Have you created a website already?
Perhaps you created a website with a blog because that is what you were told to do by the “talking heads”?
Well, it isn’t wrong to have a blog where you can demonstrate your abilities, your knowledge and your authority in the subject matters you are writing about; however, you have to make sure that your site is “Author Proof.”
What does that mean?
It means that it supports authors, as established by top authorities and influencers in the industry.
You control everything on your site, including the design, the feel, the navigating, e-commerce, the content on your blog and more.
In short, if done correctly, your website can act as the center for all your online marketing and promotion efforts.
I am going to assume that your aim is to make a living as a writer and author by selling books in various forms, creating educational courses online and off and developing personal coaching programs for writers (not necessarily all of them).
One of the most challenging things for you as a writer/author is to identify the most effective method(s) for selling your books, services, and e-courses to enhance your earning power.
A blog is your “window to the world”; it represents your business, as well as showcases you, the artist, the author and the professional.
Therefore, your first “essential” is the design of your website.
- A well-designed, well-written website will present you as an accomplished professional, who is qualified to perform all the tasks listed on your website and much more.
Your success will depend on how people feel when visiting your site. This is where people decide if they should hire you as a writer or author, consult with you about their projects, or purchase what you sell.
Millions of blogs already appear online, and their numbers are growing
exponentially. If you do not create a blog that outshines others, you
will disappear in the crowd, never to be seen or heard from again.
An attractive website with a blog can help you in promoting your products, services and yourself in several ways:
- Visitors will evaluate your abilities and expertise by reviewing your posts: what you write about, how you are writing (your writing style), when and how often you are publishing content and more…
- Visitors will also analyze the type of people who comment on your site, meaning what types of people constitute your community.
- The design of your website and the maneuvering within will also be placed under a magnifying glass.
- Finally, visitors will also assess the kind of products/books and services you produce and market.
You’ll know your site has the potential to succeed when a budding client visits and leaves convinced that he or she has found the right expert.
A website gives your business a chance of getting in front of your potential readers/buyers so that you can promote your products and services to them. This is especially effective for writers, authors, and consultants trying to land small business buyers. However, for a reader/buyer to find you, you must market your site effectively and promote, promote, promote.
- Therefore, effective marketing is your second “essential.”Some experts recommend that you “be everywhere,” including social media, live events, your competitor’s blog, and more. I believe this was appropriate a few years back. Today this method is no longer valid.
You need to concentrate on the prize only, meaning attracting the right people within the right industry with plenty of money to spread around.
The best marketing method uses video because there is no substitute for looking into the presenter’s eye or listening to the speaker’s voice for building trust. Without gaining trust, you will not be able to sell anything. So practice talking in front of a mirror and ask someone to watch you and critique your presentation.
- A blog is a very effective tool in demonstrating your “authority.”
Status in the subject matter(s) you are writing about. This is your third “essential.”
If you are accepted as an authority in your field, your products and services are going to be in high demand.
People like to spread the word about authorities within a niche, which will result in enhanced traffic to your site. Word-of-mouth promotion/marketing is one of the best methods for attracting the right traffic to your site. Moreover, attracting traffic to your website is one of the most important tasks you need to work on, particularly when you’re just starting out as a new author.
Of course, this doesn’t mean just any traffic. Casual traffic will not create anything exciting on your site. You need to attract:
- “Targeted” traffic (and this is your fourth essential), meaning you need to attract people who are interested in your subject matter and will listen to what you have to say with enthusiasm. This type of traffic is the most profitable traffic for you, therefore, worth your time to search, locate and attract to your blog.
How can you achieve this goal?
The easiest way to achieve this aim is by publishing well-researched, well-written blog posts that are of interest to your target market. You don’t even have to create all the blog posts yourself. You can look in article directories on the web such as http://www.IdeaMarketers.com for free reprints you can use.
Most likely you will not have to work too hard to sell your services or products to these visitors, because they are already primed to purchase most of the offers on your site (services such as ghostwriting, critiquing their manuscripts, or physical products like books, e-courses and more), simply because you have what they want.
Another easy way to get targeted traffic to your site is allowing other bloggers to either reprint or link to your blog to provide the desirable information you published on your site to their readers. Obviously, if their readers are interested in your articles, they are attracting the same target market as you are seeking to find.
Once you have accomplished capturing the right traffic to your website, you need to monitor what type of people are repeat visitors and what they click on while visiting your site.
As soon as you are clear about your “fans,” you should initiate an aggressive campaign for building your:
- Email subscribers’ list, which is your fifth essential. You may have repeatedly heard that “the money is in the list.”
The more subscribers you have, the more money you will make. (You can tweet this.)
One of the best methods for building up your “buyers’ list” is placing an “opt-in” on every page of your website (and on some pages even more than a single opt-in).
I assume you know what an opt-in is? If not, I suggest you read this brief, but very informative article: http://www.activecampaign.com/help/what-is-an-opt-in-list/
Remember that an opt-in is required for all email lists since the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. You cannot add email addresses to your mailing list unless you have permission to do so from the address owner. To get permission, you can also place several links for your site viewers to share their email information with you.
Building your subscribers’ list is a huge topic that we must cover in detail for you if we want to make sure that we’re helping you to succeed. We will dedicate a blog post to this topic shortly. In the interim if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
A blog is also a great tool for:
- Name recognition, and we have arrived at the sixth essential of an author’s website. Make sure to repeat your name along with your photograph on every page of your website, on books you are authoring or courses you are leading, and so on. Prepare banners for each program you are mentoring, leading, and teaching and try to place these banners on as many sites as you can.
