Okay, you’ve finally built that author website. It’s beautiful. It’s easy to use. It’s a great means of promoting your book. Now, you need to get people to find it … which is easier said than done, by the way.
Here are the three main methods for increasing your website traffic, and hopefully increasing book sales as a result.
1. Spread the word.
How do friends, family, fans, coworkers, etc… know that your website exists? Because you tell them! Get business cards printed with your website’s URL on it. Include a link to your site at the footer of every email you send out. Make sure there’s a link to your site on your Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, etc… Get the URL in the faces of as many friends and colleagues — and even people you just cross paths with — as possible.
You’ve heard about search engine optimization (or SEO). What you might not understand is exactly what it is or how it can improve your website traffic. We offer a search engine optimization service to our clients, and it goes like this. First, we work with our clients to come up with a list of search terms that we think people searching for the book might enter into Google or Yahoo. Then we do the extensive research to determine exactly which phrases or keywords in those areas people are actually searching for. Finally, we go through the site and adjust the text — both on the front end (what people see) and on the back end (what only the search engines see) — in order to ensure that the site will show up prominently on the search results pages for those terms. This technique is especially effective for authors who have written nonfiction books, as people are far more likely to be searching for something like, “how to write a good resume,” as opposed to “great sci-fi novel.”
3. Encourage sharing.
Ten years ago, SEO was the newest, hottest way to drive traffic to a website. It’s still pretty important, but social sharing has now become the goldmine for drawing in new site visitors. Make sure that every page on your website, and every blog post, offers sharing options. This will allow readers who like what you have to say to “share” it with their friends via Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, etc… Even if you don’t know these sites from Adam, it’s worth offering these sharing options on everything you write. Once someone “shares” your page or post with their friends, they’re essentially recommending it to everyone. So unlike SEO, in which you’re just guaranteed placement on a page, a social share is essentially like getting a recommendation from someone that people trust. Research shows that you’re far more likely to get people involved in your site (i.e. commenting, buying your book, etc…) from a share link rather than through a search engine. In order to encourage shares, write things that are sharable. People tend to share things that are funny, informational, helpful, controversial, etc… So think about what type of posts (in the subject matter related to your writing or your books, of course) people would want to share with their friends. In short, if you want to increase shares, stop talking about what you made for dinner and start blogging about the secrets to good writing.
Utilizing any one of these three tactics will increase traffic to your website. All three? Well, you’ll be a very popular person in a very short amount of time.