How to build traffic to your author website

In a recent edition of Dragon’s Den, one of the dragons declared that you couldn’t launch a website successfully with a budget of less than £100,000. That may be true of big price comparison sites, but it certainly doesn’t apply to author websites. Here are seven ways to promote your site that are easy, effective and completely free.

Email signatures
An email signature is a piece of text that’s automatically added to the end of all your emails. Make sure you put a link to your site in yours so every message you send is helping with your promotion. Here’s what mine says at the moment:

Diana Kimpton
Author of more than 40 books for children,
including the Pony-Mad Princess series
Also writes for grown-ups

If you’re not sure how to set up an email signature, use Google to find the right instructions for your software.

Social Media
Include your website address (URL) in all your social media profiles including Twitter, Facebook and Linked in. Avoid purely promotional posts of the “Visit my site” variety but a well-targeted post mentioning a useful article is usually welcome.

Your Books
Put your website address in all your books. This is easy to do if you are self-publishing because you’re in control. If you’re using the traditional route, you’ll need to ask your publisher to do it for you.

Your Stationery
Put your web address on your letterhead, business cards, with complements slips and anything else you decide to use.

Press releases and articles
Make sure your web address is included in press releases about you or your books and any background information for conferences, school visits, guest blogs and magazine articles.

Links from other sites
If you think about how you use the internet, you’ll realise the importance of links to your site from others on a similar theme. They bring you extra visitors and increase your ranking in some search engines (especially Google). But links from irrelevant sites are less effective and ones from “we link to anyone who pays us” may do more harm than good. So don’t get sucked into link exchange schemes and definitely don’t pay anyone to link to you. If you’re traditionally published, ask your publisher and agent to link to you.

Search engines
There are many search engines out there but some are more important than others. Don’t pay for listing – it’s not worth it. The good search engines will pick you up anyway for free, although it may be worth submitting your site via the “Suggest a site” section.

And finally
Be patient while you wait for these techniques to work. We’ve been building and running websites for 15 years and, in our experience, website traffic takes time to build. It usually grows slowly at first and increases more rapidly as word spreads about the site’s existence. And numbers aren’t everything. It’s better to have 50 visits a day from people who are really interested in your books than 1000 from people who were really looking for something else.

Diana Kimpton

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