Tips to Improve Traffic to Your Author Website & Blog
There are lots of ways that visitors can find themselves on your author website or blog.
Once you’ve built your author website and you're generating regular blog posts, there are many practices you can implement to drive more traffic to your site and sell more books!
Even if your current website traffic numbers are not quite meeting your expectations, you got this! See the standard online traffic sources below, and a few tips for increasing the traffic flow in each category.
Organic traffic arrives at your site as a result of a search engine. It is not paid for but earned through solid keyword research, optimized content & other Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.
When you head to your favorite search engine, type in a search term and view results that do NOT say “Ad”- these are organic search results.
Tips for Driving Organic Traffic:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - put some basic SEO strategies into play. If you think SEO is too advanced for you, think again. Remember: If search engines aren’t finding your site, neither will your potential readers!
Yes, people spend a lot of money on SEO but you don't have to. There are many basics you can implement that won't cost a penny - especially if your author website isn't complex.
- Get yourself set up with Google Analytics
- Make sure your author name is in your site title
- Create a web page for each of your book titles
- Create internal links to relevant pages on your site
- Use Title Tags & Meta Descriptions on your website
- Properly tag images
These basic SEO tactics deliver a great experience once users find their way to your site. Consider learning the basics of SEO from resources like Moz and you might surprise yourself!
- Use Keywords - Keywords are gold! If you're clear on who your target audience is, you're well on your way to identifying a strong set of keywords.
Build keywords into website content, use them to spark new ideas for blog posts, incorporate them into social posts, your author profile, etc.
- Deliver Quality Content - There's a reason they say "Content is King." Compelling content that is created with your audience in mind provides value, keeps your reader's attention, and builds loyalty. Great content allows you to cultivate relationships with your readers.
Need to know what's working? Check out what your competition is up to! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Gauge reader interest in new book ideas through surveys
- Create downloadable content like book group discussion questions or a single chapter of your new book
- Run contests or giveaways
- Develop a webinar or online course on getting published, or any other subject you have expertise in
- Use Video - According to HubSpot, video content is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results than plain text.
You don't have to be a pro or have special equipment to create video content. Interview a special guest, create a quick clip of yourself talking about your new book or reading reviews from an existing book.
- Keep Your Content Up-to-Date - Regularly schedule time to review your website content and do a "refresh." Unless content has become completely irrelevant, you can usually make some simple revisions that will ensure it's updated and search engine-friendly.
Direct traffic is attributed to those folks who are actually typing your URL into their browser.
Tips for Driving Direct Traffic:
- Be Present - If you're still building your author brand, take every opportunity to physically get in front of your target audience. Take advantage of conventions, speaking engagements, book signings, etc. Plug your author website or blog at every turn!
- Promote Your Website on All Printed Material - Promotional flyers, business cards, books, etc. Make sure your web address pops! If you offer any goodies online like free downloads, be sure to include this info as a teaser!
Paid Traffic is just what it sounds like. When you pay for Google Adwords or a Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign, the traffic comes from a search engine but is not organic.
Tips for Driving Paid Traffic
- Google AdWords - You can bid on certain keywords that you expect readers to search for and ultimately pay to end up as one of the sponsored ads at the top of that search results page.
This is a fairly common practice and it delivers clicks, but it can get costly. You might also look into Google re-targeting ads which appear for folks who have visited your site before.
- Social Media Ads - Social media advertising has blown up (in a good way) recently. Depending upon the channel of your choice, there are options to promote single tweets or posts or design entire advertising campaigns.
Facebook tends to be very affordable, very customizable and there are many ways you can use social ads to drive more traffic and sell more books. Experiment and see what works!
Maybe your book was mentioned with a link on another blog or website. This would result in referral traffic. Referral traffic also happens to be GREAT for your SEO rankings.
Tips for Driving Referral Traffic
- Get Others to Include Links to Your Site - If you have relevant industry connections, ask them to consider linking to your site. Be sure to return the favor by linking to their site.
- Create Shareable Content - If you're developing content that others find of value, you may not have to work so hard at asking others for links.
Try creating a blog post listing your top 10 favorite author blogs or your favorite books of the year. Chances are, anyone you've included on that list will happily promote that post!
- Guest Blogging - Consider pitching your blogging services to other sites with a similar target audience. By the same token, offer guest blogging opportunities for your blog. As long as you share similar audiences, both parties get exposure to new and qualified prospects!
Though it does take some time to build up a solid following, social media is an excellent way to deliver compelling content that drives traffic to your website or blog post!
Tip for Driving Social Traffic
- Make Use of Channels That are a Fit for You - Social media is an excellent tool for building your brand, promoting your books and engaging with your audience. Keep in mind that you do NOT have to be everywhere.
Trying to understand and manage multiple channels can become quickly overwhelming if you don't have a team helping you. The key is to be where your audience is. Based on what you know about your target audience, you can probably determine which channel or channels are the best fit. 79% of people online use Facebook, so if you're really unsure where to start - that's a pretty safe bet!
- Leverage Social Media Profiles - Be sure you're using keywords in your profiles and don't forget to link to your site!
- Get Active - Remember that social media isn't just another channel to push information out. In order to build a loyal following, you'll need to engage. About 50% of your posts should be content that you've created (remember to make it easily shareable!). Whenever possible, include links back to your website or blog.
Ask questions of your followers and respond to comments and direct messages. Share curated content that you've gathered - whether it's funny, inspiring or informational. The important thing is that it reflects your personality.
People love to feel like they know authors or other celebrities as individuals. Your social media channels provide a fantastic avenue for you to provide value and deepen relationships with your fans while fostering a sense of community.
- List-Building - Social networks can also be a great tool for building your email list. Try adding a "Join My Mailing List" tab on your Facebook page. Or offer a link to sign-up in other social media posts or tweets.
When you send email newsletters or direct emails and include links to your website pages or blog posts, you generate email traffic. Email traffic is particularly relevant because there’s an existing relationship.
At some point, the receiver has opted in to receive communications from you and if they are clicking on links in emails, they find your content worthy. This makes them a truly qualified prospect!
Tips for Driving Email Traffic
- Individual Emails - Whether or not you currently send mass emails to followers, you can always implement simple and fun strategies to encourage anyone you're communicating with to jump on over to your site.
Try changing up your email signature monthly by including a teaser or a question related to a blog post and link to it.
- Email Marketing - While it is a more traditional form of marketing, don't underestimate the power of email! This is your core group of readers who have likely purchased books from you in the past. Nurture your list and treat them as "insiders" giving them access to special content that can't be found elsewhere.
Whether you do an occasional email blast to announce a new book launch or you have a monthly e-newsletter, be sure to include links back to new and refreshed content that will keep your readers actively engaged! Include highly visible invites to join your email list on your website and on social media!
As with all of your tactics, pay attention to your results. What time of day gets you the highest open rates? Which content is delivering the most click-thrus? Learn from your data and adjust appropriately.
You've worked hard to build a solid author brand platform that you're proud of. Put these tips to use to make sure that more traffic - the RIGHT targeted traffic - is finding you! Your niche audience, your brand and the content you deliver are unique to you. What drives a ton of traffic for some may fall flat with others. Start out by engaging in the strategies that feel right for you, then continue to add on and mix it up.
Take note of what your analytics are telling you about what is popular and how people are arriving at your site. By understanding where your website and blog traffic comes from and what content resonates with your readers, you'll know better what to refine, what to ditch and where to focus going forward!