I stumbled across a conversation on LinkedIn this morning about whether or not authors should build separate websites to promote their individual books. There were a slew of responses — some from authors and some from experts — advising people in different ways. Here are some of the highlights:
I think it’s a good idea of the book titles are brief and easy for others to remember. But then I suggest that the domain name just be set up to forward to a page on your main website that’s dedicated to that book title alone.
My advice is that your website should be in your name. Even if you publish multiple books with multiple publishers, you need a site in your name. Bring all the information under one umbrella site and redirect the other URLs of the other titles. This is essential for a strong personal brand strategy.
An immediate advantage that I see [to multiple websites] is that it gets you additional exposure on the Internet by adding another site touting you and your product. Obviously, this increases the chance that you and your product are discovered and that your author platform might grow as people link to you (don’t forget to put a link back to your website and blogs in a couple places on the site).
—Bob Lucas, BS, MA, MA, CPLP
So, clearly, people have different opinions on this. But, if it’s worth anything, here is my two cents…
In 95% of instances, authors should have one website.
- An author needs to build his or her brand. Having a website that brings all of his or her work together in one place, and under one larger message, helps to form and advance that brand. I always recommend that authors have a tagline that summarizes the point of their writings. That tagline should be able to bring all of his or her books together in a cohesive way.
- It helps with cross-promotion. A reader who is interested in one book by an author is likely to be interested in other books by that author. Think about it: if you read a book you enjoy, and then go to the author’s website to learn more about him or her, wouldn’t you then want easy access to a list of every book that author has written? Wouldn’t you then be interested in buying those other books? Of course you would.
- One site can have more than one domain name pointing to it. Many authors really want to have their book title as their domain name. The good news is that they can … even if they have all their books on one website. You see, you can purchase the domain names for each of your book titles, and have each title simply point to the page on the website that focuses on that book. Voila! Two birds with one stone.
There are some rare instances, however, in which I do recommend that an author build a separate site for a new book.
Let’s say, for example, that an author is a novelist. He has been writing novels for years, is known as a novelist, and wants to continue to be a novelist. Then, let’s say, this author’s father recently passed away from cancer. He decided to write a book about his father’s final days, in an effort to help other people going through a similar situation. Hopefully, he will never go through something like that again, and will never be writing another book on the subject.
In a case like that, I might recommend that he build a second site for this new book. Why? A few reasons.
- It’s a completely different audience. You, a reader, may be a fan of novels; but what are the odds you also happen to have a family member on their deathbed?
- The new book can be SEO magic. There are many people (sadly enough) who go to Google and search for terms related to losing a loved one. By building an entire site dedicated to that book — and optimizing the domain name for the title — the traffic numbers will be significantly higher than if the book simply has a page on the author site.
- The design needs to fit with the book. A novelist is likely to have a website that clearly conveys the genre of the books; be it mystery, romance, etc… A much more serious book, like the one described here, just wouldn’t look right in that design.
As you can see, this last instance is sort of unusual. But it does happen. That’s why I won’t make a grand proclamation that authors should always keep all their books on one site. Still, that is the right move in most instances.
If you want to take advantage of our free consultation (and get personal advice as to whether or not you should build book websites or an author website), please reach out. We’ll be happy to talk with you!