Category Archives: Get More Traffic To Your Website

Use Your Author Website To Make Readers Care About You As A Writer | Web Design Relief

As a writer, your job is to create a narrative that hooks the reader, raises curiosity, elicits empathy, and leaves the reader satisfied. But have you ever considered how these fundamentals of storytelling can be harnessed to improve your author website?

Web Design Relief outlines the simple steps to create a website that will make readers, editors, and agents care about you as a writer:

Burnish Your Author Bio

Your “About The Author” page should be much more than a dry listing of books, birthplace, and accolades. Toss out those marketing checklists of what to include, along with any sentence that begins “I have been writing since I was (age).” To share your story, write your author bio like a personal essay. Here are ways to draw your readers in and make them curious about you:

  • Relate the story of the first moment you realized you wanted to be a writer so that the wonder feels as real to the reader as it did to you.
  • Explain the core message you wish to express through your fiction or nonfiction, and why, when, and how this theme became important to you.
  • Share the other joyous things that fill your world, such as hobbies, family, pets, or your love of travel or community, if they relate to your writing.
  • Include two kinds of bios by starting with a personal story and then ending with a “back-of-the-book” author bio that includes career highlights.

Highlight Your Headshot

Putting a face to a name deepens the personal connection, so including a headshot on your website is a marketing must. Deciding what kind of publicity photo depends on your brand and your writing. Do you write dark suspense or horror? You may want a more shadowy shot with a subdued smile. Do you write romantic comedy? A laughing shot in the bright outdoors may be just the thing. A nonfiction writer should aim to look like a capable, intelligent, trustworthy purveyor of smart new information. Writing humor? Break out the boa and the Groucho Marx glasses.

You might also consider including some candid shots on your author bio page to give readers a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse: photos of your office desk, your groaning bookshelves, the view from your deck, or you at book signings, workshops, or conferences.

These days, you don’t have to break the marketing budget to snap great publicity photos, so take a bunch and see what works best.

Delve Into The Dear Reader Letter

A “Dear Reader” letter gives you the advantage of having your landing page make a personal connection with a potential new reader. It’s a chance to showcase your voice, strengthen your brand, and raise some curiosity that will launch a reader deeper into your website.

In your “Dear Reader” letter, you can include:

  • A hearty welcome to the fictional world you’ve created, or a congratulations to the reader for seeking information about your nonfiction topic.
  • An intriguing description of the kind of fiction or nonfiction you write, as well as what the reader can hope to learn or experience by reading your books.
  • An offer of a gift to the reader, such as a free short story, novella, or resources pdf.
  • A well-crafted blurb about your most recent book along with a story of how it came about.
  • If appropriate to your brand, an engaging story of something personal that’s going on in your life that will leave readers nodding, laughing, and/or emotionally moved.

Build A Blog

There may be no better way to tell your personal story than to blog on a regular basis. Blogging lets you share with readers what is important to you. If you write cookbooks, share recipes as well as cooking stories. If you write cozy mysteries involving the owner of a yarn store, showcase your knitting projects. Horror and historical writers can expound on factoids discovered during research. And while readers, editors, and literary agents are getting to know you—you’re building a marketing platform for future releases.

Even the most extroverted writers can sometimes have difficulty writing personal essays and/or blogs. Shy writers have a particularly hard time with this kind of marketing. Think of it as narrative nonfiction or memoir. If you need advice, consult friends and family who know you well for help in choosing subjects. And remember to craft your stories around a consistent brand that will make you memorable to readers, agents, and editors.


Question: What is the “core story” or “central message” of your fiction or nonfiction, and how do you communicate that message on your website?



Are People Visiting Your Website And Clicking Like You Want? | Web Design Relief

You just launched your brand-new author website and you’re posting on your blog frequently. Now the question is: How can you know for sure that people are visiting your website—and how can you get more to do so? At Web Design Relief, our designers know all the online tools that will track whether people are visiting your website and who they are. You can also learn which pages of your website are most interesting to viewers and are visited most frequently. One of the most comprehensive online analytic tools available is Google Analytics.

Using Google Analytics To Track Your Author Website Visits

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful free-to-use tools online today. With Google Analytics, you can measure everything from real-time site visits, to social media referrals, to average time spent on any particular page, and much more. Google Analytics even gives you tips on how to optimize your site for better results. Everyone from self-published authors to large publishing companies use Google Analytics to keep track of visitor data.

At first, the Google Analytics interface can seem a little intimidating—but once you know what kind of information you’re looking for, it’s quite easy to find. Google will help you to set up your new Analytics account, and in most cases, you will receive your own unique code that will help your website and Google Analytics communicate. After setting up your Analytics account, you’ll start receiving data in just a few hours.

On the front page of Google Analytics (as of July 2017), you’ll find several charts:

  • Audience Overview
  • Users By Time Of Day
  • Real-Time Report
  • Acquisition Report
  • Location Overview
  • Active Users Report
  • Cohort Analysis Report
  • Mobile Overview
  • Pages Report
  • Goals Overview

Each of these categories delivers very specific data that you can use to evaluate your author website. Most of these reports are fairly self-explanatory, and you can even change dates to cover a specific time frame. For example, there may be an instance where you would like to see a larger timeline of data—so you can switch from a seven-day report to a thirty-day report. Most of the data is presented in line, bar, or pie graphs with accompanying key charts.

