As a successful author, your website will serve as one of the primary hubs for your career because it offers a stable, appealing nexus for your news, updates, schedule, promo content, articles, publicity, and more. You must have a dedicated site, and it needs to be the best site you can possibly offer.
Decide what you want your site to accomplish, and establish a measure of success for your site so that you can tailor the design and content appropriately. At a minimum, your website needs to be:
- easy to navigate.
- attractive and appealing.
- consistent and coherent.
- up to date, accurate, and informative.
Your website should become the literal point of reference for anyone with questions about you and your work, so don’t scatter unnecessary roadblocks and hurdles before them. Foreground the popular information and content. Ensure that researchers can find useful details quickly and easily.
You have books to write, so you don’t want to waste all your time generating content for your online presence. The easy solution is to divide your web presence into two modes: static and dynamic. You need both, but they take different kinds of strategy to produce and maintain.
Static content will be updated least often, but consequently needs to be produced with ruthless, impeccable skill and polished into magic. This includes your bio, online press kit, and the pages for each of your books and/or series. These elements exist as permanent fixtures visitors will treat as informative, trustworthy resources when they have a question about your work as a whole. Their relative permanence means every second you invest pays off.
Dynamic content will be short, timely, and topical, and will often relate to your current project and goals. You’ll want to add dates to these pages and articles so visitors know when you posted them. Examples would be your blog, social media feeds, contest pages, book launches, and event promotions. Treat this material as high-impact, high-energy perishable goods. They’re:
- best when fresh and calculated to elicit strong, swift reactions from visitors, and encouraging them to check in with you early and often.
- useful after the fact as a source of nostalgia and a spur to keep tabs on your latest adventures.
An A-game website supports both types of content, allowing you to express your expertise, offer valuable content, and motivate fans to communicate with you and each other. Remember: you’re in the content business. Offering killer value to anyone who comes looking teaches them to trust your talent and share you with their friends.
Search engines seek out fresh content: feed them! You should update your site as often as possible with dynamic content that offers value and emotional appeal.
Pay attention to what interests your readers. In 2012, Facebook did a study of customer interaction with brand pages and discovered something powerful: whether companies want shares, likes, or comments on posts, users engage most with content related to a brand rather than discussing the brand.[i] To connect with your readers, show them why your interests overlap rather than telling them to buy things from you.
© 2016 Damon Suede & Heidi Cullinan, All Rights Reserved
[i] “Page Publishing that Drives Engagement.” Referenced in Mack Collier, Think like a Rock Star. p. 50.