As a professional or amateur author, you have a website already live or are in the planning stages of creating one. Whether you’re one of Australia’s most popular authors or just starting to hone your craft, I cannot express enough how vital it is to have a website as an author and as a business. If you want to sell— books, yourself, products, whatever— then you need to have a website. Even if your debut novel isn’t coming out for another three years, it pays to set up your website now as longevity is something that contributes to positive SEO.
Make sure that your website looks great and keep the design simple so that it’s easy for people to navigate. If your website has fluorescent pink Times New Roman font on a black background, or if your website looks like any of these ugly sites, it’s time to invest in a web designer. 38% of consumers will stop engaging with content that is unattractive in imagery or layout.
Here are some easy to implement tips to ensure your site is a standout author channel and will help you sell books, get the interest of a publisher or literary agent and develop a fan base.
'What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though,’ J.D. Salinger.
Web pages to add
'Not all marketing people are writers, but all writers must learn to be marketers,' Joanne Kraft.
Other features to add to your author website
Examples of great author websites:
You might like to consider studying and reviewing these Australian authors' websites for inspiration and guidance. They all have great design and well written information about being an author and their books. If you’re finding it quite hard to write about yourself (even writers have that trouble), don’t hesitate to get in contact and I will help write your website.
Need a freelance copywriter? Hire me today.
One of the most make or break things about professional writing is the structure and it absolutely pays to get it right.
Structure is the order of ideas. More specifically, when it comes to professional communication and writing, it's about looking at the way your assets are structured. Learning the fundamentals of structure are incredibly important so that you can apply it to your own writing and achieve successful results.
Building block questions
In every piece of writing, you need to look at the basic storytelling building block questions that are to be answered in the research phase. These answers to these fundamental questions will form the basis of the information of your piece of writing.
In addition to these building block questions, it pays to be clear on the following aspects of structure:
Ten writing tips for structuring your work
You may also like... How to perfect your content articles.
Do you want to increase website traffic and improve your website?
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Each website review will be customised to your chosen website but may include suggestions such as:
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Don't forget to read my blog post on increasing your web traffic here.
As we’ve looked at previously, writing well is a key player in drawing in more customers and leads via organic searches.
If you’re not getting the organic traffic that you expect, it’s likely time to start including better written content on your site. To do this, it’s essential to know what Google determines as good content. You'll need to know what to avoid, how to make it engaging and readable to your target audience with an insight to the importance of setting business goals in order for marketing success!
72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. (Ascend2, 2015).
In this article we’re discussing great content. Content can mean a number of things in marketing but in this article I am focusing on discussing content articles, which are online articles that are informative and well written but as they are often commissioned by a business an organisation, they play a part in the sales process. They are not as obvious and glaring as advertorials, they are more closely related to editorial. Although not overtly “salesy” they can occasionally contain bias and will avoid mentioning competitors. We’ll also touch on static website copy (all the other text that sits on your website) and the part that plays in sales and conversions.
Before you consider creating exciting features or content for your website, brainstorm your business goals and what you want to happen when people visit your website. To get the results you desire, set marketing goals from the outset in order to develop an effective marketing strategy that is easy to follow and execute. Identifying clear goals and your “why” will help you understand the motivation behind every marketing activity and help you simplify your decisions.
If your goal is to increase sales, you might consider in your plan to focus on having a user friendly site with clear calls to action to increase conversion rate. Conversion rates indicate the amount of people who visit your site who then follow your call to action which include making a purchase on your site, subscribing to your enewsletter or contacting your business. Find out more about calls to action here.
Other goals include becoming an authoritative resource in your industry or on your area of expertise, improving interaction with your customers and nurturing new leads to eventually convert them into new customers or sales. To achieve these goals you'll want to establish trust on your website with the content you provide and way you present your knowledge. You’ll particularly want to give your customers a reason to come back to your site.
‘On average, consumers visited at least three online stores before making their purchase.’ Minewhat and 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase.
And in the travel industry, 'buyers can visit up to thirty eight sites to plan their holiday.'
To capture those people who are ready to make a purchase upon first viewing of your site or to increase the chances of people coming back, it’s imperative that you foster a sense of trust and knowledge on your product or services. Having compelling content articles and static website copy will instil confidence and security in your potential buyer.
Kissmetrics tells us that ‘Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy.’ Give them a reason to come back!
If you're looking to establish your brand and its credibility, you'll also need to look at producing great content.
Keywords: the base of your content articles
Good content is optimised content (SEO stands for search engine optimised), which uses intentional keywords in your content. Keywords are the words or phrases people typically search for whilst using a search engine. For example, if you've set up a business selling BMX bikes in Sydney, ensure that you use these keywords and variations of in your content. Avoid overusing the terms, make it readable and enjoyable and importantly informative for your audience, as Google’s ranking system is hyper savvy and will know when you are “keyword stuffing”. Keyword stuffing is the practice of throwing in a bunch of keywords in your content at the expense of good writing.
You can research the top keywords on sites such as Google Adwords, Google Trends, Keyword Tool, Hubspot’s guide to keyword research to find the best key words to attract your audience to your site. To get a good idea of which key words will work, check out your high ranking competitors and the type of content and keywords that they use.
Tip: don’t forget to include locations in your keywords, particularly if you are a location based service. For example, one of my search terms is “Adelaide copywriter”, given that I am based in Adelaide.
