Author Archives: Web Design Relief Staff

7 Biggest Mistakes Writers Make On Social Media | Web Design Relief

Whether you’re new to writing or a seasoned author, you should be developing a following on one or more social media platforms. Aspiring writers need to grow their audience and establish their online presence. Self-published authors can use social media to boost the promotion for their book launches. And nowadays even authors who’ve landed huge contracts with traditional publishers are expected to do social networking with gusto.

Yet the social media savants at Web Design Relief know that writers are not always skilled in the finer points of social networking. Here are examples of what NOT to do:

The Seven Worst Mistakes Writers Make On Social Media

Relentless Selling

Constantly screaming “Buy! Buy! Buy!” is NOT the most effective way to make a sale. The hard sell will make people tune out or unfriend you.

Social networking is all about making connections and cultivating relationships. Once rapport is established and maintained, your followers will be more likely to pay attention when you post news of your book launch.

The general rule of thumb is to minimize promotion to one out of every ten posts.

Posting Only Once In A Blue Moon

One of the most important rules of good social media management is to post regularly. If you disappear for an extended period of time, so will your followers, since less engagement means your posts will show up much less frequently in your followers’ news streams. And if anyone who visits your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., sees that the last time you posted was six months ago, they’ll assume you’ve abandoned the platform.

Try to post at least once daily. Don’t know what to post? Check out this cheat sheet.

Not Offering Value

To draw people to your social media account, you should offer them something they want. What you offer could be something concrete, such as a monthly giveaway, or something intangible, such as a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your books, your future writing plans, and even what makes you laugh, cry, and tick as a writer.


Avoiding Conversation

Here’s the bad news for introverts: Posting once a day and then fleeing to your writing garret won’t do it. You need to Like and Share posts/tweets, and perhaps even start actual conversations in the comments. Authentic interactions help develop relationships. The more connected your followers feel to you, the more likely they’ll do whatever you ask when the time comes for the big book launch.

Not Posting Images

Social media posts with images get a lot more engagement than those without. Liven up whatever you’re posting by making images of your own on a site like Canva, or by using stock pics or your own personal photos.

Forgetting To Use Hashtags

Hashtags help you reach a larger audience with a specific interest, and they’re particularly powerful on Twitter and Instagram. Adding a targeted hashtag can bring you to the attention of potential followers interested in, say, #freeBooks, #knitting, #financialtips, or #rescuedogs. While one or two hashtags are sufficient for Twitter, you can add as many as you want on Instagram.

One Caveat: With the changes made to Facebook’s algorithms, hashtags don’t help on Facebook and may even hurt—so don’t include hashtags in your Facebook posts.

Using Click Farm Tactics To Increase Followers

There are a lot of services out there that promise to increase your social media following by thousands in just a few months. But buyer beware—many of those followers may not be targeted to your particular interests, or they could just be bots. Publishers looking at social media followings focus on engagement and interaction rather than raw numbers. Organic growth is harder but more rewarding because a greater percentage of your followers will be interested in you and your work.

A social media following won’t happen overnight—but don’t be discouraged! Every platform focuses on a different audience, and it can take some time for you to effectively and efficiently find your followers. Growing a platform is a process. With time and effort, you’ll have a loyal following behind you.


Question: Share your expertise! What has worked for you to attract organic followers to your social media platforms?

6 New Ways To Get People To Visit Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

Ideally, you’ve designed your author website to project your unique author brand. You’ve maximized your bio, included a list of books with blurbs and reviews, started a blog or newsletter, and provided the necessary contact information. Since your author website was launched, you’ve been driving as much Web traffic as possible to this hub of all your promotion and marketing activity. But with the Internet always evolving, Web Design Relief asks—are you sure you’re taking advantage of any new opportunities available?

Six Up-To-The-Minute Ways To Get More Visitors To Your Author Website

Use Hashtags To Boost Web Traffic

You’re probably already using social media to announce new releases, blog posts, sales, and personal appearances. Escalating the reach of those posts, however, can help expand your audience and increase the number of visitors to your home page.

Hashtags are a way to sort and see all posts on a single topic. For example, the announcement of a book giveaway can reach far beyond your own followers if you include hashtags (#freebook, #bookgiveaway, #freebiefriday, and #freereads) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts.

Craft Blog Post Titles That Optimize For Keywords

Smart writers use blogs to provide fresh content on their website on a regular basis. But how much time do you spend on the title of your blog? Maximizing your blog title for keywords can make a big difference in how high the post ranks in the search engine results. The higher it ranks, the more people will see it and presumably click.

One effective way to check for relevant keywords is by using the Google Keyword Planner.

Cross Promote

Guest blogging and inviting other writers to blog on your site are great ways to promote cross-audience Web traffic and increase the hits on your website.

Another way to cross-pollinate is to do a multiauthor giveaway with one or several other authors in the same genre. You can promote the giveaway on your blog or newsletter, and the other authors will do the same, sending highly targeted visitors to your site.

Tweak SEO

Stuffing the content on your site with massive numbers of keywords is sure to make you sound like a robot. Fortunately, you’re a professional writer, so you know how to hook readers with scintillating text and hold them fast. Do that—except give your content an SEO keyword makeover by using better, laser-targeted keywords relevant to your book categories and themes.

