UPDATE: As of October 2018, Google+ is no longer a viable social media platform.
So you’ve got an author website and you’ve begun to establish your presence on one or more social media sites. Now all of the traffic should start flooding in and a bunch of people are going to want to read your stuff…right?
Well, not just yet.
One mistake a lot of writers make is letting their websites and their social media profiles exist independently of each other. What they often end up with is a disjointed platform.
Ideally, your author website should be a one-stop shop for all things concerning YOU. If someone visits to learn more about you and then feels compelled to keep following your writing career, they should be able to do so with little to no “friction.” In other words, the more clicks or steps it takes to connect with you on social media, the less likely your visitor will actually do it.
By not integrating social media into your site, you run the risk of losing potential fans within a few mouse clicks. Here are a few tools to help you integrate social networks into your website.
Integrating Facebook and Twitter
Jetpack, which was developed by the makers of WordPress, is chock-full of useful tools, not the least of which is social media integration.
In addition to automatically posting content to your social media profiles, you can use Jetpack to add Facebook and Twitter widgets to your site’s sidebar. They’re easy to set up and, most importantly, eye-catching enough to draw your visitors seamlessly from your site to your profiles. With these widgets, your site visitors can Like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter—all without leaving your site.
Note: This tool is specifically geared toward author websites built on WordPress. If you’d like to add this functionality to your site manually—or if you don’t use WordPress to power your website—you can try any of the social plugins Facebook has to offer, as well as the official Twitter widget.
Goodreads is an especially helpful social media platform for writers with books to promote. We’ve already covered how to take advantage of the Goodreads Author Program, but you can also add a few different widgets to your site to help things along.
If you’d like people to add your book to their bookshelves, try adding the Add to My Books widget from the official Goodreads API. Simply punch in your book’s ID or ISBN number, paste the automatically generated code where you want the widget to appear on your site, and you’re in business!
Want to share all of the awesome reviews your book has been getting on Goodreads? You can add their Reviews widget to your site as well. Not only will it help show off the good things people have been saying about your book, but it just might encourage others to chime in with reviews of their own.
TIP: Add these widgets to each of your book pages, as well as the sidebar of your website (if applicable). That way, potential readers don’t have to go out of their way to find them.
Integrating Google Plus
Like most social networks, Google+ provides easy-to-use widgets that anyone can add to his or her author website with a little bit of code. G+ badges are a great way to encourage people to add you to their circles, allowing them to connect with you on G+ down the line.
Another way to integrate G+ into your website is by taking advantage of Google Authorship. The next time you search for something on Google, pay attention to the results. If you see any results that include the author’s picture and full name, that’s Google Authorship at work—and people are much more likely to click those results.
If you’re using WordPress, setting up Google Authorship can be done in four steps:
- Set up your G+ profile with a picture and your e-mail address, as well as a link to your author website under the “Contributor to” section of your About page.
- Set up your WordPress user profile with the same e-mail address and a link to your G+ profile under the “Contact Info” section.
- Make sure that your name appears the same way on your WordPress content as it does on your G+ profile.
- Head over to the Google Authorship page to verify your e-mail address here.
Similar steps can be followed for non-WordPress sites. Regardless of your site’s platform, setting up Google Authorship can be extremely beneficial to your site’s SEO and make your content look that much more official when it turns up in Google search results.
Establishing your presence online is a great way to draw in new readers from across the Web. When you integrate your social networks into your author website, you make it easier for those readers to stay in touch and plugged into the goings-on of your writing career. That way, you can keep them coming back for more!
Question: In what ways have YOU integrated social media into your author website?