Part of an effective acim marketing campaign is a website – after all, what is the first thing people do when they hear of something interesting and they want information? They “Google” it. Your internet presence needs to grab the potential reader the same way the opening chapter of your book does. Your site should look professional, be informative, and be easy for people to find. But how to do all that? A single page provided by your publisher or P.O.D. printer is not enough.
There are many ways to get a website, from custom designed solutions to do-it-yourself sites. The most effective time- and money-saving solution for authors is a complete managed website. With a managed website you choose a professional design from a selection of templates, then have it customized for you. You get a domain name, your website hosting, and professional site updates all in one package. No software to learn, no time spent building it, and no huge custom design fees. These strong, professional sites are that easy – the only time you’ll need to spend is in organizing what information you want on the site, and these three tips will help you prepare.
As an author, it is recommended that you register up to three domain names for your site. If you used a P.O.D. provider for your book, you may have chosen a publishing name (Backyard Books, or Patio Press, etc.), and you should register that as a domain. Register your own name (or pen name) as well, because people often search for a site by author name. Then, of course, you’ll want to register the title of the book. The domains can be set to go to specific pages within your site, so I recommend using the publishing name (if you have one) as your main site, with the other names going to pages in your site that are specifically about the book or about you. If you don’t have a publishing name, use your author name as the main site. The book’s domain name will go directly to the page on the site about the book. If you write more books, you can then add them to your site under your publishing name or author name, each book with it’s own page within the site. Your site can then promote your new books as well as your back catalog, and will continue to grow with you.
Your home page will immediately present your new book, as well as having links to the rest of the site. Promotional excerpts, quotes and pictures of the book should greet visitors to your site. Other pages you will want to add include the above-mentioned author page (your bio, picture, etc.) and a page dedicated to this specific book. Including a sample chapter is often a very effective means of drawing readers in to purchase your book, and of course images of the cover art will need to be included.
If you are selling your book yourself, you will need an order page set up so people can purchase the book right from your site. If your P.O.D. or other booksellers are selling the book, your order page should include links directly to the page at their site where your book can be purchased.
You may want to include a page for press releases and book reviews, as well as endorsements. If you don’t have many of these yet, you can always wait to include this page until you have a few to add. It can give the wrong impression if you have a full page dedicated to a single accolade – better to wait until your book has garnered several notable quotes before giving them their own page. In the mean time, you can always position quotes and review snippets throughout the other pages of your site.
Include any other pages you think are relevant, but remember to write. You’re a writer, after all – provide your website builder with real content for your pages. Be clear, be concise, and remember to mention the title of the book and the topics involved in your text. If you wrote a story set in the world of motorcycle racing, for example, be sure to speak about the sport in your site’s content. Search engines, like Google, will be reading every word on your pages, so you want to feed them the words that people will actually use to try to find your book.