Website-shwebsite. I know… the idea can be intimidating. Our team spends a lot of time helping authors set up their websites so that they can sell more books! So let me tell you, when I learned about Pub-Site, it’s a dream come true. As an author myself, (hey, it’s Alexa speaking here!) with very little time to work on my own website, I know exactly the thoughts that are running through your mind right now:
- Do I really need a website?
- Can’t I just send everyone to Amazon?
- I’m building my community on social media!
- I’m not techy – I don’t want to mess around with a website
- Oy… I hardly have enough time to do the other 200,000 things I’m learning I need to do as an author – when will I keep up with a website?
- It’s expensive, I need to save my money for other elements
Yeah, I get it.
So let’s focus on two things from this list:
1 – Why you really DO need a website.
2 – How it can be done simply and beautifully at a low cost and low time / energy investment.
You can’t be taken seriously as an author or a business person if you don’t have a modern, well-designed website. A website presents the perfect opportunity for you to connect with your readers. We talk a lot about building the author platform. Think of the author website as the home of that platform. It’s one nice, neat place where you can organize all the things – a place for people to find out more about you, your books, your other products or services, how to follow you on social, how to get a sample of your book or order your book, and read other content you’re producing.
If you’ve invested your time in social media, you might wonder if you can skip an author website. While you can still operate primarily on social media, you’ll still want to be using that social media to direct your followers to get on your email list. Your email list is, and will remain, at least for the near future, your most successful selling tool. So, at a bare minimum, you need a landing page that you can send readers to so that they can get on your email list.
Social media changes every day. You don’t own that platform, and your 15,000 followers could disappear overnight if someone reports you and your account is frozen, shut down, or even hacked. I’ve seen it happen too many times. But you own your email list. And generally you need at least a landing page to grow an email list.
Here are the three big reasons to make sure you have a website that works for you…
You need to grow your email list.
I cannot say this enough. I just finished 30 interviews for the Women in Publishing Summit, and almost every author I spoke with talked about the role their email list plays in their book sales. A website gives you the opportunity for people to learn a bit more about you, determine if they want to be on your email list, and of course, gives them the place to download whatever lead magnet (a free sample of your book or a short story or something else relevant) to get on the email list. If you’ve been writing good content, they may find you completely organically as they are searching whatever topic you’re writing on. Maybe you wrote a blog post about the evolution of vampires in books… or the different types of vampires, and you’ve got a fan looking for more because they love vampires. They see your post, hit your website, and because they love vampire books, they are THRILLED to enter their email address to download your free story or sample chapters. Your existing readers also enjoy learning more about you, and a website gives you more of an opportunity to share.
You own your author website.
Social media is a great way to reach your audience, but it’s ultimately controlled by someone else. These sites are controlled by other corporations who get to say what you can and can’t post, who can see your posts, and who control your data. Your website works for you and only you. You own your website. You want ownership of your book so why should your website be any different? Your business and artistic priorities are at the center of your website.
Your author website is “sticky”..
Your content is searchable forever. When people are searching for content, if you had a great post that got a lot of traction and is positioned well with SEO (search engine optimization – ie, when someone searches for your topic, your website returns in the searches) it can bring completely cold traffic to your doorstep. And that content stays out there. This is another good reason why you should start creating content early in the process… so you can start gaining traction on your website, but that’s a different blog post! Having a website that continues to bring traffic results in continued traffic to see your books. And ideally, results in more book sales.
I wrote a piece of cornerstone content on my blog 9 years ago. This piece continues to bring traffic and because my book, which is on the same topic of the article, is listed as suggested reading at the end of the blog post, continues to see sales just from this post. Because it was a great post on a topic people were looking for.
Building an author website doesn't need to be scary.
I know there is a lot to consider when it comes to building a website, and it can be intimidating. You might be worried about how to find hosting, how to set it up, which tool to use, how to integrate all the things. But don’t get overwhelmed!
We have partnered with a company called Pub-Site that handles all of these things for you, at a super low cost! Fauzia Burke, 25+ year book marketing guru, has worked with some really really well-known authors. She recognized the value of a website for authors in their book marketing journey a long time ago, and also saw the frustration many authors faced in trying to learn how to create one. So she and her husband decided to do something about that. They built Pub-Site so that authors would have an option to easily build a very professional author website, with all the elements we need to sell books and grow our email list, at a super low monthly cost; without having to also purchase hosting (it’s included!) or figure out how to design and integrate all the things. Fauzia will be joining us, along with her Pub-Site co-founder and tech expert, John Burke, for a FREE webinar and demo on Building Simple Websites for Authors on Tuesday, February 25, at 1pm EST. Fauzia will share with us why it’s important for authors to have their own website, what her experience has been in working with really big name authors (they manage the Tom Clancy official website!) and give us a demo of exactly how to use the tool.
If you’re considering a website (and you should be!) you’re going to want to make the time to attend this webinar.