Do a little housekeeping as well. Go through your author website to make sure all your links are live, your graphics have correctly coded alt-tags, and your title tags and metadata descriptions on each page are optimized for relevant keywords.

Speed Up Your Website

Are large video, music, or graphics files slowing down your website’s loading time? Do you have too many plugins? Selectively paring these items will allow search engines to crawl through the content on your site faster, creating more organic Web traffic. Wait times of as little as three seconds can make a reader flee, so speeding up your website can also help you keep casual fans engaged just a little longer.

Share Your URL

Are you broadcasting your author website everywhere you can? Consider these places you may have forgotten to put your Web address:

  • In your email signature line
  • In the front and back matter of every book
  • On your business cards, bookmarks, postcards, etc.
  • On swag: pens, notebooks, book bags, etc.
  • In your Twitter, Goodreads, BookBub, Pinterest, and Instagram blurbs, and the “About” section of your Facebook Business page

Whatever techniques you decide to use to increase traffic to your website, make sure you monitor the effectiveness. Track your Google Analytics both before and after and keep an eye on traffic, unique visitors, page views, and pages per visit in order to determine which techniques are working best.


Question: Do you use or follow hashtags in social media? If so, what are your favorites?

Author Website Spring Cleaning: Don’t Skip These Yearly Updates | Web Design Relief

When was the last time you checked on your own author website? Hmmmm…that long ago? Then it’s time to take a look and determine if your site is still delivering a pleasant, informative, efficient experience for your visitors. Or has it become static, outdated, and just plain dull?

The experts at Web Design Relief know that website trends, advancements, and plugins are continually evolving. So there can be real consequences for letting your author website go stale—including sinking search-engine rankings and bored, unimpressed readers, editors, and agents who quickly bounce off your site.

Make sure your author website is still working effectively and engaging your audience with these annual spring cleaning website updates:

Update Your Author Website Home Page

Does your landing page say “Just Released” about a book that was published a year ago? Have you included all the reviewer blurbs you’ve worked so hard to gather? Is it time to change the purpose of a landing page from promoting a new book to building newsletter subscribers? Does your home page include all the essentials along with very clear calls-to-action?

Update Your Author Photo

The New York Times best-selling author Susan Wiggs once said that if you’ve been in this business long enough, your greatest fiction will be your author photo.

Was your publicity shot taken more than eight years ago? It might be time to update it so that your fans recognize you at the book signings you’re hoping they’ll attend.

Update Your Author Bio

Has the number of books you’ve written increased since you last wrote your author bio? Do you have new accolades to crow about? Or perhaps your author bio reads like a curriculum vitae and it’s time to get more personal to encourage readers to care.

Update Your Social Media

New social media platforms are being launched all the time. Have you recently joined Snapchat? Started a YouTube channel? Have you included a link to your BookBub profile to encourage people to follow you there? Have you taken down your links to defunct services like Vine? Are social media icons clearly visible on every relevant page to encourage readers to join you on social media platforms?

Update Your Website Design

Are you tired of your website’s color scheme or design? Is there a better way to bring across your author brand with different website elements? Could your header use a tighter, more relevant tagline?

Update Your Books

Even if you’ve included all your current books on your website, consider whether you’ve updated them for the awards they might have won, or the great reviews or blurbs they’ve received, or soaring review numbers on Amazon.

Also add any up-and-coming books or works-in-progress so your readers will have something to look forward to.

Update Your Links

Annual website maintenance should include testing every link on your website to make sure none of them are broken. Nothing can kill a potential purchase more quickly than a link that doesn’t take the reader directly to the sales page.

While you’re testing links, consider starting new income streams by updating vendor links with affiliate tags. Authors can sign up for multiple programs including the Amazon Associates Program, the iTunes Affiliate Program, and the CJ Affiliate Program for Barnes & Noble.

Update Technologically

Is your website design mobile-friendly? More and more people are surfing the Internet on their phones, so having a website that adapts to small screens is important. Have you included a pop-up to ask for newsletter subscribers? If you’re active on Twitter or Facebook, have you included plugins that will allow readers to see your scrolling posts without leaving your website?

Update Your Author Website Security

Is your website safe against hackers? If you use WordPress, are your platforms and scripts up to date? Have you considered additional security plugins like BulletProof? Is it time to update the passwords that access your website? If you’re taking credit card orders, shouldn’t you invest in an SSL Certificate?

Making website maintenance an annual task is a smart way to keep your author website fresh and up to date. Readers, editors, agents, and search engine machines will all notice the difference.


Question: What’s the first page you go to on a new author’s website: About The Author, Book List, Contact Page, or Blog?

Apps To Make Your Photos Pop On Social Media | Web Design Relief

If you want to pack your readings and book signing events and sell more books, you need to grow your audience on social media. At Web Design Relief, our social media experts know this requires cutting through the clutter of everyone else’s posts, tweets, and pins! The most effective way to stand out on every… Continue Reading

How To Turn Your Author Website Into A Book-Selling Machine | Web Design Relief

Sure, you have an author website—these days, what smart, proactive author doesn’t? As the marketing experts here at Web Design Relief have often said, an author website is now synonymous with “online business card.” But unlike a flat, unchanging paper business card, your author website shouldn’t be a static “poster” site, existing just to give… Continue Reading

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