Once you've figured out your key words, get a feel for what people like to read about and care about. Using our BMX shop example, you might want to write about competitions and races that are taking place in the local area, or you might want to write about exciting new and upcoming products that you'll be stocking. Never pad out or over use keywords as this will detract from the quality of your writing and as we’ve discussed here, Google search rankings favours well written material.
‘Sixty percent begin by using a search engine to find the products they want’.
Here’s a collection of things that I have personally used that make my professional life easier and more productive.
I can often be found muttering to myself ‘geesh, I love technology’, because really, how great is it? That we can do our best work and have so many useful tools and programs to help us achieve great results and outcomes. Just so you know, I am an affiliate of Harpoon and Scrivener, which means that I get a minimal kickback if you purchase by clicking on the links below. I genuinely love and use these products, however, so feel free to ask any questions you have.
Harpoon is my “one stop shop” business running app. It invoices my clients (and sends automatic reminders should their payment be late), it stores all my clients’ data, helps me to budget and forecast my income and most importantly for me, it tracks my time so I can accurately keep track of how long it takes me to write something and if I am charging my clients correctly.
LiveChat is a plugin for my website that runs an automatic chat bot for anyone who visits. You can outsource to consultants but I prefer to be the one chatting to potential clients/site visitors, even if that means I miss out on some opportunities. Fortunately, I can access chat via both my phone and laptop and I am alerted as soon as someone has questions. This week, I had the opportunity to encourage someone to buy my book, book into my ecourse and let a potential client know about the extra services that I offer (we’d originally discussed some product brochures but he was also interested in getting some media releases written).
This is a great tool for anyone in a customer or client facing business that wants to add another layer to their customer service.
Boomerang for Gmail
Boomerang is an add on to your Gmail platform that performs a few handy actions including scheduling your email to be sent at a specified time, triggered reminders in XX number of days if the person hasn’t replied and has a tracking option to not only show you when someone has opened your email but what links they have clicked on in the email.
This is a handy instrument for those people working with less than desirable clients who claim to have never seen an invoice (thankfully I am yet to have one of those, touch wood).
So, we all struggle with being distracted by the internet. Anyone who says they don’t is probably lying or in a place with really bad WiFi. Sometimes you just need that extra kick up the butt and Freedom is just that. It blocks out the internet or designated apps or social media sites for a predetermined amount of time so you can explicitly focus on your task at hand. As a writer, this is such a key factor in being super efficient.
IFTTT – which stands for If This, Then That – is one of the most incredible automation tools of the new world. It is a collection of applets (conditional statements) that bring together your existing apps and online services using a myriad of “recipes” to basically make your life easier and make the absolute most of almost everything that exists in this glorious world of tech. For example, I have set up recipes to guide my iPhone to repost every one of my Instagram pics as native posts on Twitter (this saves the hassle of those ugly links that Insta sharing creates). I also get a message an hour before it rains, when I need to put sunscreen on and more.
It can even get you out of bad dates, automatically unlock your front door when you arrive home.
As an avid reader and collector of information, Pocket has been an app that I have used consistently for years, both in a professional and personal context. There’s always so much content (articles, videos, listicles, slideshows) floating about that there is barely enough time to read it all and the chances of you stumbling across an interesting link during a busy work day or just as you are about to fall asleep is highly likely. For these occasions you can simply send a link to Pocket and review later when you have half an hour to wait at a doctor’s appointment or are doing some research for a client.
I know I have mentioned it before but CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer [sic] is really a worthwhile tool, particularly in my line of business.
If you write a lot of longform stuff, such as ebooks or books or even courses, then you definitely need Scrivener. It has a simple yet effective visual layout that can help you see what you've written and what you need to write to finish the project. Plus it has handy features such as a project target counter and can help compile and format your book to sell it.
Would love to hear about your favourites!
How Scrivener looks:
A call to action [CTA] is a concise phrase that you include in your copywriting and marketing material that not only encourage your readers to do something but it demands it! The term itself gives it away – it’s a strong directive that ensures action. The action that you want taken are practical steps that will ultimately lead to a sale, a booking or a purchase.
Examples of call to actions include:
An effective call to action offers urgency. Create urgency to play up to the natural instinct that humans have – the fear of time running out or missing out on something (also known as the scarcity principle). Tell your audience exactly what to do and when – words like today, now, straight away, before too late…
Pick one of your benefits (not a feature) to the consumer and use that as a call to action. For example, a benefit of good copywriting would be that it improves your SEO ranking. Therefore, I could use this benefit in my CTA like this:
Check out this video from Marketing Experiments on the power of a "micro yes" when it comes to call to actions.
Where do you include call to actions?
Include them on each page of your website, each blog post or content article, videos, social media posts, enewsletters and direct email campaigns and in person. Each of your webpages and marketing emails should have between one and three call to actions.
Place one within the first half of your webpage/email/marketing collateral but not directly at the top, as your readers will want to read some credible information first. It's also wise to place one at the end of your copy, to remind and instil your message.
Tips on writing a great call to action:
Don’t forget to include your call to action on your webinars, infographics and presentations or slide shows. You can also verbalise one if you are giving a talk but don’t give more than one. It will most likely be ‘go to my website for more details’.
Here are two clear call to action examples on big business's landing pages: