Author Resources
Free Publishing Guide

Creating Effective Content for Your Site

Once you’ve handled the logistics of setting up a Web site and established a visible Web presence for your book, you’ll need to choose content to feature on your site. Your Web site should be designed to market your book, so you can include much of the same material that you make available in your media kits and other marketing materials.

Here are just some of the types of information you might want to include in a basic Web site:

  • Home Page—one central location or "home base" that links to the specific pages on your site
  • Your Books—a unique page that lists your books with their covers, an About the Book paragraph and a link to online bookseller outlets
  • Book Reviews—a page where you can post reviews of your book to build interest and feature published articles, interview transcripts or testimonials about your book
  • Events—a digital calendar provides information to boost attendance at your upcoming events and lets your reader easily track important dates
  • Weblog—a forum where you can add text posts about writing and book events
  • Links—connect to other sites related to your book’s genre and topic

Attracting readers to your Web site—and keeping them coming back—requires a coordinated effort to make your site fast and convenient, and packed with information that is useful, specific, and regularly updated.

Writing Effective Copy for the Web

The first step in developing strong content for your Web site is the copy, or text, you write for your site’s pages. Writing for the Web is significantly different in tone, content, and form than writing for a literary audience. Strong online content is simple, useful, and relevant. Using concise text and recognizable keywords is more effective than a lengthy explanation, because Internet readers tend to scan text online rather than reading word for word. A good rule of thumb is to use half the words on the Web that you would use in other media.

Because readers may only take a few seconds to look over your site, there are more efficient ways of organizing than only using paragraphs, even if they are short and focused on a single topic. Headings and subheadings are effective tools to help the readers scan your page for the information they are looking for, and bolding headings and other keywords makes them stand out from other text. Bulleted lists can also be an effective communication tool on the Web, as they naturally tend to be short and emphasize keywords.

Editing & Pre-publishing Process

The Author Web Marketing Service was created to streamline Web content creation and allow you to easily publish directly to your site. But publishing your copy to the Web is actually the last step in a process that begins with writing and editing. There are many ways to check your copy before you post it online:

  • Compose copy in a word processing program, rather than in the content management tool. You’ll be able to save and spell-check your work without publishing it.
  • Print your copy from a word processor and read through the printed version. Changing media will often reveal typos and errors you don’t catch on the computer screen.
  • Read your copy aloud before you publish it. Misspellings and improper usage are obvious when you stumble over a sentence. It is useful for someone else to read your copy aloud. Their fresh perspective will provide a reader’s point of view.
  • Publish your copy online after it has been thoroughly edited and reviewed, and make sure to read it directly from your site, checking one last time for errors.

Organizing a Site for Easy Navigation

Once you have decided on your page structure and created original copy for your site, consider how all the pieces of the puzzle come together before your site goes live. Once a user arrives at your home page, navigating within the site should be obvious, streamlined and natural. For sites with ten pages or fewer, use your home page to link to every other page on your site. Organize the pages in a list or a sidebar, with the most useful pages first, and the rest following. Users should arrive at your home page and quickly be able to find the information they are looking for.

Once you have set up your home page, make sure that each subsequent page has a link back home so users can easily return. You can also create a natural progression for users to click through your site. Put an obvious link on the bottom of your home page that connects to your featured books page. Once users have seen your book covers and read about the books, provide a link that connects with your book review page so users can see what other readers are saying about your books. By creating a progression of links throughout your site, users can continually find more information easily and naturally.

With the Author Web Marketing Service, AuthorHouse will host and set up your site for you with all of the pages and links already created. All you have to do is write original content for your site and publish it online with the Content Management Tool in the Author Center. For more information about the Author Web Marketing Service, please call 888.519.5121 to speak with your Author Services Representative or an Author Advocate.