You’ve worked hard to develop your author website. You’ve got great branding, plenty of social media links, a newsletter sign-up form, a printable book list, an author bio, an active blog, a contact page, and a tab of upcoming events. Yet when you check your Google Analytics (you have checked your Google Analytics, right?), the numbers reveal that a big percentage of your website visitors never see your content. It’s as if they take one look at your landing page and then bounce right off.
Why Visitors Bounce Off A Website
A “bounce rate” is a measure of how many visitors navigate away from your site after looking at only one page. If those visitors are hurrying away in order to purchase your book, then a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a problem—enable e-commerce tracking for your site to determine if this is the case.
Unfortunately, it’s more likely that a high bounce rate is an indication that your landing page isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do. In other words, your visitors arrived hoping to learn more about you and your writing, but instead found themselves bombarded by sales pitches or turned off by irrelevant info.
So how can you entice visitors to stay on your site long enough to be charmed into buying your novel, entering your contest, or signing up for your newsletter?
3 Ways to Give Your Author Website “Staying Power”
Visitor-Friendly Design. Most visitors shape an opinion about your author website within seconds. Your branding may be innovative, splashy, and exciting—but don’t let your design decisions trump basic practicality. Keep in mind:
- Website visitors scan rather than read. Make sure the headings on your landing page are visible so people can quickly find what they’re looking for.
- Website visitors hate to squint. Use easy-to-read fonts with a sharp contrast between the text and the background color.
- Website visitors are suspicious. Don’t scare off visitors with chaotic, busy design elements, or bore them with slow uploads. Minimize slide shows, banner ads, and auto-play videos.
- Website visitors are impatient. Since more and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to surf the Web, make sure your website is mobile-responsive.
- Website visitors are in a hurry. Don’t intimidate them with large blocks of text. Break up blog posts and essays with headings, bullet points, and shorter paragraphs.
Compelling Content. You’re a writer, so you already know how to craft compelling material. Give your website visitors more than what they hope to find by posting frequent, magnetic content:
- Free, exclusive, sneak-peek first-chapter excerpts.
- Frequent engaging blog posts about you, your experiences, or your writing journey.
- News like book cover reveals, upcoming appearances, contest wins, and awards.
- Interesting biographical info with an eye-catching image.
Call-To-Action. The best way to entice visitors further into your author website is to have a clear, primary call-to-action on your landing page.
Think about what you would like your website visitors to do. As an author, you might want them to buy your book, subscribe to your newsletter, or enter a contest. Yet, asking for something from your visitors the minute they arrive feels harsh, greedy, and off-putting.
To overcome skepticism and develop trust, consider making your call-to-action a gift, as in the following examples:
- “Click Here For An Exclusive Sneak-Peek Excerpt Of My Fabulous Book.”
- “I’d Love To Meet You! Check Out My Upcoming Events Here.”
- “A Gift For You: Click Here To Get Your Free eBook Copy Of My Series Prequel.”
- “Enter Here To Win A Copy Of My Best Seller Today!”
- “Join My Newsletter And Get An Exclusive Companion Novella To My Hot Series.”
- “Want More Sneak Peeks, Perks, And Weekly Giveaways? Click Here To Join The Street Team!”
Whether your goal is to promote your books, grow your blog subscription list, or boost newsletter sign-ups, presenting website visitors with a single, clear, clickable instruction that leads them deeper into your site will encourage them to explore all the great content you’ve worked so hard to craft. And the better they get to know you and your writing, the more likely they’ll become your dedicated fans.
QUESTION: When learning about new authors, which do you check out first: their website or their social media profiles?