blog posts more visually appealing to readers, and will make your posts look more professional when shared on social media sites because the photo will appear with the post preview. I strongly recommend adding a photo to every blog post. Make sure to use royalty-free images.
- Feature Related Posts. At the end of each new blog post, it can be beneficial to link to previous blog posts. You can summarize these yourself or WordPress users can install the Yet Another Related Posts plug-in, which will automatically serve up links to related content based on keyword tags.
- Scale it. Pay attention to the activity generated by each of your blog posts, noting which posts get the most traffic, comments, retweets, etc., and which ones fall flat. Do more of what works!