Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Social Media Challenge: To Update Your Website... Or Not

Remember all those New Year's Resolutions I made? I made great progress on one, and the other...lasted 6 days. I'm going to try it again, because self-care matters. I was planning to do yoga, but I'm having surgery (today, in fact) so that will have to wait until March. I may double-dip and do a 30-day Declutter Challenge - because I got planner stickers for it.

I am using my planner...kinda. If I put the family stuff in there, it would fill it up and I want to keep it focused on work. Hmmm, the declutter challenge my help clear out my office, making the planner easily accessible. I tend to avoid my office when other schizzle is in there.

And now for the Social Media 12-month challenge I took on.... I think I did a pretty good job. For January I chose to focus on my Website, because that's what I think is most important. No reason for this other than that websites are what I use for info on the authors I love. 

Top 10 pages your author website needs ::

  1. Home page - the most important information goes here. Often it's the only page readers see.
  2. About - Let reader see who you are and what motivates you as a writer. I put affiliations and my media kit here. (more on that later)
  3. Bookshelf - A listing of your books, usually in release order. 
  4. Book Pages - A page for an individual book or series. This is where ISBNs, blurbs, reviews & accolades go, as well as buy links.
  5. Contact - A form for readers to fill out and ask questions, or let you know about a review or event. I have my newsletter sign up and media links here as well.
  6. Social Media links - Could be on your contact page, or in the header of every page. 
  7. Blog link - if you blog, make sure to connect it to your website. My blog isn't part of my website, mainly because I've had it here forever and have no reason to change.
  8. Newsletter button - Odds are, if they took the time to look though your website, they want to hear about your happenings and new releases. 
  9. Policy, terms & disclosures - This is something most gloss over, but after reading up on it, I decided to include one. 
  10. Images - Your photo on the About page, book covers in the bookshelf & book pages, graphics from contest wins and reviews. These seem like little things, but your website needs a little pop. You can even include promotional graphics where appropriate.
What worked for me : My watercolor website was pretty... but I wanted a fresh look more in line with what I write. Something to show immediately what to expect from me.

I didn't change the template because I find it useful, and went with black & white with pops of color because my book covers are trending white. I changed the look of the blog at the same time (I did change the template here), and my Facebook header so everything would be cohesive (though Facebook will change to reflect new releases). 

I have a Pinterest board to collect social media advice. Most info on making websites came mainly from articles about starting a blog. I'm sure there is website specific stuff out there, but bloggers' social media is on point, so they show up first in searches. 

Some of the things had never crossed my mind, like a privacy statement which is a must for anyone with a newsletter. Jade & Oak explain it best. Happiness is Homemade has a fantastic overview for those starting out. She has some great links about design as well

I use Wix for my website...everything really. The editor is drag and drop, intuitive, and reasonably priced. I find HTML and Wordpress confusing, thought Wix does have HTML options. I like that I can change the page templates within my theme, & that I can copy pages. This is a HUGE time-saver for new books. Another bonus? I can update it myself at any time, unlike webmasters who charge per change (spendy when you release often).

What was a time-waster  
  1. Thinking the privacy statement was an immediate need when it's a must-do when you have a moment. (same with a disclosure & copyright statement) 
  2. Looking at site templates. I had better luck by looking at other authors' sites & realizing mine worked for me. 
  3. Updating the About page. Holly Castro has a great video about it, but it is the least visited page on my website. (Wix has analytics too) As long as you have one & your life hasn't changed dramatically, it doesn't have to be a priority.
  4. Media Kit - Unlike the privacy statement, which everyone needs, this was an eh for me. If you're looking for a way to productively procrastinate, sure. I've ever been asked for one. Joyfully Mad makes it easy if you want one.
  5. Maybe updating!?! I know, I know. But I didn't see a bump in site visits, which could be due to not having an active marketing campaign, or that the change didn't effect my readers. 
I have a new release this month, plus a sale, which leaves me torn on what to work on next. I'll be doing a bit of everything, but I think Facebook should be February, and then building a Newsletter mailing list in March. Maybe

Be sure to check out the release of  
The Billionaire's Runaway Fiancée
& the $1.99 sale of Just Married.

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