The problem with authors is we do a lot of research and we know a lot of things. We can even give others great advice about what to do with their writing and website. We have a harder time doing it for ourselves.
This is often because we freeze out of fear. How do we know if what we are doing will work, and with all of the authors out there, how do we set ourselves apart? The other aspect of the author life is that most of us suffer from imposter syndrome, regardless of how successful we are. If we put ourselves too far out there, someone might discover we’re really not that good at what we do.
However, if we can overcome this fear and create a great web presence, we will be more successful and sell more books. So, how do create your own content and maximize SEO for your own website?
Your Web Presence
The first key is your web presence. This means you need to have a website. For authors, this is often something we don’t think all that much about. We go and purchase the website that is also our name even if it is through a free site like Blogger or WordPress.com, and then we build a homepage with our book covers or bio, and we’re done, right?
Wrong. First of all, there are some things you need to think through before you even choose a domain name. Thousands of authors are out there doing the same thing you are, and you won’t stand out that way. You also need to make sure your domain name is the right one:
- Common Names: If you have a name like John Smith or your last name is Jones, you might want to use the name of what you do or the genre you write to set yourself apart from others who share your name. You will have a hard time ranking in Google for just your name, since you will have a lot of competition.
- Shared Names: If you share a name with someone who is well known, especially if they are a famous author, you may want to use initials or otherwise set your name apart. You will have a hard time ranking for Steven King or Robert Parker if you share their name. On the other hand, you could conceivably get some accidental clicks as well. That’s not always a good thing. Readers could be very displeased.
- Hard to Spell Names: While this may set you apart, it also makes it hard for readers to do a Google search for your name. You want that search to be easy, and you may want to even consider a pen name.
So, what are your alternatives besides a pen name? You can create websites around your series or character names, but you don’t want to create too many sites as that can make it hard to manage all of them and create content as well (more on that in a moment).
You can go by the type of books you write, and incorporate that into your domain name as well. You are a creative person when it comes to writing, you just need to be creative with your domain name as well.
Just be careful that the name you choose, and that the abbreviations you use don’t spell anything inappropriate. If you run words together, pay attention to what other words that might create. You don’t want to be internet famous for a domain name error.
Social Media: Which One?
Once you have established your website, you need to expand your web presence to social media. If possible, your social media handle should match that of your website as closely as possible.
If you have a common name or share one with a celebrity, you will come across the same issue as you did with a domain name: the handles and user names you want may already be taken. Again, you must be creative, but the closer you can be to your website the better.
Also, understand that when you first start out you will struggle with gaining a following no matter how ideal your name may be. This is why content marketing matters: if you have something to share that is worthwhile, people will read and share it.
As to which social media platform, that is for you to determine. Where are your readers most often? What about similar writers in your genre? What social media sites are they most active on.
Blogging While You’re Writing
While you are working on the next Great American Novel, you need to keep your readers and potential buyers interested. In addition, you need to need to keep Google and other search engines coming back to visit your site. If your site has no new content, Google doesn’t have a reason to come back and index your site.
You’re going to lose ranking, visibility, and website visitors. So you need to blog at the same time you are writing. However, what do you blog about? You want to speak to readers, and not just other writers, a common mistake new writers make.
- A Little About your Process: Write some things about your process, but not too much. The reader is only so interested in this.
- Your characters and your world: Your readers want to know more about your characters and your world, and you are the expert on them. Share that expertise with them.
- Your Research: You find out some amazing things while researching your books. Share them.
- More About You: You are a unique person, and your life and your experiences, even your feelings, are what shapes your stories. Share that with your readers.
If you don’t know what to blog about, look at other successful writers in your genre and follow what they are doing with your own twist.
They key to content marketing is that you must create content.
Consistency and Timing
The final point is that you must blog consistently, and timing matters. There are many studies online that tell you about the best time to post on your blog, and even when to share on social media. There are programs like Hootsuite and Tweepsmap that automate the sharing process.
The truth is one post a month won’t cut it. Two is better, one a week or more if you can swing it helps. You can accept guest posts and author interviews that will help keep your content going and also increase shares.
If you are a writer, SEO and creating content matters for your website. If you are going to gain readers and be discovered, it is important that Google and other search engines find your site ad display it in common searches. You’re a writer, and you have to write more than just books.
Write for yourself and your blog, and you will reap the same rewards any other business does when they focus on SEO and Content Marketing.