Category Archives: Marketing And Promotion

7 Things Writers Think They Must Do When Building A Website Vs. What They Actually Need To Do | Web Design Relief

When it’s time to create a website, many authors aren’t sure what they should include—so they go above and beyond what’s really necessary. If you’re new to the idea of website design, you might think adding more-more-more is the best way to get your money’s worth. But at Web Design Relief, we know you don’t need to use all the bells and whistles to build an engaging, professional, and functional author website. In fact, focusing on clean and uncluttered design is the best thing to do when building a strong online author platform.

Here are some so-called author website must-haves vs. what you actually need:

Website so-called must-have: A costly, professional headshot from the lead photographer at Vanity Fair.

What writers actually need: A clear, good DIY headshot that could easily be snapped with a cell phone, tablet, or by your camera-savvy best friend. Play with the filters. Adjust the lighting and exposure. Wear something that defines your style. A combination of soft, natural light and well-chosen clothing can be an affordable alternative to an expensive portrait. So “say cheese” and learn how to take your own headshot!

Website so-called must-have: A complex, fancy concept with many moving parts.

What writers actually need: A homepage call to action that gets results. Successful websites are designed with clarity and ease of navigation in mind. This doesn’t mean your author website can’t be intriguing or eye-catching. But rather than focusing on flashy effects, put your most important content front and center. Make it easy for your visitors to move around on your website by providing links or buttons to buy your book, read your portfolio, or sign up for your mailing list.

Website so-called must-have: A page for every single publication credit you have.

What writers actually need: One page with a list of your publications. It’s very unlikely anyone will make an effort to scroll through multiple pages to see your published works. Consolidate your publication history into a single, essential page with external links to read or preview your writing.

Website so-called must-have: A forum, instant messaging, and a visible snail mail address.

What writers actually need: A dedicated contact form. When you have one safe point of contact for your visitors, it will limit confusion and increase the odds of getting—and reading—messages from fans, editors, or agents. It also protects your personal information.

Website so-called must-have: As many buttons and links as possible (aka the infamous bells and whistles).

What writers actually need: Social media and Buy Now buttons. A button is a very powerful design element, so save it for something you really want to direct your visitors to do—like purchase your work and connect and share your content on social media. Use hyperlinks for any other content you want to steer visitors to.

Website so-called must-have: Elaborate aesthetics and elements.

What writers actually need: An easy-to-navigate and mobile-optimized design. You may think having a website that looks like a piece of art in a museum will impress your visitors, but functionality and professional standards are what will keep your audience coming back for more. Web visitors will quickly bounce off your site if they can’t figure out how to find what they’re looking for, or if your author website looks all wonky on a mobile device.

Website so-called must-have: A cybersecurity team.

What writers actually need: A good hosting provider. While you don’t need the CIA to keep your website and Internet visitors safe, a good host is one of the best ways to secure your website. What makes a good web host? One that performs regular site backups and software updates, just like the tech experts at Web Design Relief’s hosting service!

It can be easy to break the bank and go overboard with your website. Remember, for a professional-looking, high-performance author website: Less is more! Find more budget-friendly website tips here!

Writer: Create Your Own Author Blog Editorial Calendar | Web Design Relief

So you have an author website and blog? Great! But are you posting interesting, new content on a regular schedule? Life can get busy: A few long days at the office, extra carpools to violin lessons and soccer matches, binge watching that show everyone’s talking about…and before you know it, you’ve neglected your blog. The experts at Web Design Relief know that one of the best ways to manage your blog and increase your website’s readership is to use an editorial calendar. Here are smart, simple tips to help you create your own author blog editorial calendar.

How To Set Up A Blog Editorial Calendar

First things first…before you start planning your editorial calendar, you’ll need to consider the following things:

Goals: What is the goal of your author blog? Maybe you want to market your self-published book, gain more readers, or promote a cause that is meaningful to you and your writing. Once you know what you hope to accomplish with your blog, you’ll have the foundation for your editorial calendar.

