Creating Effective Content for Your Site - article

Once you've handled the logistics of setting up a web site and established a visible web presence for your book, you'll need to choose content to feature on your site. Your web site should be designed to market your book, so you can include much of the same material that you make available in your media kits and other marketing materials.

Here are just some of the types of information you might want to include in a basic web site:

Home Page—one central location or "home base" that links to the specific pages on your site

Your Books—a unique page that lists your books with their covers, an About the Book paragraph and a link to online bookseller outlets

Book Reviews—a page where you can post reviews of your book to build interest and feature published articles, interview transcripts or testimonials about your book

Events—a digital calendar provides information to boost attendance at your upcoming events and lets your reader easily track important dates

Blog—a forum where you can add text posts about writing and book events

Links—connect to other sites related to your book's genre and topic

Attracting readers to your web site—and keeping them coming back—requires a coordinated effort to make your site fast and convenient, and packed with information that is useful, specific, and regularly updated.

Writing Effective Copy for the Web

The first step in developing successful content for your web site is the copy, or text, you write for your site's pages. Writing for the web is significantly different in tone, content, and form than writing for a literary audience. Successful online content is simple, useful, and relevant. Using concise text and recognizable keywords is more effective than a lengthy explanation, because internet readers tend to scan text online rather than reading word for word. A good rule of thumb is to use half the words on the web that you would use in other media.

Because readers may only take a few seconds to look over your site, there are more efficient ways of organizing than only using paragraphs, even if they are short and focused on a single topic. Headings and subheadings are effective tools to help the readers scan your page for the information they are looking for, and bolding headings and other keywords makes them stand out from other text. Bulleted lists can also be an effective communication tool on the web, as they naturally tend to be short and emphasize keywords.

Once you have set up your home page, make sure that each subsequent page has a link back home so users can easily return. You can also create a natural progression for users to click through your site. Put an obvious link on the bottom of your home page that connects to your featured books page. Once users have seen your book covers and read about the books, provide a link that connects with your book review page so users can see what other readers are saying about your books. By creating a progression of links throughout your site, users can continually find more information easily and naturally.

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