The world of publishing has changed a lot. Gone are the days where the publishing house handled all the “business” stuff. Publishers no longer have budgets to promote every book they buy. And as an indie author, you’re responsible for all of it, from the cover design and formatting, to getting advance copies out and coordinating blogger reviews, to all the rest of the marketing and promotional work that goes into selling books. Not to mention the fact that you have to actually write the damn book in the first place!! No wonder “authorpreneur” is now a thing!
The good news is that technology has made this easier. A well-designed website will drive the rest of your online presence: social media, BookBub and Amazon promotions, Goodreads profile, and everywhere else. But to do it effectively, your website has to be attractive, well designed and easily maintained. So, with that said, here are 5 reasons EVERY author should invest in their website:
Some will say awebsite isn’t necessary because social media costs nothing. But there is a BIG difference between your website and social media: you OWN your website and everything on it. Technically, none of the stuff on your social media channels is yours. If Facebook or Instagram changed their Terms and Conditions you could lose access to all your followers, and everything else you’ve posted. If you use your website to gather emails from readers, that email list is yours, and you don’t have to rely on the whims of social media to connect with your readers.
2. Your Brand
A beautiful, easy to navigate website is the heart of your author brand (which is a whole other topic to explore another day). If your site is part of a cohesive online presence it establishes trust and promotes engagement with readers . Having a website, together with your other online and social media channels, allows your readers to know, like and trust you, which in turn makes them much more likely to buy from you.
Your site should be used to support your online community, and nurturing a community of readers and fans is critical for long-term success. It’s important to have contact info easily accessible on your site, and tell readers the best way to communicate with you directly. It can be any of your social media channels: your Facebook group, Instagram DMs, or email. Readers LOVE connecting with their favorite authors. If you have a blog on your website (which you should), leave it open to comments and engage with commenters.
A website can grow and change with your writing and your readership. Particularly if you use WordPress to build your site, there is no limit to what you can do. You don’t have to worry about trying to fit content into social media’s terms and conditions. You can have pages and sections for every book and series; you can have reading order lists, or post character bibles or family trees for your best known characters. You can have a VIP area on your site where you post things especially for your most dedicated fans such as excerpts, teasers and free reads . There are a million fun ways to use your site to engage with fans and nurture your relationships.
5. Increases Sales
Finally, and most importantly – a website increases sales. Easy to find purchase links are critical. You don’t want to be pushy, but you do want your site visitor to not have to search around to buy. I know from my own experience as a reader, right after I’ve finished a book I love, I will almost always go to the writer’s site to see what else they’ve written that I might like. I know I’ve hit the “buy now” button more than once in that scenario.
The reasons for authors to have well-done websites could go on and on. But we all know that more and more of our lives are taking place on the internet. Almost any business without a website is losing a LOT of potential customers. Indie authors are basically small businesses, so the same rule applies.
Aerie Web Design specializes in building great websites for authors that won’t break the bank. If you’re looking for a new or redesigned site, I’d love to chat about it. You can contact me here or go ahead and schedule a quick discovery call with me here.