Friday, October 26, 2012

JRWC12 Tidbit #4 - Priceless Website Insights

Every author is told to develop their web presence as soon as possible. Join social media and set up a website. But if you're new to the whole shebang, what are the basics? How do you pull together the best web presence you can before you've even sold your first book/story?

JRW's session, Insight Into Your Site: Website 101,  offered attendees plenty of helpful points and information. The panel consisted of Erin Blakemore (author, The Heroine's Bookshelf), Colleen Lindsay (community manager, Penguin's,  and Anna Sproul (agent, Ross Yoon Agency) and was moderated by JRW's Maya Payne Smart.

Suggestions, hints, and advice flew around the panel like bees around honey. Or perhaps it was my own desperation to absorb every possible tidbit that made it seem like this session was a motherload of good stuff.

The most valuable thing for me was a list of Basic Website components:
  • Keep the design simple and clean. No music. No crazy dancing graphics. No "Enter Here" preliminary page.
  • All content should be your best writing and carefully edited by yourself and at least one other pair of eyes
  • The Home Page needs to be constantly updated/refreshed with new information - it was suggested (strongly) that your blog be the Home Page/blog frequency 1X per week minimum
  • Contact Me tab/button/page should not be a form to be filled out by the visitor but contain a professional email address, your name, any current projects, and a professionally taken photo
  • Social Media links should be prominent and link to an ACTIVE social media presence. If you don't use twitter, don't put it on the website (yet)
  • If you're published, make sure you have a Call to Action on every page - Buy The Book - with links to your book
This led to some discussion about social media. Again, if you don't like facebook, don't link to it, don't promote it. Only link to those media platforms you intend to maintain properly.

Something I'd forgotten to do - Your Twitter Home Page should also be nicely worked up with a photo for your handle and appropriate personalization. No one likes or trusts the anonymous little eggheads. I came home and spent a little time personalizing my own Twitter Home Page. You Like? Well, it's a WIP.

Oh, and speaking of Twitter, be sure that you don't tweet "Buy my book! Buy my book!" but that you DO tweet good content. Links to articles you think would be interesting. Tweets by people you follow and respect. Tweets that you feel inform, entertain, and/or relate to your passion. And try to make sure you keep the character count low enough that it can be successfully RETWEETED.

Whew! See what I mean? Now, get crackin'!


  1. Thanks for the suggestions! I've already made a few changes to my web site. Love your new Twitter profile page!

    1. Hi, Leah! Thanks. I could have just bopped myself for not thinking of it before! DOH!