Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Promotion: Create a Website or Blog

I know I mentioned my article for today would be Book Promotion: Visibility and Platform Basics, but I forgot it's 6 pages long and 2300 words - I'll be turning it into an ebook.  

Instead, I took the first section of that article and tweaked it just a bit for:

Book Promotion: Create a Website or Blog

The first rung on your marketing ladder is to create a quality product, in the case of an author, that would be a book. You need to create an engaging story, be part of a critique group, make sure the manuscript gets edited, and have a knock-out cover.

Creating the book might be considered Research and Development under the Marketing umbrella, and the foundation of a marketing strategy.

The second step or rung on the marketing ladder is the actual book promotion: creating a platform and brand for you and your book. This is accomplished through visibility. A platform is a means to let readers know what your area of expertise is.

You may be shaking your head and thinking you don’t have an area of expertise, well the very first step to establish yourself as an expert is to create a website or blog.

Here are four steps that will help you create an effective website or blog:

1. Your Domain Name

Choose your domain name carefully and think ahead. Marketing experts always advise using ‘your name’ for your domain name. You can always create sites that are specific to each of your books or a particular niche, but your name should be your main or central site.

On the other hand, if you write in a specific genre, you should include that in your domain name. If you’re a children’s writer, maybe: Children’s Books by Your Name, or Picture Books by Your Name. The more specific you make your domain name the more likely those searching for that genre will find you.

Simply put: If you sell shoes and your domain name is John Smith how will those searching for shoes ever find you?

And, be sure to use appropriate keywords in the subtitle of your site.

2. Choose a Website or Blog

There’s no way around this one – you must create a web presence. The first tool in your visibility toolbox is a website, and it should be created before your book is published. You can choose a website or a blog and you can get either type for free from sites such as or

If you find the thought of having to create a website daunting, go for; it is very user friendly and good for beginners. And with its updates, it has a number of features much like a website.

One of the drawbacks to Blogger though is you cannot upload ebooks or pdfs to link to in order to offer them for free or sell, so if this is something you’ll be doing, you will have to find a hosting site like WordPress.

3. Simple is a Better Strategy

Marketing expert Mike Volpe of points out that it’s more important to spend time, and money if necessary, on content rather than a flashy website design; simple works. In fact, simpler usually leads to a higher conversion rate. The conversion rate is the ratio of visitors who buy your book, product, or service.

Volpe also stresses that you should have control over your site. This means you should be able to manage it. You don’t want to run to a web designer for every little change you want to make to your site, or to do something as simple as adding content.

To reinforce this ‘simple is better strategy,’ Google says that milliseconds count in regard to your page load time. If your page is slow to load, you’ll get a poorer score with Google.

Tip: Should you decide you do need help to create a site, don’t hire an expensive web designer. Look for someone who wants to establish themselves as a website creator, or someone who does it in his spare time, you will pay much less. And, try to make arrangements that will include the designer teach you how to manage your own site. This will make updates, changes, and posting much easier, and less expensive.

4. Make Your Site Optimized for the Search Engines

If you choose a WordPress site, go through the dashboard and sections carefully, and fill in how you want your site to work. There are also a number of plugins for WordPress that will help your site get noticed and indexed by the search engines. If you’re not sure how to do this, it would probably be worth the investment to hire someone to do basic search engine optimization (SEO) for your site.

It's not uncommon for writers to need help with websites and SEO, it's impossible to be proficient at everything. Thankfully, there are those who know the ins and outs of optimizing websites, if needed take advantage of them.

Karen Cioffi is an author, ghostwriter, and freelance writer. For writing and marketing information visit ( and sign up for her free newsletter, A Writer’s World. You’ll get 2 free e-books on writing and marketing in the process, and two more free e-books just for stopping by.
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  1. You are so right, Karen, about simple things being the better choices. Who wants to wait for endless minutes while a flash program that some can see and some cannot, opens slowly and keeps you waiting for the main page. Editors, for one, don't have time for that. Give them what you want them to see right away, with links that open quickly and show off your best work.

  2. Good follow up on my advice to promote by having a blog and a website, both if the website isn't set up to have blog.

    Very helpful.


  3. Hi, Ginger and Vivian, Sorry I'm here late.

    Ginger, I've already left sites that took too long to load.

    Vivian, glad you found the post helpful!

  4. Reading over the post, I just want to clarify something:

    "One of the drawbacks to Blogger though is you cannot upload ebooks or pdfs to offer for free or sell, so if this is something you’ll be doing, you will have to find a hosting site like WordPress."

    What I mean here is when you create an ebook to offer on your site, you need to have a host site for the ebook, you would upload it onto a page in your media library. Then, you can link to it from anywhere with that page's url.

    Blogger does not offer this feature.

    While you can put the link to the ebook on Blogger, it's not your source for the ebook.

    Boy, I hope I explained that clearly enough.

  5. Karen, that's why a blog by itself doesn't always do the complete job.

    I always use or for anytime I want to offer something to sell.


  6. Very true, Vivian. I haven't tried Weebly or Yola yet - have too many sites as it is. :)

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