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#WebsiteWednesday Oct. 26th 2016

I know I promised a piece on Amazon Affiliates this week, but My son has a well baby check-up, and I have to get some writing done for my entry to a holiday anthology today! Instead of a brand new post, I’m going to share our very first WebsiteWednesday post from way back in July. Many of you probably have not read it, so here’s your chance!

It’s #WebsiteWednesday! Every week I will be giving you tips on developing your author website.

Today I want to talk about the importance of updates, content, and what you can do to engage your readers, making them more likely to purchase, share on social media, and recommend you via word of mouth. With so many options available for readers to devour, you need to keep them constantly engaged to keep their focus on you.

Most people who visit your author site got there one of three ways:

• They Googled your name.
• They clicked through from a social media or news site.
• They typed in the URL from the author information included in your book (you do have your website in there right?)

This means you need to cater to three types of visitors. You want to hook the newbies that come from search engines and social media, but you also want to hook that person who has already made a purchase as well. (And you thought writing the book was hard pft!)
The first thing you want to do is have an e-mail list somewhere on the front page (This can be in the sidebar, the slider, or even in a pop-up that is all up to you.) An e-mail list will guarantee that when you have news you want to get out there, you will be sending it to people who are actually interested instead of just tossing it in the air and hoping the winds are in your favor.

You also need to have links to your social media sites so that they can tweet, follow, like, pin or any of those other vaguely scary verbs. Social media is more popular than tv, magazines, and even print. The average person spends countless hours of their life attached to a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, making social media one of the best tools for making sales! Make it easy for them to stare at you and your books for hours by making your social media accounts easy to find and of course updated as often as possible. There are lots of automated posters that can help you if you don’t have time to update each site individually.
Another great way to hook visitors is to offer exclusive content on your website. Excerpts from WIP’s, songs you listen to as you write, character bios, etc. readers want to feel special. They like the feeling of being in on a secret and exclusive content is the perfect way to include them in your world.

One of the most valuable tools I can think of for an author site is the addition of a blog. Here is where we get to the updated content part, a blog is one of the best ways to keep readers engaged. You can include exclusive content there, you can tell them about your day, you can ask for feedback, or hold contests and giveaways. There are endless possibilities with a blog. Getting into a schedule of writing blog posts is a highly effective way to gain attention to your site, readers will get used to getting content from you on specific days and look forward to it.

That’s all for this Wednesday, but I’ll have another tip for you next week.

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#WebsiteWednesday Oct 19th 2016

It’s #WebsiteWednesday! Here’s another tip to improve your author site!
 
Today I’m going to go over something very simple that I have just learned. I know I have talked about the importance of using social media before, and while the content that you share on social media is critical, the way it is presented is equally vital toward getting your audience to engage with you and your website.
 
I’m sure you’ve shared a link on Facebook before, and a random, and seemingly unrelated photo has shown up in the preview. A pixelated background image, an advertisement, a blurry LOL cat… whatever it may be, it doesn’t describe what the page you are sharing is about. Now, why doesn’t this happen on big name brand websites? No matter what page you share, their nice professional logo or a page appropriate picture sized to crystal clear proportions is always displayed. How did they do that?
 
I was asking myself the same question Monday when trying to share my author services website on a Facebook group. I wanted it to look professional so that the person I was offering services to would actually click my link and view my site. However, the only thing being picked up in the image preview was my completely white background image. A big fat white square was beside my website name. It did not look enticing, to say the least.
 
I did a Google search and after using the debug tool here: http://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug I found that my OG or open graph image had not been set. Since I use WordPress and Yoast SEO, it was an easy fix. I found the image I wanted to use and set my image accordingly. Now every time I share my site I get a nice clean image that accurately represents my web page! Not only was I able to change the image, but I was also able to modify the title and description of the site as well! To do this in WordPress, the easiest way is to make sure you have the Yoast SEO plugin installed. Navigate to the Yoast menu and find Social. Once you click on that you should see and option for Facebook that will let you upload a picture and change your title and description. Note that your photo should be 200×200 pixels for the best load times and photo quality. Hit Save, and you’re done! You can check this by running the debug tool again or by trying it out in a FB post.
 
So what if you don’t have WordPress? Well, it gets a bit more invasive if you don’t, but if you follow step by step, you should have no problems performing this task on your own. Find your index page and place the following code inside the <head> tags (Make sure you have a backup before attempting to change any code):
 
 
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Your Webpage Title” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=”http://linktoyourawesomepic.jpg” />
<meta property=”og:description” content=”description of your amazing website” />
<meta property=”og:url” content=”http://yourspiffywebsite.com”>
 
 
Save your changes, and you’re done! Again you can check your website with the debugger tool to see if it is displaying correctly.
 
 
So that’s it for this Wednesday! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or e-mail at info@fiction-atlas.com You can also send me requests for things you’d like me to discuss in the future! Next week I hope to talk about the Amazon Affiliates program! Stay tuned!