Scheduling: The next step is determining when and how often you expect to post on your blog. Scheduling conflicts are one of the biggest problems writers face when maintaining a blog. If you know you work late on a certain day or are preoccupied with other commitments, avoid scheduling posts on these days. This will prevent blogger burnout and make it easier for you to post regularly!

Topics: If you don’t have any ideas or topics to write about on your blog, it will be difficult to stay on track! Plan as many topics as you can in advance. Here are a few blog post ideas that can apply to almost every genre of writer: a day in your writing life, what inspires you, or your latest project. Really stumped about what to post next? Try out some of these 40 blog post ideas.

More Elements Of A Successful Editorial Calendar

Due Dates: For blogging consistency, include a section to schedule both the date you need your blog post completed and the date you want the post to go live. This will give you ample time to edit and adjust the post while still keeping to your schedule. Check out how to stay sane when you’re on a writing schedule.

Blog Post Title: Every professional blog post needs a title! You’ll definitely want to add a section for titles and even subtitles in your editorial calendar. Engaging, clever titles can be tough to come up with, so if you need some inspiration, check out this guide on how to title just about anything.

Content Details: When you outline the details of your blog post right in your editorial calendar, it makes actually writing it so much easier. You’ll have the basis for your post readily available, and a few key points to get you started. For more easy tips, take a look at this weary writer’s guide to better blogging.

Keywords: Keywords give the SEO of your blog post a boost! When readers search for the keywords that appear in your article, having good SEO improves the odds that they’ll find your blog and visit your author website. Make a list in your editorial calendar so these keywords are included in your post!

Target Audience: Knowing the type of reader you want to attract to your blog helps you focus your blog posts to best appeal to your audience. You may wish to reach longtime readers with your content or connect with new fans. With targeted posts, it can even increase your number of comments.

How To Create Your Actual Calendar

There are many programs available that you can use to create your editorial calendar. The most popular is Microsoft Excel, which boasts an extensive array of options, layouts, tabs, and more. Google Sheets is an online alternative that lets you create an editorial calendar where you can upload files. And there are many other programs available that will help you create a blog editorial calendar that works best for you as a writer.

An editorial calendar can keep you organized and consistent—and make it easier for your author blog to effectively function as a powerful promotional element on your website.


Question: Which type of calendar do you use to track your blog posts?

10 Social Media Book Marketing Strategies Writers Should Avoid | Web Design Relief

These days, the life of an author is often divided between writing books and online marketing on social media. But do you know what kinds of posts and book promotions are unwelcome—or even prohibited— on social media platforms? At Web Design Relief, we know that even innocent efforts to attract new fans and friends may run afoul of the powers that be. And if your accounts are suspended, blocked, or banned, you’ll be cut off from your most powerful online marketing tools. Here’s how to play it safe when promoting your book on social media.

Social Media Book Marketing Strategies That Writers Should Avoid

Using Disallowed Strategies In Social Media Contests

A contest is a great way to create excitement about your book. And while it may be tempting to require your fans or followers to “tag their friends” or “share this post” as a way to submit a contest entry into your book giveaway, this option is expressly forbidden according to Facebook Promotion Guidelines.

Joining Too Many Groups On Facebook

There are thousands of public and private groups on Facebook that cater to book lovers of every genre. As an author, these are great places to do some online marketing by connecting with avid readers. However, if you join too many Facebook groups in a short period of time, Facebook is likely to red-flag you as a potential spammer. Best advice: Don’t join more than a few groups a day.

Sending Too Many Friend Requests

You want to build a big community, so it’s natural you’ll request new friends. However, if you send out too many friend requests in a short amount of time on Facebook or Instagram, these platforms may flag you as a possible bot. Rather than sending all your friend requests at once, do a few every day to avoid having your accounts blocked or suspended.

Furthermore, to avoid being labeled a book marketing spammer, it’s best to send requests to people with whom you already share friends, groups, or interests. If too many of your friend requests are rejected, those individuals may mark your requests as “spam.”

