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Transitioning from a Book Website to an Author Website

I had a consultation with a client yesterday. We built her website last summer – right around the time her first title was released. Her book got enough promotion that the site traffic was pretty good right off the bat. But here we sit, a year later, and her site isn’t exactly a hopping place.

She was asking about what kind of online marketing we can do to ramp up traffic again. But I had other ideas…

Her site was built around the book. Its domain name is the book title. The graphics on the site are straight off the book cover. When someone first arrives on the site, they get to read about the book and why they should buy it.

But the book is now a year old. It’s still a great book that people could – and should – read, but it’s not new enough to drive traffic to the site any more. We can’t exactly approach bloggers and ask them to review a year-old book. Or create a buzz with viral YouTube videos.

So here’s what I advised the client: Yes, we should do some marketing of the site online. But first, we need to make it a destination site again. And to do that, it needs to transition from a book site to an author site.

Luckily, this author is already working on her second book. And it’s similar in genre to her first. So it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to create an author website that’s of special interest to people who like her particular topic and particular style of writing.

We’re not starting from scratch. Much of the site will remain the same. We’ll design a new header with her picture and her name instead of the book cover and book name. We’ll restructure the homepage to focus on her personality, her blog, interacting with her, etc… We’ll also add new pages on the site to feature her future writings and the like. The first book will still be featured, it just won’t be the focus of the site.

Once these changes are done, then we can start marketing the site again. We’ll do some social networking. We’ll really plug the blog and try to use it to optimize the site for search engines. We’ll also reach out to reading groups, bloggers, etc … who might be interested in profiling her. And the traffic should pick back up again.

All this will pay off. When her second book gets released, we’ll have lots of eyes looking right at her website. And they’ll be ready to buy. That’s one of the benefits of an author website. Whether you’re plugging your next book, your speaking services, you consulting business … a website that focuses on you – instead of one particular title – is timeless.

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