A month or so ago, I had a one-hour phone consultation with Thomas Umstattd at Authormedia.com. This site offers Web guidance for authors and provides a number of fee-based services to make the most of one’s Web presence. Tom asked a lot of questions and talked through my author website and my marketing strategy (or lack thereof).
What I learned wasn’t all that surprising. I’m not doing nearly enough online to promote myself as an author. He said my website didn’t even rank on Alexa.com (I had no idea what that was). I checked this morning, and now I rank.
Now that I’m informed, I’m taking steps to improve. Because other authors (or really anyone trying to do online marketing) may be in the same boat, I’m happy to pass on some important things I learned (Authormedia.com didn’t pay me to say any of this).
1. Purchase the Domain for Your Name
Tom advised me to go buy the domain for AdamBlumer.com pronto. And if you check, not only is it purchased (I use 1and1.com for my domains) but it points to AdamBlumerBooks.com. That’s one item checked off my lengthy list.
Why is it important to buy your name’s domain? Tom said that some of his authors have had a terrible experience. Someone purchased their name domain and said bad things about them. Not good. Now nobody can buy AdamBlumer.com and say nasty things about me there.
2. Improve Your Website’s Home Page
The “welcome letter” on a home page is a thing of the past. Visitors will not read paragraphs of text. For a home page to be effective, it should simply offer some nice promo graphics and a clear “call to action” (I heard this expression a lot). If visitors want more, such as the author’s bio, they can always click site navigational buttons and go to other pages.
What does an effective home page look like? See BrandilynCollins.com, for example. You’ll see a very simple home page (notice no sidebars or columns) with sharp graphics, very simple elements, and a clear call to action. The home page is more than pretty pictures of the author. Here’s a breakdown.
Simple graphic elements: name, author’s photo, latest book cover graphic, book trailer, endorsements.
Clear call to action: “buy now.” Notice the graphic buttons to Barnes and Noble and Amazon for easy purchasing.
Another good idea is to clearly invite readers to sign up for your e-mail list. To entice them to sign up, offer a freebie of some kind as an incentive. This could be a free e-book download or something else that’s of value to the visitor. I’m working on developing something like that. Tom said building my e-mail list is one of the most important things I can do.
3. Stay Away from Blogger.com
I need to read up on what exactly the problem is, but apparently you get more social “points” or something or other if you blog from WordPress.org (or WordPress.com). So the advice to me was that I should be blogging at AdamBlumerBooks.com (which is a self-hosted WordPress.org site), not AdamBlumer.blogspot.com. I’ve been making the transition.
WordPress.org also allows articles to be tagged in ways Blogger.com doesn’t. For this reason, the articles are more friendly to search engines and easier to find; therefore, they invite more traffic. A win-win for everyone.
4. Improve Blog Articles
I’ve taken steps to improve my blog articles, which I’ve been writing on Fridays this year. Here are some tips I learned to make the articles more readable and friendly to the eye:
- * Make paragraphs no more than four or five lines tall.
- * Introduce more graphics and bold headings to break up the text, providing visual relief.
- * Use a number in the title: “5 Easy Steps to . . . ” or “4 Ways to . . .” For some reason, the Web adores articles like this.
Other Interesting Tips
- * If you have a Reading Group Guide for a book, post it prominently. Make it pretty (a PDF file is fine) with a button for easy visual access.
- * Make sub pages for web pages that have a lot of content. For example, my books page should (and now does) have sub pages by book, then sub pages for content such as Book Trailers, Reviews, and so forth.
- * Read the books InBound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Tribes by Seth Godin.
What about you? If you’ve found success promoting your web presence, what advice have you found to be most effective?
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