Two Google Analytics Charts You’ll Want To Check Daily

Audience Overview

What is it? The Audience Overview includes the number of sessions during a time period, Page Views, Average Session Duration, Bounce Rate, and New Sessions.

How to use it: This analytic lets you know how many people are coming to your site and how long they’re staying. Obviously the more Sessions and Page Views the better—but also pay attention to your Bounce Rate. If your Bounce Rate is high, the majority of people coming to your site aren’t staying very long. This could be due to lack of engaging content or maybe a slow-functioning website. Make sure your website is fast and mobile friendly. Also include more engaging blog posts and website pages to entice more people to visit your site and stay on longer.

Users By Time Of Day

What is it? Here’s where you’ll find the times of day during the week you have the most visitors.

How to use it: Plan your posts! Knowing the times when your author website has the most visitors and capitalizing on that is a great way to keep your site active. If you find that 4:00 PM on Wednesday is the busiest time and day for your website, then that would be the perfect time to post new blog entries or news.


Question: Do you have a blog on your website? How often do you post new entries?


How To Get Fans To Open Your Emails


For years you’ve been developing a community of dedicated fans and followers who you’ve convinced to sign up for your newsletter or blog. Yet whenever you send a newsletter, your email marketing provider reports that the percentage of subscribers who actually open your emails is in the single digits. What’s going on?

You’d think that any author with a well-curated mailing list would have close to a 100 percent open rate, but the truth is far different. Email marketing software services like MailChimp keep statistics on average open rates for different industries. For the category of arts and artists, a 27 percent open rate is average. For the media and publishing industry, open rates hover around 22 percent.

If your open rates match these, you’re doing well. But it never hurts to do better. A higher open rate means more folks will see your information and perhaps do whatever you’re asking of them—like click through to buy your newly launched or newly discounted book. Here’s how to improve your email open rate:

Develop A Strong, Targeted Mailing List

Open rates can be affected by several factors, but one of the most important is the strength of your list. Some writers may brag about having a mailing list of thousands, but if those thousands were gathered willy-nilly rather than by thoughtful, cherry-picking methods that target true-blue fans and followers, then fewer of those email subscribers are likely to open up unsolicited emails.

A clean, smaller, curated list is always more valuable than a scattershot one—and not just because of higher open rates. Unfocused lists tend to have higher unsubscribe rates, which can trigger spam warnings from your email subscription service.

Three tips on how to clean up your mailing list:

  • If your list has emails but not first and last names, take a hard look at how you’re collecting data from your fans and followers. Subscribers are more likely to open an email if it’s personally addressed to them.
  • If you have one master list that gathers emails from several different sources, such as from different pen names writing in different genres, consider segmenting the list. Separating your horror fans from your sci-fi fans allows you to send emails laser targeted to the individual audience, which can increase open rates.
  • Consider using the “double” or “confirmed” opt-in option for signing up new subscribers. This email marketing option requires new fans and followers to confirm their email before they’re added to your email list. Jumping through that second hoop means your new subscriber is a dedicated one.

Use Intriguing Email Subject Lines That Boost Open Rates

Open rates are all about the subject line. You can write the most amazing email, but your email subscribers won’t even see it if they’re not first intrigued by your subject line. You’ve got to hook your reader in fifty amazing characters—or about five to seven words. Here’s how to write an eye-catching subject line:

  • Avoid screaming all-caps and multiple consecutive exclamation points. They look desperate and spammy.
  • Short and sweet subject lines will better catch the eye of a harried subscriber swiftly scanning through email.
  • A ticking clock is a powerful motivator. If your offer is time-sensitive, reveal it in the subject line.
  • A provocative question is a great way to tempt a fan or follower into clicking open your email.
  • Lists are powerful click-bait. If the content of your newsletter is about the five best YA novels for the summer, use your title.
  • Make a subject line into a call to action, using command words like “Bring a friend!” “Order now!” “Ready, Set, Go!”
  • Alliteration is always awesome.
  • Know your fans and followers and be creative. If your audience enjoys humor, draw them in with a pun, a joke, or a play on words. If your readers love mysteries, intrigue them. If your followers are fact fanatics, give them a statistic so unexpected, they have to open the email to read more.
  • Make use of the subject line tools provided by your email marketing software provider, such as the spam checker from Constant Contact and MailChimp’s subject line researcher and tester.

A mailing list is a powerful, effective way to connect with your fans and followers. While you continue to work smart to build your list, make sure you also engage those fans through your newsletters and announcements. The better you know them, the better they’ll come to know you and your work.

Question:  How often do you like to hear from your favorite authors?  Once a week, a month, a year?

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A memorable, effective author website will act as your online hub and boost your writing career. But there are Web design elements that can sabotage even your best efforts and send potential fans bouncing off your website. Since visitors will decide in the first few seconds whether they’re going to stay on your site or… Continue Reading

How To Identify (And Focus On) Your Promotional Strengths

Your dreams of being a successful, published writer probably didn’t include visions of pounding the pavement and sending out email blasts, trying to sell your book. But whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, doing your own marketing is the new reality. The trick is to find out what you’re good at (and what you’re not!)… Continue Reading

Inbound Marketing For Authors: Setting Up Your Mailing List

In our first article about Inbound Marketing For Authors, we learned how Inbound Marketing can benefit your author brand. Now we’ll take a look at how to set up a mailing list, integrate it into your author website, and send out your first mailing. Let’s get started! Set Up Your Mailing List Your mailing list… Continue Reading

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