I know most authors would rather have a static website than a blog where they need to update the content on a regular basis, I hear it all the time from my authors, but the fact is, it’s the best way to build a rapport with your readers and turn them into followers.
It isn’t as challenging as most people think. There are YouTube videos to guide even the most novice WordPress user and there are resources found on fiverr, elance and virtual assistant’s sites, if you don’t want to do the set up work yourself. I even know of a few authors who hire out the writing of their blog posts. But it is much more effective if you write your own posts.
The first thing you want to do is obtain a website name from a service such as Cheap Domains or GoDaddy. A lot of website hosts will also package your name and hosting for a better rate. I prefer to use hostgator because of their volume hosting package deal. For a flat fee you can have unlimited websites hosted there.
Choose a WordPress Theme that has background colors similar to your book cover. You’ll want to decide if it suits you to have one, two or three columns, but keep the site simple, don’t overcrowd the page. I would suggest you avoid major solid colors in the posting area to make it easier to read your content. There are quite of few blog theme designs which are black backgrounds with white text. They are very challenging to read. It’s a good idea to look through other people’s sites to see what appeals to you. Most of the sites you will find will tell you at the bottom of the page what the theme name is.
You’ll want to create a banner using both your book cover and your picture using colors which coincide with the colors you’ve chosen for your book cover. Most of my banners are static, but on my speaking site I have multiple banners or sliders so I can high light all of my books and training programs. Each book and training program has its own website/blog. It is important to have a dedicated site for each concept and then you can also include all of your books on your name website/blog.
If you’re just starting your site, you might not realize how simple it is to propagate the content. I’ve even used the content from my books on some of the sites and then fill in more content with articles I write or even experiences I have concerning the topic including speaking engagements.
Adding photos to the site is very easy. There are even guidance instructions within most of the WordPress themes to help you learn how to use the various dashboard sections.
Adding Widgets and Plugins will help you customize your site and often help you get higher rankings. Widgets are what you see on the site such as the categories, post list, contact form, tags and RSS (syndication feeds) to help you populate your site. Whereas the Plugins are working in the background to help you provide methods of downloading posts to phones, publicizing the posts, and making the site more efficient.
In the beginning, it is important to post every day and a post can be as few as 250 words, where most articles range of 500-1,200 words. I typically write out a list of 50 topics I want to cover to makes it easier to think of what to write rather than feeling the pressure of having to come up with a new topic every day.
Once your site has achieved a ranking of under a million on Alexa you can relax a bit and post once or twice a week to retain the rankings.
Be sure to always look at the comments and answer any questions, but if you find spammers, you will be able to block them both by name and by their ISP address. There are built in plugins which will help reduce the amount of spam as well.
Your readers want you to be real and approachable. They need to get to know you and determine their connection with you. What your audience is looking for is a way to relate with you. When they have a chance to get to know your writing style and your focus through your blog, they will more than likely become a fan. And fans buy books. Fans also tell other people about books they enjoy; making the viral marketing a bonus.
In essence, your site is meant to keep your fans up to date on what you are doing, where you are doing book signings, radio interviews and speaking engagements. So be sure to add videos of you speaking each time you have an engagement. The search engines and your followers like video more than anything else.
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