Laura Howard: The Importance of a Great Website

10/15/12

The Importance of a Great Website



Laura Pepper Wu is co-founder of 30 Day Books, a book studio that provides marketing tools and resources for authors. 

Not to mention a fabulous friend and inspiration to yours truly.









Why do authors need a website again? Aren't we supposed to be writing… books?!


Whether you’re indie-pubbing or looking for a publishing contract, having an author website – and a GREAT author website at that - is going to be super dupes important for your long-term career as a writer. It’s going to increase your opportunities, grow your readership, and help you to build stronger and better relationships. Now doesn't that sound lovely?


And if you knew all that already, but find all-things-website-related scarier than Halloween, rest assured – I was there once upon a time. I’m a recovering technophobe who has managed a total 180. I’m here to answer your questions or help you see the light at the end of the no-website tunnel!


Technology is making it easier and less expensive than ever to get a beautiful website that does everything it should be doing. Here are 9 things that a great author website can do for you:


Act as your hub. Leave all of your social media links in one place. Rather than saying ‘Follow me on Twitter at..,, my Pinterest page is at…. I’m on Facebook blah blah blah’, you can say to people ‘Hit me up at AwesomeAuthor.com; all of my follow links are up there.


Build your mailing listNot collecting a list of “email followers”, is a big regret of authors publishing their second or third books. Sending newsletters is way more direct and effective than sending out news via social media; an author website is a great way to encourage people to sign up to your mailing list or newsletter.


Showcase you as a professional. If you’re pitching to be a speaker at a conference, shopping for an agent, cross-promoting with a fellow author, or even just trying to get a book signing at your local library, people want to work with professionals, not wannabes. A website can really help you to project the image that you are taking this seriously.


Help you to build a two-way blog and grow your readership. The best blogs show readers your personality and make ‘em fall in love with ya! Also, the more blog posts you write, the more people will come to your site (thanks to brownie points with Google and traffic driven through social media), and the more people may start buying your books. Gretchen Rubin’s blog is my favorite example of a blog that buys her readers in a totally non-spammy, organic way.


Increase your chances of being accepted to write a guest-post. Guest posting is a great way to drive traffic back to your site.  Because you have loads of samples of your blogging in one place, a site owner is more likely to say yes to you pitching them a guest post idea, because they won’t have to take a chance on your writing.


Familiarize potential readers with your book cover image. Also, your new book cover, which should be up on your site a month or two in advance of your new release date. Visuals are powerful, and good author websites have book cover images visible throughout the site.


Allow you to run giveaways, blog hops and other Fun. Have you seen YA author Colleen Hoover’s blog? Seriously, I swear that lady gives away a Kindle every other day!  And her readers love her for it – and return every time she writes a post. Check out ColleenHoover.com for more inspiration!


Let readers learn more about you outside of your writing. About Pages are the second most visited page on most websites - we’re nosy creatures after all! We want to know the story behind the story-teller. Knowing a little more about the author increases familiarity, and familiarity breeds liking! For example, on Laura H’s About Me page, it says she is the mother to four children. This makes me think of this amazing wonder woman who writes, runs a site and is generally awesome and I like her more for it. (I don’t know how she does it! My dog is quite enough to handle…)


Help build your empire! Your book is one way of getting your message out there in the world. Down the line, however, there are going to be opportunities for you to spread that message in different forms (this is true for both fiction and non-fiction authors). Whether your writing leads to speaking, teaching classes, mentoring or who knows what, a website is a great place to feature the products or services that spin off from your book.



Now over to you! Which author websites do you love? Leave a comment with a link to your favorite author site, and let’s get together an inspirational list of websites!

8 comments:

  1. Hi Laura, I'm also getting ready to publish my first book. Do you have a title? I think she is right that with so many social media links it is really helpful to have everything in one place. I can't think of a favourite website as there are so many different styles but I like reading author bio pages.

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  2. Thanks for having me today Laura! Lovely to be on Finding Bliss :)

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  3. You had me at Laura Pepper Wu .......

    She's fabulous & smart! xx, Lauren

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  4. I use my website to share extra book information with my readers. I have character bios, background information, short stories which take place outside the timeline of the novels--even a playlist of music to set the mood! (http://www.keripeardon.com/Acceptance/Acceptance_Trilogy.htm)

    I tend to look at my website as largely static; it's where information goes to live permanently. I use my blog to interact with my readers, discuss things other than my books, publish my serial novel, etc.

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  5. I love her latest project which is the authorlicious. I am an author also and I thank you for posting this wonderful information.

    Organic Social Media

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  6. This topic is very educational and it took my interest. Hope it will always be alive! And provide productive information to many others
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  7. Hello, Laura! Thank you for posting this amazing blog post. It's very instructive and helpful. Websites are really important, most especially for business use and bloggers. This is a way of advertising their business and writings. However, websites must be SEO-friendly to make them more visible for other Internet users who are browsing. Also, website must have great content and design.
    Glenn Evans

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