In “What Your Publisher Knows that You Don’t about Author Websites“ I shared an article written by Micheal Hyatt, the former Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers in which he takes a strong stand about what constitutes the BEST author website. In that article, Hyatt makes a strong case for authors to create websites which can be easily found and indexed by the search engines.
However, one of his readers left a comment which begged to differ. The reader suggested that “word of mouth” marketing would influence his decision to read an author’s work more than a “powerful” web presence. Hyatt then created a follow up post at “Why Every Author Needs a Powerful Online Presence” to try to explain.
The point of creating a powerful author web presence.
The reader who questioned the point of an author creating a search engine friendly website is no doubt an author – one who is passionately invested in the belief that this whole internet thing is a “fad” – and will soon pass like bell bottom pants, pet rocks and Members Only jackets. When he hears the words “author website development” he and many other authors think of three things: confusion, frustration and hard work with little to show for his efforts.
These authors are sure that the process of creating a beautiful website is excruciatingly hard work which returns little in exchange for all the hard work invested. The only alternative – dig deep into his/her pockets to hire a professional web developer.
To be honest – that was true at one time. There was a time when only 1 out of 6 people in the US were “online” – and in those days – the time and effort invested in creating an author website were not the most profitable for the typical author. There was a lot to learn – a lot of confusion – and hard work on a website – even by a professional – most probably would yeild disappointing results.
However, things are different today. Today more than half of all Americans have a Facebook profile. The fastest growing demographic on Facebook – the over 50 crowd. These people are online – and sharing their “likes” quite easily with other connected friends and family on various social networking sites.
Ten years ago – when a reader discovered your work – they would head back to the bookstore to see what other titles you had written. Today – that reader heads to the web – and shares his/her opinion on the very site where the book was purchased. Not only are these readers sharing their opinions on the retailer’s site – they’re sharing what books they’re reading through social networking sites dedicated to avid readers – like Good Reads.
Sometimes – readers will find your work via a social networking site – but other times – when you have the right kind of author website – those readers will find your site as they’re searching for information online. For example, the author of a book about organic gardening may discover her website is being returned by the search engines when visitors search for the term “how to start an organic compost pile” because of the page on her website with that title. The visitor who is seeking that information is a very likely future reader of her book.
That’s the best reason to create a powerful online presence that can be easily indexed by the search engines. That’s the real reason you should be adding to your author website – if not on a daily basis – then on a weekly one at least. The more pages you “enter” in the search engine lottery – the more likely you are to “win” visitors – visitors who are likely candidates to buy your book.
That’s why you need an author website that is search engine friendly AND can be easily updated with current information.
You’ve mastered the words – now it’s easier than ever to master the web.