Posting Too Often And Too Quickly

As an author, you’re told to post multiple times a day and respond as quickly as possible to anyone who comments in order to keep your followers engaged. But if you upload the same exact post to multiple places within minutes, Facebook and Instagram will recognize this behavior as similar to that of a spam-bot. The platforms are likely to squash such activity with a suspension or a shadow ban.

Post frequently, and answer fast, but make sure to leave at least a few minutes between shares and posts so you don’t mimic the behavior of a software macro.

Automating Your Posting

There are many programs available that offer to help you automate your book marketing strategy on Pinterest and Instagram, but buyer beware: At the time of this article, both of these platforms prohibit the use of automated systems. Data scrapers are also banned from Instagram and Pinterest, so you’ll just have to gather the links or images you need for your next blog post yourself.

Facebook will allow you to schedule multiple posts in advance, and you can schedule Tweets on Twitter using programs like Hootsuite without any issues.

Putting Links In The Wrong Place In Pinterest

Pinterest has very specific rules as to where you can put the link associated with the picture you’re posting on your board. Click “edit” on a posted picture and insert the link in the box labeled “link.” You can be suspended or banned for putting your link anywhere else in the metadata.

Posting Violent Or Gory Content

Attention, authors writing serial killer or noir thriller novels! Community standards vary in terminology across social media platforms, but content that is perceived to incite violence, such as terrorist activity, hate speech, criminal activity, and cruel or insensitive content that’s directed to particular victims or classes of victims, etc., is prohibited. Most platforms also strive to stop and pull down images of graphic violence, including gory surgical procedures, and ban or suspend the accounts of those who post it.

Posting Pornographic Content

Attention, writers of erotica! You won’t be banned for sharing a photo of the naked sculpture of Michelangelo’s David, or for sharing a post that includes non-sexual nudity for educational or medical purposes, but remember to be mindful of the community standards of each platform when it comes to what is considered lewd or pornographic content. Most platforms will ban users who post prohibited content such as:

  • Child nudity or any sexually exploitive photos of children
  • Sexual violence
  • Nude or pornographic posts that target people with the intention of degrading or shaming them
  • Posts of private pictures for the purpose of harassment

Posting Copyrighted Content

Don’t pull random photos or graphics from the Internet to create your posts. While authors may gasp in horror at the suggestion that they would ever copy someone else’s intellectual property, copyright infringement happens often online—particularly when it comes to graphics and photos. Make sure the images you post are yours, that you’ve attributed them if necessary, and you have the right to use them. Limit your photos to those found on sites offering royalty-free images like Shutterstock. Multiple violations won’t only get you in trouble with the copyright owners, but they might land you in Facebook Jail or get you banned from Pinterest or suspended from Twitter.

Posting Hacked Materials

Twitter specifically prohibits posting hacked information that would expose personal identity content, trade secrets, or anything that might put people in danger. You’re not allowed to post a link to hacked materials, either.

If you do run afoul of social media platform rules, they’ll usually send a warning or, at worst, briefly suspend the account before taking more drastic action. Avoid this fate by protecting your accounts, and all the hard work you’ve done to grow them, by being aware of community standards and avoiding spam-like behaviors. In the end, the best way to avoid the Facebook Sheriff is to tailor your posts for high engagement by focusing on what makes you and your work unique and wonderful.

Question: What is your favorite social media platform and how do you use it?

How To Create A “Book Me” Page On Your Author Website To Get More Speaking Gigs| Web Design Relief

Networking, shaking hands, and meeting new people is a great way to drum up interest in the speaking or book signing events you can offer as an author. But your author website can be equally effective at nabbing you some new invitations to speak—if you’re using it right. Imagine: You could be lounging around in… Continue Reading

Online Book Marketing Isn’t Working? Here’s What To Adjust | Web Design Relief

As a marketing-savvy author, you know building a social media platform is vital to your writing career. That’s why you post frequently, respond to all comments, and monitor your social media platforms throughout the day. But at Web Design Relief, our experts know that sometimes your online book marketing strategies don’t show any real results.… Continue Reading

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