If you’ve successfully launched your website but are finding there are barely any visitors to your page and even fewer purchases of your book, it may be time to reassess your strategy. Attract readers to your site with the following six-step approach:
1. Offer your readers what they want
The number one feature of a magnetically-attracting author website is that it offers readers fantastic content. This means you post content that your readers find valuable. To do this you need to first identify your ideal reader. Put yourself in the mind of your reader: Ask yourself, why would this person purchase my book? What is about my book that appeals to them? What is about your book that this person is going to love? What is going to keep them turning pages and purchasing your future books? How could you offer this same value through your website? Look at the theme of your book. Whether it offers escapism, an adrenaline rush, knowledge or romance, you can offer the same through your website imagery, blog posts, videos and layout. If your book offers romance think about the images, related blog posts, updates and colors that match this. For fantasy think about how you can incorporate your world-setting into your site, images of dragons/wizards and blog post about your fantastical characters. Knowing what your readers want means that you can promote your site in ways that best appeal to them instead of pushing out content to an empty void. The better you know your readers and what appeals to them, the more successful your book marketing will be.
2. Make your site user-friendly
Is your website clear and easy to navigate? Is it appealing to your target audience? Too many authors spend valuable time trying to entice readers to their website only to lose them once they arrive. Have a friend (or someone unfamiliar with your site) look it over. Is it easy for them to get around? Can they find any information they need quickly? Do the menus offer a logical layout? Are there clear links to purchase your books? Is it easy to find contact information? Is your page error-free and well written? Outline the path a potential reader would take to navigate through your site. Ensure you’re not making any of these common mistakes.
3. Blog Consistently
Blogging is fantastic book marketing tool for a number of reasons: it establishes author credibility, it enables readers to become familiar with your work and it attracts new readers to your site. Consistent blogging means you are continually attracting a stream of potential new readers to your site with fresh, updated content. Readers love to get an intimate view into the life of their favorite authors, so why not yours? Take them through your process, your everyday struggles, or, just entertain them with a quick anecdote about your life. Show them some of the person-behind-the-story. Write about your favorite authors and your most cherished books. Remember to focus your content on what appeals to your readers. Link your blogs to your social media platforms to gain exposure. Research similar authors who have blogs and guest post on each other’s websites. Visit forums and post your blogs there. And lastly, encourage your established readers to post your blog links on their social media to spread the news to as many new sets of eyes as possible.
4. Leverage the Power of Social Media
Social media can be a powerful tool for reaching hundreds, if not thousands, of potential readers. To not spread yourself too thinly choose one or two social media channels where your readers are likely to be. Use these channels to promote your website content and connect with your readers. Keep the interest of your followers by making only one in every four posts self-promotional. Add hashtags to your posts and join in discussions around topics your readers are interested in.
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5. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques designed to push a site up the list of results returned by a search engine, increasing the site’s visibility and maximizing visitor numbers. It’s easy to get bogged down in the jargon of SEO but the overall goal is simply to make your site user-friendly, search-engine friendly and full of relevant and useful content that can be easily shared. To get started ensure that your headlines, sub-headlines, keywords and metadata (descriptions of your content and images) are relevant and appealing to your target audience. Likewise, your blog should be on-topic. Link to other sites. High-quality external links raise your authority, relevance and popularity. For easy actionable tips on SEO see the full article here.
6. Learn from your Analytics
Many writers steer away from analytics, preferring words over numbers. However, analytics can provide invaluable insights into your website strategy. A fantastic tool to start with is Google Analytics. This is a free program, easily installed on your author website. Google Analytics shows you:
- How many visitors your website is getting
- Where they are coming from
- What devices they are using to access your site
- The operating system they are using
- How long they stay on your site
- Which website pages are getting the most visitors
Reviewing your analytics regularly will enable you to see which pages and content are attracting readers. Based on this you can tweak or completely overhaul your approach.
This six-step approach to attracting readers can be put into place quickly and within a few weeks you'll begin to see an increase in website traffic. Yet, the real value lies in consistently building rapport with your readers. A well-planned SEO strategy, a library of interesting blog posts and a solid social media presence can't be built overnight. Taking a long-term approach to your book marketing will enable you to build a loyal reader base that continues to grow throughout your writing career.