April 28th, 2009
by Kate McMillan
Websites for authors tend to need a specialized approach not only to promote the author and book(s) but also to drive traffic for their niche.
After all, you may have a great website for your most recent book, but if the right people don’t know about it, it’s not working for you!
Here are six guidelines to drive traffic to book/author websites:
- Individual book bloggers are more valuable than high-profile media targets. Of course it would be great to have the Today Show give you a call, but it’s not incredible likely. So, focus on where you can make a big difference to drive sales and exposure. Where do your readers go when they’re online? Who’s their authority? Those are the people you should be targeting. Send them review copies, offer interviews/advice to their readership, and submit your titles to their award competitions.
- Target literary media. Add literary media blogs to your feed reader. Just as you should make relevant and newsworthy news releases available on your website for people to pull from, you can push content to individuals via helpful blog comments. Especially target folks who focus on your niche – you’ll be able to connect with them *and* their audience.
- Comment on industry blogs. Not only are individuals & literary media blogging about books, but publishing houses are too. Following and commenting on industry blogs will allow you to connect with people who may have influence in your industry.
- If you’re going to network with bloggers, make sure you have a blog. You already know that this a great way to provide valuable content to your readership and make connections with them, but it also increases your authority and drives traffic to your site with all the rich content you’re regularly making available. If you’re not sure what to blog about here are some ideas: you can talk about your process, you can make your readers aware of interviews and appearances you’re making, you can blog as if you are a character in your book, you can blog about things that inspire you…
- Make yourself available online. This doesn’t mean sitting in front of your computer 24/7. Instead, leverage the internet to make you virtually available whenever and wherever people are looking for you. Create a Twitter account and use it regularly — connect it to your blog and Facebook. With the single effort of writing a post to your blog, both Twitter and Facebook can be updated automatically to broadcast your message.
- Never sell your book to your audience. One of the biggest mistake authors make on and offline is that they try to sell their book. We all know that ultimately the sale of your book is desirable, but the tough love here is that people don’t care that you wrote a book, they only care about how your book can help them. Sell the book’s benefits but never sell your book. It’s not about you, it’s about your reader. If you can bring them value online, they’re more likely to seek it out further by purchasing your book(s).
So, authors, get out there and get your online real estate working for you!