Since your author website functions as the hub of your marketing activity, it’s important to focus on branding, design, SEO, and content to improve the website’s visibility and discoverability. Yet, Web Design Relief knows the average bounce rate for an author website is about 56%. That means more than half the visitors who check out your landing page are likely to leave quickly, never getting deep enough into the website to see all you have to offer. So what can you do to get more visitors to stay longer?
How To Ensure Visitors Spend More Time On Your Author Website
Remove Barriers To Frustration
The world is fast-paced and full of distractions, so the smallest irritations can cause a potential visitor to leave. The first step to improving bounce rate is to remove the following common impediments in website design:
- Auto-activated videos, music, and especially ads
- Cluttered, chaotic design or excessively minimalist design that causes confusion in navigation
- Non-mobile responsiveness. Mobile web browsing became more common than desktop browsing in 2016
- Hard-to-read fonts or text colors that don’t pop against the background
- A lack of bold headers that clearly identify the author website
- Big blocks of indigestible text, or multiple blocks of text—the landing page shouldn’t be an info dump!
- A lack of an enticing call-to-action
You may have several goals for your website: build a mailing list, increase the audience for your blog, grow your social media following, and sell your next book. But presenting visitors with a hard sell right on the landing page is a sure way to increase bounce rates.
Draw visitors deeper into your website by offering them, in a clear call to action, something they might want, such as:
- An exclusive cover reveal for your next book
- An exclusive first chapter of an upcoming book
- Gossipy news about a future project
- An invitation to a contest offering free backlist books or other reader-related gifts
- A free book for anyone who joins your newsletter or blog subscription list
- An invitation to peek “behind the scenes” by directing visitors to your blog, bio, or a specific book page
Make An Emotional Connection
Now that you’ve shown generosity to your guests, your job as a writer is to tell them a story that makes an emotional connection. There are many ways you can craft the visuals and text on your website so that potential fans feel like they’re really getting to know you:
- Add casual, slice-of-life photos to your “About The Author” page to give potential fans a glimpse into what you love and what is important to you
- Make eye contact: Make sure your author photo looks straight out at the reader
- Craft your bio like a personal essay, using storytelling techniques to draw the reader into your world
- Speak to the reader directly with a “Dear Reader” letter on the landing page, news & events page, and/or the contact page
- Use your blog to open up honestly to your blog subscribers, offering them a glimpse of the person behind the books (without “TMI”!)
Encouraging visitors to navigate through the pages of your website is a great way to turn guests into fans. To lure them back, make sure to follow up with those who sign up for your newsletter with a drip email campaign, and send notices out to those who subscribe to your blog whenever you have a new posting.
Question: What is the primary reason you go to an author website? Read the latest blog article? Get a list of books? See what’s new? Learn more about the author?
I would add, “keep your words, or summary of words short.” I love reading, but I don’t like reading a lot of print on a computer or phone screen.