Sunday, March 1, 2015
All writers, including authors and freelance writers, must have a website. It’s just the way it is. And, it doesn’t matter whether you write fiction or nonfiction – you need a website.
Everyone from Writer’s Digest’s Chuck Sambuchino to Jane Friedman (formerly with Writer’s Digest, now an editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review) to agents to publishers, all adamantly proclaim the need for an author website, even before your book is published.
While a website is mandatory, another must-have is a separate landing page to entice visitors to subscribe to your mailing list.
Having a separate landing page for your email opt-in offer is just a good marketing move. The primary purpose of this separate page is to avoid visitor distraction. On a regular author website or freelance writer site there are usually too many options, which translate into distractions for the visitor.
Think about it.
Do you have a Home page, About page, Reviews page, Events page, Awards page, Excerpts and Illustration pages? Audio? Video? Do you have ads or other sidebar content?
These are all distracting features. They may have their purpose, but they are counterproductive in regard to focusing in on building your subscriber list.
When it comes to building an email list, your site must be focused – NO distractions – NO visitor anxiety. It should have clear call-to-action content with a simple opt-in process.
This page should fully explain the benefits the potential subscriber will get if he opts in, and it should also include what your qualifications are for offering this particular information, for claiming to be an authority in your niche.
Let Your Qualifications be Known
People need to be persuaded into subscribing to yet another mailing list and into buying what you’re offering, so you need to make the YES decision and process as easy as possible. Conveying your qualifications for writing your book and the book’s merits are part of this process. For example, if you write fiction:
• Do you have a ‘big name’ publisher?
• Did your book win any awards?
• Is your book a best seller?
• Do you have positive reviews and feedback?
• Are there book illustrations you can share?
• How about a brief excerpt?
• Do you have a book trailer?
• Do you have good sales numbers?
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, the Frugal Book Promoter, suggests you also “include a pitch or logline for that piece of fiction that will intrigue your Web site visitor” and “include praise (blurbs) for it.”
Even your social networking numbers matter (e.g., number of Twitter followers, number of Facebook connections, and so on).
If You’re Writing Nonfiction
Getting a bit more specific as to your actual qualifications for writing the book, particularly if you’re writing nonfiction or offering freelance writing services or products:
• Did you take special training (e.g., classes, ecourses)?
• Do you have a degree or certification in the topic?
• Do you have ‘good’ clips?
• Do you have great testimonials?
• Have you won awards?
• Do you belong to relevant groups/clubs?
• How in depth was your research?
• Do you teach the topic?
Whatever gives you authority in your niche, whether fiction or nonfiction, be sure to include it in your list.
Sites claiming to be an expert in a particular niche are a dime-a-dozen. Let the visitor know you and your book are the ‘real deal.’
Karen Cioffi is a writer and online platform instructor. Her latest e-class with WOW! Women on Writing is Get Website Traffic with Inbound Marketing. Click the link for details.