You must have a clear picture and understanding of your market.
- The clear understanding of your market is your seventh essential.
How can you achieve this?
Create a list of topics you feel knowledgeable about and a list of topics you are interested in learning.
Next, make a list of people (or rather a type of people) who would be interested in reading your articles to enhance their knowledge about these subject matters.
And voila: Your Target Market is Identified.
- Let’s assume you like writing about “How to build lasting relationships”… or “How to find the right partner in life,” etc.
Then ask yourself who would be interested in reading about these issues. You may come up with people who are single or divorced and unfulfilled with their relationships.
- What if you feel that you are quite knowledgeable in networking with people?
In this case, you want to attract people who are looking to find more friends or seeking to build their careers through meeting the right people.
I guess you’re getting the idea?
And now let’s examine some key items you should place on your author’s website to grow your “buyers” list.
8. Your Eighth Essential is Resource Affiliates ***
Many authors and self-publishers offer affiliate programs through their websites. Affiliate programs track the traffic from your site, and if it results in a sale, you get compensation based on the guidelines for that individual program. In this way, you can sometimes profit simply from a well-placed link on your site!
If there is a book or an e-course that has helped or inspired you, consider contacting the producer to inquire about becoming an affiliate. Services you use for saving time, or enhancing your productivity are another good resource for developing an “affiliate relationship” with them. Make sure, however, that the services/products that the site promotes do not compete directly with what you are offering to your readers.
Pro Tip for Affiliate Relationships: Try to build mutual affiliations with other comparable websites, so that your services are linked to those sites as well. This form of helpful back-linking can greatly improve your search engine results and help your site be found by more people.
9. Ninth Essential: Make Your Products/Services Visible.
While many authors hesitate (and most actually dislike) to be too “sales oriented,” this is exactly the place where you should make your services known by whatever method(s) you prefer. Consider creating a Services tab on the top menu and even dividing your services into categories so that they are easy to find. New visitors spend on average less than two minutes on a web site, so you want to capture them right away and make it easy for them to find what they are looking for.
You need to come up with a set of keywords that best describes your products and services. Usually, these are the same keywords your potential visitors would use to find sites similar to yours. Make sure to insert these keywords into your title, the first and last paragraph of your content (these are the areas the search engine uses to “categorize” your site) and somewhere in the post.
You can also use a keyword research tool (Google Keyword Planner and WordTracker are the best, and they are free) to analyze your list to determine the most relevant and “high-demand” keywords.
For AdWords, you need to have your account. Every month, it shows searches on Google, competition, and average click cost and other information.
Many other methods can enhance your visibility, but this is a topic for a blog post by itself.
Denise Wakeman (http://www.denisewakeman.com) is known to be the “authority” on online visibility. She offers a high-valued, FREE e-course about this topic that is worth your time.
A brief warning: It’s important to make sure that you do not go overboard with keywords in your blog. Google has limited the number of keywords to 2 to 4% of the content on the page.
Other methods bloggers use for visibility include writing great content, posting appealing infographics and attractive images, creating attention-drawing titles/headlines, and building links with Social Media and “friendly” competitors and more.
Pro Tip: Place your contact email or phone number at the bottom of each page of your site, as well as more detailed information in a separate Contact tab at the top of the page. If any of your readers or potential client has a question, they can stop searching and reach you right away.
- Tenth Essential: Podcasts.
According to copyblogger,
podcasts perform many essential functions for a website, including, but not limited to
- garner laughs
- gather tears…and more…
But most importantly, podcasts connect. Copyblogger continues to emphasize the importance of the “connecting” function of podcasts:
What does this mean?
Podcasts connect “content creators (meaning you) with content consumers (your readers/subscribers/visitors) in a way that cannot be duplicated by any other content medium.”
Podcasting is another “heavy” topic that we will develop into its series. Here we just want you to understand the need to be versatile with your author website. The more diversified programs you provide for your readers on your author’s website, the more people will visit your site, which will translate into more potential income.
11. Eleventh Essential: Testimonials
Any time you get a positive email or comment from a reader, you should quote the person with prominence on your website. List at least two amazing testimonial excerpts somewhere highly visible on your home page. Peer pressure has a deep and abiding power. Knowing that somebody out there enjoys your writing is ten times as convincing as any wonderful summary.
Pro Tip: Rotate your testimonials as they come in to keep your visitors entertained. If you don’t have any testimonials, ask a friend or colleague who has read and loved your material to write one.
12. Twelfth Essential: Promote Upcoming Projects (Press Release)
Use the sidebar of your website to place a static image of your next book, along with a short excerpt or description. This will not only inform the viewer that you are actively writing new material, but also display what that material looks like and when it will be available.
Pro Tip: Place an opt-in field below the photo to gain buyers’ emails. You can send them information on how to pre-order your materials and add them to your general mailing list at the same time.
Bonus Pro Tip: If you decide to place a pop-up window as an opt-in for your site, be sure that it is easy to click out of and continue to the site. Also, the window should only appear on the visitor’s first home page view, so make sure you are testing your site often to avoid turning off your audience.
This post is not an exhaustive list or method for generating income from your blog, but I feel that this post is becoming a “runaway” article, so I’d better stop. We will revisit this topic multiple times, so please keep coming back to us to see “What’s new?”
In the interim, however, could you please share your methods or suggestions for generating income from your blog to an extent that readers can quit the jobs they hate and start making a living (and most of the time a better living) from their websites?
Please let us know if you are a writer, author, or publisher. What other tips can you give us