Making your Website Social
Having a website in today’s publishing world is no longer an option, but a necessity. Many authors create a basic website with pages about their books and themselves, but don’t consider how to encourage reader engagement and interaction. Here are a few tricks to help your website be socialable, including how to manage your blog and what content should appear on your cyber “home.”
Writers write – so make sure you have a blog that is an integral part of your website, sharing the same URL (web address) and not a separate URL that you have to link to or embed. Your blog will give readers a peek into your writing process, your characters, and you as a person. It is an ideal place to offer deleted scenes and snippets from upcoming books.
There are two key things to keep in mind when writing in your blog: consistency, and sharable content. First and foremost, you need to post consistently and frequently. Search engines will like you more when you post new content. The trick is to lose the misperception that a blog post has to be of a certain length or a long-drawn out planning process. Let this go. It is far better to post a couple of paragraphs a few times a week than a lengthy 1,000 word post once a month. People gravitate toward snackable bites of content that are easily consumed and shared.
And remember blog content doesn’t actually have to center on words – it can be visual. The second key point of a blog is sharable content. Every post you make should have a video, photo, or book cover associated with it. If you do this, when your blog post is shared, the visual content will get shared as well, and help make your post be more attractive in social media newsfeeds.
Which brings us to sharing a blog post and a common mistake many people make. Make sure to share the actual post and not the blog as a whole. For example – http://seekerville.blogspot.com is the URL for the main page of The Seekers blog. The latest post will always be at the top. So, if I use this link to direct people to a post it will not send them directly to that post after you have posted something new. Instead, link to the actual post page.
http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2015/02/author-social-media.html is the link for The Seekers blog guest post that Jana Oliver and I did in February. No matter when someone clicks on this link they will be taken to our guest blog post and not the main page where they will have to hunt for it (and probably won’t take the time to do so on such an active blog.)
The second major social shareable content for your website should be your book covers and additional photos and videos. Hopefully, you have a page on your site that highlights your books. A cover shot and description are the minimum you should include.
Pinterest illustrates why having your covers on your site is important. Pinterest is a website for visual bookmarks and women are its primary users. Book covers are popular pins on Pinterest – and you want your readers to be able to easily pin yours. When Pinterest users click on the photo/pin of your book for more information they will be taken directly to your website IF the pin links back to there.
To maximize your impact use a medium to large size image instead of a thumbnail image. This means your book cover will take up more room in Pinterest’s feed – increasing your chance to be seen and clicked upon. To make it very easy for your readers to share your book cover you need to make your covers pinable. Pinterest has detailed instructions on their website – https://business.pinterest.com/en/pin-it-button. Add Pin It buttons to your covers, other related graphics, and even photos that you share. The visuals you use on your blog should also have Pin It buttons so your blog posts can be shared there as well (here’s an example of my pin of my guest blog post on Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/100416266668028071/).
Lastly, make sure to include social buttons on your website. This means not only buttons/links for people to follow you, but also share buttons for at least the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest). Also, if you focus your social interaction on Twitter, consider including your Twitter feed on your website. Depending on your platform, this can usually be done through installing a widget or plugin.
The key thing to remember is that your website is your home on the web, the only location that you control. Make sure your content is socially sharable to maximize your impact and drive more readers to your site.