3 formatting tips to improve your website

Dear Author,

Your website is a showcase of your accomplishments of your success as an author.  It should reflect who you are.

But the stuff you put onto your site should be formatted with your reader in mind.

And the biggest thing you will deal with is the content.  The content should not just be slapped onto your site.  You need to think about why you have it on your site.  You need to think about what your reader would want.

And that is more than just adding words to your site.  To be an effective seller (of your books) you need to have an website that has marketing techniques that are effective.

To be effective, you need to have a strong foundation of good content.  Content that your readers want to read.

You also need to think about the purpose of your site.  Knowing why will help you in what direction you should be taking your content.

Ask your self these questions:

  • Do I want to improve my SEO rankings in Google?
  • Do I want to add more readers to my email list?
  • Do I want to convert more readers to buyers of my books?
  • Am I looking for more readers to view my site?

The answer to these questions will help you to take your content in what direction.

No matter which direction you choose, you can…

Improve your website by adding these tips

that will help you to make sure your content to what your reader wants to read.

While I could have added pages and pages of improvements, I am only going to touch on 12 things that need to be improved to help your readers enjoy your site more.

I have lumped them into 3 different categories:  Formatting of your site.  Actual content on your site.  Adding rich media for a better user experience.

 

How you format your site is essential

There is a way to format your site that will help your reader to enjoy being on your site more.  This is called user experience.  It is vital to your site being seen again and again by your readers.

 

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Headline

Your headline is the first thing your reader will read.  Are you catching their attention?  Are you pulling them into your site where they are compelled to read more and want to stay?

The headline is the first step in converting your casual visitor into a frequent visitor and ultimately a buyer.  When you do it right, you will have a loyal customer that will shout praises for every book that you write.

 

Your content

Okay, really truly, your content is everything that you put onto your site.  From the words that you use, to the pictures that you add, including the music and/or videos.

But the placement of everything should be given some thought.

For example:

  • Place your most valuable content above the fold.
    • This means the content that you see right when you come to your site before you start to scroll down.  This is what is above the fold.  If you think about where the phrase came from, newspapers penned the word so you would know what is the most valued information in that day’s paper.
  • Don’t add long paragraphs to your page.
    • Each page needs to be scannable for your readers.  The internet is not the same as writing your book, so you have to change the way you add it.  This means that you can throw out every rule that your English teacher ever taught you.  Instead go with how you talk.  Write online like you talk to your friends or your family.  This way you sound like you are a human.
  • Don’t add the dates to your blog posts
    • You are lucky because your books are timeless.  They will always be new to someone new.  When you add the date to your blog posts, you are dating yourself.  Don’t do that.  By the way, this is not your publication date.  Yes, you can add that.  Just don’t add the date to updates or blog posts about your books.
  • Add a call-to-action (CTA) on each page.
    • Each page should guide you to another one with a final destination of buying your book.
  • Don’t add your actual email address to your contact page.  I have heard some controversy about this one, but the gist of it is this.  If you add your actual email with the @ sign (youremail@yoursite.com) then the Google bots that scan your site will take your email and give it to those that send out spam.  Instead do either:
    • Add your email address like this:  your email (at) yoursite (dot) com  This way it is not read like an actual address but humans will still understand it.
    • But what would be better is to have a form on your site for your reader to fill out.  This way you can keep track of sign ups in your analytics.

Another thought is to make sure that you add something new to your site on a regular basis.  This will help you to be seen by the search engines and thoroughly enjoyed by your readers.

 

Testimonials

I have heard of different thought when it comes to placement of your testimonials.  Some have said that you should have a whole page dedicated to them.  While others have said that you should have them dispersed throughout your site.

I happen to like the idea of having them dispersed throughout your site.  Why?  Because each testimonial is going to be about a particular book.  Take that testimonial and add it to that particular book’s page.

What happens if you don’t have any testimonials.  My answer is:  Do you have an established email list?  If you do, you can send out an email asking your readers to give you a testimonial of any of your books.  Then add that to your site.

 

Other pages

There are many different types of pages that need to be on your site.  Each page has a purpose.  You need to have:

  • a thank you page
  • a contact page
  • email sign up page
  • author page

You know what??  I am going to do a whole article on this.  Look for this next week.

 

What you say is just as important as how you say it

Please don’t just put the back cover blurb onto your site.  Please add more.  I say this from a reader’s perspective.  The majority of authors only add the back blurb.  Now while that is a good thing.  Add your blurb, but add more.  Your reader wants more from you.  More about your stories.  More about your characters.  More about you as an author.

Does it have to be hard to find more content.  Nope.

Give me a shout and I can let you in on a new idea that I am coming out with!!!

 

Give your readers a better experience by adding rich media

Your readers want to have more of you.  They want to have more of your books.  More of your characters.

Take a moment to add:

  • videos
  • music
  • maps of your communities
  • family book tree
  • pictures of your muse
  • a pdf of your family book tree or a map of your community

Each of these things will help your reader to have a richer experience on your site.

Don’t forget to add the alt tags to each of your images.  This helps for search engine rankings but is also helps any reader that needs the extra assistance.

 

Okay, I know that this is not all that you need to be thinking about for your site.  But it is a start.

Please let me know if I can help.

 

Your friend in romance,

Shental

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