4 Tips for Optimizing Your Independent Author Website

Author WebsiteIt seems any kind of marketing and promotion these days requires a presence on the web.  One way to control all the different aspects of your author image is to have a website of your own.  Setting up a site is only the first step.  You also have to make sure it’s configured in the best way possible to be easy for your audience to use and to find on the World Wide Web.

Captains WheelEase of Navigation

Nothing pushes visitors away faster than a website that is hard to use.  Serious users will always muddle through but if you frustrate casual browsers, don’t expect nearly as much engagement.

  • Use common web conventions:  This means putting your logo or tag line in the top left corner, your main navigation at the top of the page, emphasizing important content, traditional link styling, and naming conventions.  For example don’t rename a search feature something else.  Call it search because that is what users expect to see.
  • Make logical categories: Organize the information and pages on your indie author website so things are easy to find.  For instance have an about section, a section for your title or titles, a section for your blog and so on.
  • Don’t orphan your pages:  If you have a page that is important for users to find, link it to the rest of the site through your main navigation or some other means.  Remember that a website is simply a compilation of documents linked together on a single domain.  If one is not linked to the rest, no one will be able to find it.

Make Your Site Search Friendly

Magnifying GlassTake some time to research keywords that your audience might be using to find content that you produce.  Google’s Keyword tool is a great place to start.  You can see search volume for terms that people use on its search engine.

Make sure those keywords are in the copy of your pages.  Ideally each page on your indie author website should be tailored to be about that specific keyword phrase.  Place your keywords in title tags, meta descriptions, and as file names of images you have on those pages.

You can also submit your site for free to Google Webmaster Tools in order to see how it is performing.  You can get suggestions for improvement, learn keywords that people are actually using to find your site and how well your site appears in search results.

Start a Blog

This a no-brainer for most authors but if you hadn’t planned on it, set up a blog as part of your site.  If you use one of the popular CMS (Content Management System) or web-based platforms on the market, blogs are typically built in.  For instance Blogger.com and WordPress.com are great options for both setting up a website and a blog all in the same place.

Not only is a blog an opportunity to create more pages on your site for more keywords, you can develop a following.  Share your journey with other indie authors, post snippets from your title or titles, and use it as a forum to build a relationship with your audience.

Make Your Site Social

This tip doesn’t necessarily take place on your site but it’s very important for exposure.  Share links to your site on social media networks that you’re active on.  These could be links to your blog, links to your pages or something else that would be interesting to your target audience.

There have been studies done by notable SEO companies on the correlation between social signals and rankings.  While it has not been shown that social signals actually influence rankings, there is a connection.

What tips do you have for making your indie author site perform better on the web?

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