I’ve written before on this blog about how important a website is for all authors.
After all, if I didn’t think author websites were important, I wouldn’t have written my book WordPress For Writers, or the free Author Website Blueprint.
An author website is the hub of your online book marketing. And in 2019, online book marketing is the best way to sell books, especially if you’re an indie, hybrid or self published author.
Your Facebook group or page, Instagram account and Twitter feed are all well and good. It pays to be where your readers are, so if they want to contact you, they can.
But social media is not yours. Facebook can make it harder for you to reach your followers (and it does). Twitter can be swamped by trolls, pushing your writing updates further down people’s feeds (and it is). And Instagram is great for sharing gorgeous photos and chatting to people but I haven’t seen any concrete evidence yet that it helps to shift books.
Your website is different. It’s your home turf, that you have control over. If you go with a self hosted WordPress site, you own it. You aren’t dependant on a provider’s whims or the changes in their business.
But just creating a website isn’t enough.
You need to add content to it. Content that’s engaging and informative. Content that’s funny or gripping (depending on the kind of writing you do). In short, content that makes people want to read more. So they’ll then sign up to your mailing list, and buy your books.
But even when you’ve created that content, you can’t guarantee that anyone will see it.
Simply putting a blog post up on the internet doesn’t mean people will find it. Sure, you can share it on your social media feeds, but what if it’s being drowned out, or Facebook decides in its wisdom that it isn’t worth showing in people’s feed?
That’s where SEO comes in.
SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) has negative connotations for some people.
They associate it with dodgy practices: keyword stuffing, hidden links, and link farms.
If you have no idea what any of these things are, good for you! Don’t waste your time trying to find out. Because SEO in 2019 is mainly about content.
The great news is that Google (and let’s face it, for most of us Google is the search engine of choice) is getting more and more intelligent over time. It knows that when people are searching online, they want quality content.
Websites with engaging, entertaining and informative content will get higher search engine rankings than spammy sites that are stuffed with keywords but offer no value.
So as a writer, you’re at an immediate advantage. Sure, writing copy for a website isn’t the same as writing a novel, or even a non-fiction book. But you’ve certainly got a head-start compared to all of the non writers out there.
But writing great content isn’t everything. There are other things you can do to increase your author website’s SEO and boost your search engine rankings.
In my article for the Alliance of Independent Authors, published last week, I outline the four main things you can do to improve the SEO of your author website.
It’s a short piece, with practical steps anyone with an author website can take.
I recommend reading it and implementing at least one of the tips. It won’t boost your search engine rankings overnight, but it will start you on a steady path to better SEO. And ultimately, more readers.
Which is what we all want!