Your HomeDynamics of a Successful Book Lesson 6
Your website is your home
Once you’ve created a spark of interest out there on the highways and byways of the real and digital worlds, where do you bring your potential readers to learn more about you and your message? You bring them to your website; in the digital world, that’s your home.
Steve Spillman, Founder, True Potential
“Create a website that expresses something about who you are that won’t fit into the template available to you on a social networking site.”
If you’re an author or planning to be an author, you need to have your own website. Think of your website as your digital home.
Social Media platforms are great. They allow you to “go out” into the digital world, share your message and interact with others. But think of Social Media platforms as public places, like the mall. They’re a great place to shop, meet your friends, make new friends, share your ideas and learn some new ideas, but they’re not your home. You own your home and you make your own rules there. Other people own Social Media platforms; you can join and take advantage of what they have to offer, but they make the rules, and they can “un-join” you if they choose.
Your strategy should be to use Social Media to share your ideas, gain friends, fans and followers, and then invite them “home” to your website to share your ideas at greater length (blog), to invite them to deepen the relationship (mailing list) and to sell your book!
If selling your book and establishing yourself as an author is important to you, then having your own website is a requirement. You can build your own website or have one professionally built, but beware, all websites aren’t equal. Your site must promote you as an author, share your message, increase your audience and sell books!
If you don’t have a website, it’s pretty easy to set up a simple website yourself for free or for a nominal monthly fee. It takes time and work and learning, but that’s the price for “free.”
I only recommend WordPress as a website platform. To start your own, for free, go to www.wordpress.com. Eventually, you’ll want to upgrade to a “self-hosted” WordPress website (wordpress.org), which I recommend, for not much money. wpbeginner.com is a great resource for WordPress beginners.
There’s another website platform called WIX www.wix.com that you can start for free and then upgrade ($14.99 per month). Some of our authors have used WIX and their sites seem to be pretty, but again, I recommend WordPress.
All websites are not created equal.
Your local butcher’s website may be great for the butcher, but not for you as an author. Before you or someone you hire begin building your website, understand what the website is supposed to accomplish. For authors, there are four basic reasons for your site to exist:
- Promote your book.
- Share your thoughts and receive comments from your audience.
- Allow readers to purchase your book and e-book.
- Serve as a portal to and from other places (Social Media)
I recommend the pages and capabilities below for any author website. These are included in each author website we build:
- Home Page
- About Page (the author’s bio and reason for the book)
- Book page (cover illustration, blurb, sample the book, buy buttons for print and digital editions)
- Blog (author’s blog integrated into the site)
- Contact Page (form for readers/viewer to send secure comments to the author without posting the author’s e-mail).
- Endorsements Page (where fan endorsements and articles/blog posts about the book are displayed.
- Links Page (where links relative to your work or the book are available)
- Social Media integration (Like, Share, Tweet integration, plus auto-post to Social Media – your blog posts automatically post to your Facebook and Twitter pages).
The only way to know how many people visit your website is to have an analytics tool installed on your website.
The most popular, by far, is Google Analytics. It’s free, installs super easy on WordPress, and it has all the power of Google behind it.
An analytics tool will tell you just about everything regarding your site’s activity:
- how many visitors
- which pages they’re visiting
- how long they’re staying on your site
- where they live
- their demographic
Without analytics, you’re flying blind when it comes to your website traffic.
If you build your own site, include an analytics tool. If you have a website professional build your site, be sure it includes an analytics tool and be sure your website professional shows you how to use it.
Here’s a great tutorial for how to install Google Analytics on your website: https://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-install-google-analytics-in-wordpress/
Don’t have an author website yet?
- Visit https://www.wpbeginner.com/start-a-wordpress-blog/. Read the post, watch the video, start your free WordPress website.
Already have an author website?
- Do you have the pages I’ve listed above on your website?
- If any of those pages are empty or old, update them.
- Can your book be purchased directly from your site or a link on your site?
- Do you have an analytics tool like Google Analytics installed?
- How many page views are you receiving each month?
Hey! Do you have a question for me about this lesson? I’d love to give you an answer! Just scroll down to the comment section below and ask away.
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