You’ve heard it before: Author websites are the new business cards in the publishing industry.
So you got yourself a fabulous website–but now what? To be sure that your website visitors turn into fans, you need to give them a reason to stay connected.
Creating an interactive website that fans want to return to again and again is key. An awesome author website needs interactive elements with features that have functionality for you—and a payoff for your fans!
Start a blog
Blogging is a great way to write on a regular basis about whatever you’re passionate about. Just read a great new book? Blog about it! There are no rules, especially for creative writers. Get a conversation going by asking your readers to respond to a specific question. Remember that you’re the host of this blog party—so make your visitors feel comfortable, and make them want to participate. (Not sure how to start? Read Blogging 101!)
Join your mailing list
Offer an easy way for your new fans to sign up for your email list. There are free email list hosting services (as well as paid services) all over the Web. Forget about choosing a service that requires users to click a link sent to their email in order to sign up. Make the process easy and assure your fans that you won’t send them spam or advertisements—just news and helpful information.
Make it easy for visitors to contact you: Use a contact form just like the one on our website. Visitors don’t have to leave your website to go to their mailbox AND you protect your own personal email address at the same time. Don’t forget to ask your new fans if they want to be added to your mailing list.
Integrate social media feeds into your site
Even if you can’t update your website each and every day, you CAN integrate your Facebook and Twitter feeds into your site so that your latest posts and tweets show up. This way, there is always something new on your site—giving visitors a reason to keep returning to your website.
Include prominent social share buttons
Notice how easy we make it for you to “like” us on Facebook? That’s no accident! Facebook and other social media outlets like Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest help you to stay in touch with your visitors. Placing social share buttons on your website and blog make it easy to for visitors to connect via social media. Even if they don’t get back to your website soon, you’ll see them on your social media networks.
Tell your visitors what you want them to do
Tell your visitors what to do in a clear and concise way (such as, “Like this page” or “subscribe to the mailing list”). Sometimes, readers need the little extra nudge. Shameless plug: Don’t forget to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!
The bottom line
The more interactive your website is, the more likely your visitors will have a reason to visit again. Ideally you want to be able to stay connected to them, and that means creating opportunities for connection. Have fun!