Once in a while, an author sends me a link to a new website for a book they’re creating. I’m writing this post to help you avoid that mistake. There was a time four or five years ago when the thinking was that every book should have its own website. Maybe it worked back then. It doesn’t work now and here’s why:
1.Search Engines like Google reward you for content: the more relevant content you have on your site, the higher up your website (and individual pages) will show up in searches done by potential visitors. The higher up you are, the more visitors you get. If you dilute your content by spreading it over several sites, you’ll have less on each site. And don’t think you can game that by duplicating content–search engines will penalize you for that one.
2. Search Engines reward you for how long people stay on your site. If you send them from one site to another, it will appear as if someone is leaving your site sooner than they are. You may be able to avoid this issue by opening links in a new window.
3. Search Engines reward you for a site that’s been around a long time: if you keep creating new sites, they don’t have longevity. That’s a strike against them and will make them harder to find until they have been around a while.
4. It’s generally better for branding to have your book on your main website: the book enhances your credibility as a published author and expert.
While we’re on the topic, it’s a good idea to have your name as the URL of your website. That way, if you’re a therapist writing about how to get a good night’s sleep but five years from now, your specialty has shifted and you’re writing a book about relationships, your website will still have longevity and you can list both books on your website. The website can encompass whatever topics you write about since it’s branded around you as an author, not the topic of one particular book. [Note: for the non-techie reader, a URL is the “address” you type in to get to the website, such as www.lisatener.com)
Are there times you need more than one website? Yes. A good example is a client of mine who has a consulting company. She was concerned that the topic of her book might make potential clients uncomfortable. In her case, a separate website for her consulting company and a website for her book(s) makes sense. If your books and business are at odds with each other or are totally unrelated, you may want one website for your business and one website for your books.
I also broke my own rules. I decided that I wanted one website for my business and a separate website that is more of a community of writers and for writers, a site that does not do much promoting of my business (except for sharing my free author toolkit). On that site, there are many writers who interview authors about how to write a book.
Is there an advantage to a URL that has keywords in the address (as in the example of my second website above)? Yes, there is. Google likes a website URL that is keyword rich, or put another way, describes what people will find, such as www.how-to-write-a-book.com–a website where you can learn how to write a book. However, it’s generally worth forgoing that benefit for the other benefits you get with having your name as the url: the branding, the name recognition, the ability to change your focus and not have to start over in terms of longevity or start a whole new blog.
In fact, I have heard Reid Tracy, President of Hay House, advise more than one author to stick to one site and make it their name. I’ll address more about choosing the name of your author website in my next post.
I want to thank my husband, Tom Patterson, who is an SEO Expert for teaching me everything I know about SEO!