Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week I am looking at Your Website.
In today’s world it is virtually a necessity to have a website. Businesses large and small have a website. These sites can be just the basic few or multiple pages consisting of 20 or more pages. The TR-indbkstores website is a multiple page site that will undoubtedly grow as my wife writes and publishes her books.
Here we will begin with the basic website and then add to it.
Tip #1: Having a website is a virtual necessity. It is the primary way people get to know you.
That’s an important fact you need to remember. It is true that having a presence on FaceBook, Twitter, and other Social Media enables people to learn about you. But a website is like a hub. When a person comes to your website they have access to your social media, blogs, and whatever else you have out there to inform your potential readers about yourself.
So the first thing you need to do is buy yourself a domain name. Since the names of hosts change from time to time I suggest you Google ‘domain hosts’. One of the hosts you’ll spot is Godaddy.com which is what we have used in the past. But there are competitors who are probably just as good and possibly better.
As you consider the domain name you want to buy ask yourself the following:
How do I want people to remember me?
For example, you may have written only one book and have no intention to write another. This could lead you to choosing the book title as your website or domain name. This would bring the potential reader’s attention squarely upon the book.
Or perhaps you have or will write more than one book. A book title would then be too restrictive. So you might want to use your Author’s name. I used R. Frederick Riddle, my author’s name, and bought the domain rfrederickriddle.com. This served me for many years until my wife and I formed our company. The point is that you want your website to reflect who you are and what you do.
Tip #2: Your website should reflect who you are and what you do.
Once you start writing more than one book your emphasis changes. You now want your author’s name to become known, thus having your website named after you both promotes your name and benefits from your name. For years I used rfrederickriddle.com and learned some valuable lessons in the process.
So let’s dive into the Basic Web page.
Different people will have different ideas about the Basic Web page. Some think only a single page will do, others believe you need at least three pages. I favor the latter. Let’s take a look.
1 – Home Page: This page is where most people will land when they Google your author’s name. Technically they should land there by Googling your author’s name, any of your books (unless you have separate pages for them), your business name (if you have a business), and your picture or book picture that appears elsewhere (for example, your blog).
The Home Page and every page should be clean and not overly crowded. Always keep in mind that viewers on the Internet read from left to write, top down, and, finally back up to the right corner. Think of it as a ‘V’.
Your most important information should be ‘Above the Fold’. This term refers to the bottom of the viewable website as the ‘fold’. When a person lands on your site you want them to immediately see your most valuable information.
Tip #3: The visible portion of the Home Page upon landing there should be ‘Above the Fold’ where it will clearly be seen.
It’s recommended that you have a picture of yourself in the upper left corner so that potential readers immediately see it. The picture should be linked to your Biography Page or your Amazon Central page.
You could have a brief column in which you highlight moments of your life, books you’ve written, or plans for the future. Don’t use this for your biography; we’ll get to that later.
Depending on size of the pictures you could have a marquee of book covers that rotates cover to cover at the top. On our website the pictures are larger so we have them at the bottom of the page.
2 – About Page – This page is for the biography of your life as it pertains to being an author. It’s not recommended you talk about growing up, etc. unless that relates to your book(s). Emphasize the information regarding your writing career. If you’ve won awards this is a good time to mention that.
You will also want a picture of yourself. While it can be the same as the one on the Home Page, consider using another picture of yourself. You might want the picture to be less formal than the one on the Home Page.
Don’t forget to link your picture to either another location you’d like the reader to go (such as Amazon Central or to your Book Page).
Tip #4: On your About Page link to your Amazon Central site or to your Book Page.
3 – Book Page – If you only have three pages then I recommend the Book Page be it, otherwise it could be your fourth or fifth page. The name ‘Book Page’ is only used here as an indicator. You might want to name it something else, such as ‘My Books’, ‘Author’s Books’, or something else.
Aside from the Book Cover this is a good time to include a description of the book and its story. Writing your description takes just as much talent and commitment as writing the story itself, just not as long.
The Book Cover and the description Title should be linked to a Sales Page discussed below. You don’t want to miss any opportunity for a possible sale.
These are basics, but your host’s basic package may allow you more that only three pages. Godaddy allows more menu items or pages than three plus up to two submenu pages for each main menu page. See the TR-indbkstores.com site and you’ll see what I mean. The cost of this package is very low, in my opinion, yet allows you plenty of pages to work with. Whenever looking at a possible host be sure to find out how many pages you’re allowed.
It is important that you have a Call-to-Action on your Book Page. I recommend you have it at least twice. The first would be above the description and to the right with a button such as ‘Buy Now’ taking the potential buyer to the Sales Page. The second button would be at the bottom and to the right below the description.
Tip 5: It is important to have a Call-to-Action on your Book Page. Recommend one at top right, and one at bottom right.
#4 – Store Page. If your site will be an eCommerce website, you’ll need a secure page. Make sure the host offers that. You can use virtually any eCommerce financial institution from banks to PayPal. I originally wanted to have a Sales page right on my site and decided to go with PayPal. Earlier with my rfrederickriddle.com site I’d used a banking service. Either are excellent. When checking out your preferences ask questions, don’t take anything for granted.
If you choose Amazon or another venue as the point of sale you won’t need a Store Page. Use links from pictures, Titles, etc.
It is important that you have a Call-to-Action.
#5 – Media Page. You want reporters and other media types to visit your website. But they are busy, so a little consideration will go a long way with them. On the Media Page you want a picture of yourself or the book (if only one). You also want to have links to your Social Media sites (FaceBook, Twitter, etc.), Book Page, About Page, and anywhere else you want them to go.
#6 – Privacy Page. If you’re selling products on your website, then it is necessary to have a Privacy Page. Here you can assure them that their information is safe with you. See below for a sample.
#7 – Blog. Do you blog? You should definitely consider it. You can blog on writing, other book related topics, or something altogether different. Whatever you blog make it consistent and informative. The blog should be linked back to your website and to your Social Media.
Moreover you should have a Blog Page. I blog at rfrederickriddleblog.com on WordPress. My website is now attached to the blog and everything is right there.
Tip #6: Blog, blog, blog. It helps get your name out there. Either have it on your website or have an RSS feed on your website.
#8 – Update your website regularly. The bots that search your website for the search engines love fresh material. I recommend you update your material at least monthly.
Updating is little more than refreshing your site. You don’t have to completely rewrite the posts on the site. Tweak the text, change pictures, add material so that it has a fresh look and feel.
We update our Home Page at least monthly and other pages not quite so often. And whenever a new book is published we update the website with appropriate information.
#9 – Promote your website wherever possible. Consider having a link on your FaceBook Business Page to the website. You can also link from other Social Media outlets. And if you have a blog have a link from every blog you publish to the website. Plus, use Business Cards.
#10 – Social Media. I’ve mentioned Social Media several times. You have a number of choices:
Facebook – Probably #1 in popularity.
Instagram – Can be used for promotion, customer service, etc.
LinkedIn – Mostly B-to-B; great for connecting with other authors
Pinterest – Good for promoting your book
Twitter – Probably #2 in popularity.
YouTube – Strong mailing list platform, getting subscribers, marketing your book(s), etc.
I don’t suggest trying to do all the Social Media, but several would work. I have accounts in all of the Social Media mentioned above but am seriously looking to concentrate on a few like FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube while I may dabble in the others.
For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).
VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), or Battle at Proxima Centauri. I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at email@example.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).
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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.