Establishing a Visible Web Presence
The closest, easiest-to-use, and most effective marketplace available to authors is on the Web. What’s more, the Internet is the fastest-growing marketplace for books, and on-line book sales are poised to surpass sales through traditional retail outlets. As a published author, you’re in a great position to take advantage of the Web as both a powerful marketing and sales tool.
The rise of the Internet has created a double-edged sword for authors who want a presence on the World Wide Web. It is larger and more accessible than ever before, so competition for Web surfers’ attention has grown intensely over the past few years. Attracting readers to your Web site requires a coordinated effort to make your site visible among the millions of other sites available.
Choosing Your Domain Name & URL
Your first decision when creating a visible Web marketing site is the choice of your site’s domain name, which appears in its Web address, or URL (uniform resource locator). A URL identifies the location of Web pages on the Internet. In the URL “https://www.yoursampledomainname.com”, the domain name is “yoursampledomainname”; the letters preceding the domain name identify the protocol used to access the address, and the suffix “.com” is the most commonly used suffix for commercial sites. More than one domain name can point to the same Web site. Registering a domain name requires a fee, which may need to be paid yearly.
Of course, you can’t choose a domain name that’s already in use. Looking before hand can pay off in the long run, and ultimately generate more visits in the future. A public domain name database, known as Whois, tracks domain names and can verify whether specific names are already registered; visit www.whois.net for more information. Ideally, your domain name should reflect the way potential visitors will think of you and your book, making your URL relatively “intuitive” for the public. You need to choose carefully to make your URL address easy to learn and use. Here are some simple rules for choosing a good domain name and URL:
- Short & Logical Choose a domain name and URL that are easy to remember. You might choose some form of your name (susansmith.com), for example, or the title of your book (darkwater.com). If your book title is long, considering shortening it; goodeats.com, for example, will be easier for visitors to remember than goodeatingfrommainetocalifornia.com.
- Simplify Spelling Try to avoid words that are difficult to spell or hard to remember. If your name is Michael Zabloskonowsky, for example, you may not want to use that name as a basis for the URL of a Web site marketing your first book, because many people will have difficulty remembering the spelling. MichaelZ.com, on the other hand, might work well. If your book title includes a word that’s commonly misspelled, you might want to register your domain name for multiple addresses. So, if your book is titled The Proud Misspeller, you might register the domain names proudmisspeller and proudmispeller to point to your Web site’s URL, so that readers will find you under both spellings.
- Add Multiple Suffixes You might want to register multiple versions of your domain name with different suffixes, such as susansmith.com and susansmith.net, just to be sure that someone else with a too-similar domain name doesn’t end up with visitors who were looking for your site.
Choosing a short and logical domain name that is easy to spell is the first step in creating a visible web presence, and using a combination of keywords, metadata, and links on your pages will optimize your site for search engines and make it easy to find for Web users.
Using search terms and keywords in your site’s copy that are popular with your Web audience will increase your visibility on search engines. Web users naturally search for terms they are familiar with, so it essential to include terms from the vocabulary of your audience. The popular axiom of “speak the user’s language” has long been a guide for writing copy with keywords that will optimize your search engine visibility.
Making Data Easy to Find
Adding metadata to each of the pages on your site can increase your search engine visibility. Metadata is essentially “data about data” and gives you the ability to choose a description and keywords for the content on each page of your site. Metadata, along with keyword content in your written copy, links to your site, and several other factors determine your page’s rank among search engine results. Including a concise description and four to five keywords in the metadata for each page can help search engines locate and list your site.
In addition to boosting credibility and providing additional sources for readers, links out from and into your site will boost your pages’ standing with search engines. The specific algorithms search engines use to rank Web pages are constantly changing, but including links on your site and having other sites link to your pages will increase your search engine rankings.
Author Web Marketing service
Don’t worry that you’re too far out of the technology loop to take advantage of Web markets; for a relatively minor investment of time and money, anyone can wage an effective Web marketing campaign. If you do not have the time or technical ability to create a Web site from scratch, AuthorHouse offers the Author Web Marketing service. With this new service AuthorHouse creates a personalized web site to generate interest in your book, drive book sales and alert readers to upcoming events in one centralized internet location. You choose your domain name and AuthorHouse registers the name and builds the site for you. You can then use a content management tool within the Author Center to add copy, links and images to your site in an editor similar to a word processor. With this “what you see is what you get” design tool, you don’t have to work with HTML or CSS code, and can update your site whenever you’d like.