How to Build an Effective Website and What to Avoid

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web-designYour website is you. It tells who you are, what you can do for your clients, what you have done and why you should be the person chosen for the kind of projects you are looking for. An outstanding website can do all that but it must be carefully put together with an eye to careful content and strategic marketing strategies.

The Key Components of a Website

An author website should have many of the same components any business website should have:

  • A home page that gives a quick overview and welcome to the site
  • A service page detailing which services you offer
  • FAQ about your services
  • A portfolio with examples of your work or links to your online published work
  • An about page, giving your biography
  • Testimonials or reviews of your work
  • Contact page, with the various ways to reach you, including email, physical address and social media account links.

There are other pages as well that you could add depending on whether you actually have content to fill them with, such as events/calendar page or a press page.

Create Precise Content

Know your target audience and write to that audience. If you are a content writer who strictly works for small businesses, your content will sound different than if you are trying to find a publisher for that amazing book you wrote.

Ensure that your website has entertaining content that is recent and relevant. Talk about your personal writing process, what inspires you and how you discovered a certain character. Offer behind the scenes glimpses into the life of a writer. Go deeper on a topic that you often write about.

Vary the content on your site. While the written word is critical to an author's website, video, audio, high quality impressive images, a recent professional photo of yourself and even infographics can make a website much stickier. Having a sticky website is exactly what you want, because the longer someone stays on your page, the better the chances they will make the call to action that you have included in the content.

Explore SEO for Your Niche

Every business has a niche and you, as an author, have one that goes hand in hand with your target audience. Do some keyword research to find out what terms people use when searching for your type of services. There are lots of online tutorials that can quickly teach you how to do keyword research.

One simple strategy that will help to improve the SEO of your site is to put keywords in headlines (H1, H2) to get the attention of the search engines. Monitor the statistics of your website via Google Analytics or another analytics package, so you know about the traffic your site is getting and can make adjustments accordingly.

Promote Your Own Site

You are your own best promotions manager. Promote your website in any print marketing or online marketing you do. A link should be included anywhere your name appears, such as on social media profiles, press releases, blog comments, reviews and even your email signature. When online conversations are started with you, maintain them. This is the beginning of a relationship that may very well turn into a lead.

What Not to Do

As with most things, there are some specific things you simply must not do on your author website. In order to have a successful website avoid these pitfalls.

  • Don't neglect to ensure your site loads correctly on all the major Internet browsers: Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.
  • Don't make navigation of the site unnecessarily complicated.
  • Don't use music or Flash intros that make page loading lengthy.
  • Don't have broken links on your site.
  • Don't neglect the call to action. The purpose of your website is to convert a portion of visitors into actual customers, and the call to action is how it is done.

Easily the most valuable marketing tool today, your author website should be strategically created and closely monitored to make sure it does exactly what you want it to do.

Hannah Bloom is an author at LeraBlog and a technical analyst and wireless Internet writer for Zing! Broadband.

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