A client recently wrote me this question, one I hear often enough that I decided to answer here publicly.
“How many websites should an author have?”
There are different schools of thought on whether an author who is also an entrepreneur should have two websites–one for the business and one for the books.
Before I advise you, a bit of a background on SEO is helpful. SEO: Search Engine Optimization. Translation: Getting found on Google and other search engines.
My husband Tom Patterson is an SEO Expert and here’s what he taught me: when someone types in a “keyword” or “search term” for what they are looking for in Google or another search engine and the term is relevant to the work you do, you want your website to appear as one of the first sites they see. With me so far?
What does Google like most? Relevant content. How do you get relevant content on your site? You blog about all the things your clients, customers and readers want to know about.
Now if you have one website, then every relevant blog post you write will help Google see you as a trusted resource for certain keywords or search terms. If you have two websites, Google doesn’t like duplicate content so you really need to write different articles for each site. So now, in order to have the same amount of content on a site, you actually have to write twice as much.
You will also take people off your website when you send them to your other site–a strike against you with search engines.
Now, it may be that your books are not at all relevant to your business, in which case it does make sense to have two different sites. After all, you don’t want to confuse visitors to your site with a mixed message. But if your books are relevant to your business, consider having just one site. If you are a speaker, author, trainer, the website URL (the link) can be your full name. If that doesn’t fit for your business, you may want to stick with the business name, preferably a name that includes keywords or search terms that your customers or clients, your tribe, would use to find you.
Even if you use a business name with keywords, I highly recommend that you purchase your name as a URL (link) and have it point to your business. That way if you ever decide to use your full name, you own the URL.
The benefit of having your name as the URL/link is that no matter how your writing/speaking/consulting/coaching career changes, you can update your website to reflect your current direction and the URL is as relevant as ever.
I have to admit, I break the one website rule myself–and I’ll tell you why. My website as a book writing coach is very much branded around me. I also market for other editors and have aspects of my business that I may want to separate out and sell one day. I wanted a site that reaches a broader audience (not just nonfiction and self-help writers) and that also can shine a spotlight on the books my clients are writing. I also hoped to engage other writers to do author interviews, so that the site is not just around my ideas and work. That has worked out well. As of today How to Write a Book has nine contributors.
As a side note: E-mail me if you are interested in becoming a contributor. While there is no monetary remuneration, your bio will appear on the How to Write a Book contributors page with a link to your website and we will promote your post through social media and our newsletters.
Both Cheryl Richardson and Reid Tracy (Hay House author and CEO, respectively) tried to talk me out of this idea when I first planned to launch. And they had a good point. Having the two websites is definitely more work and maintenance. I’m not necessarily reaping significant benefits from the extra work yet. However, some qualitative benefits include: helping promote my clients’ books and work, connecting with new writers, creating good will in a broader community and connecting with new readers as more people share the posts. I also believe that in the long run, www.how-to-write-a-book.com will be a valuable community resource and piece of internet real estate. Time will tell!
My client, Amy Beilharz is also an exception to the rule. Amy has several websites: one for her canopy tours business, one for her book and business around Be a Female Millionaire and a third site around her coaching business around feminine balance, which will eventually have books associated with it as well. Because each business is distinct in its audience, messaging and purpose, they each needed their own sites because of that.
I can tell you that authors who create a separate website for every book can dilute their effectiveness. In general, I would suggest one website for the author, which includes all the author’s books.Have one website for the author, which includes all the author's books. Click To Tweet
Feel free to ask additional questions about author websites or ask for clarification about “How many websites should an author have?” as a comment below.
Ellen Moyer says
You bring up some really good points and information I was not aware of. How many websites an author should have can be a complex decision. But the ramifications are so significant that it’s worth spending the time to figure it out and be aware of the many factors involved. I haven’t yet decided whether to combine my two websites but am getting closer thanks to the new information you provided.
Lisa Tener says
Thanks, Ellen. You’re right. It’s not always a clear answer.
Thank you sharing this post, it’s brought clarity to an ongoing dilemma I’ve had for a while. Not only have you answered my how many websites should I have question but opened up an opportunity to finally write my first self help book. Your website is a great example of relevant content. Simple to navigate and find what I want.
Lisa Tener says
Thanks, Yasmin. I’m so glad it was helpful. I’m excited for you. What’s your book about?