Authors: Tell Your Visitors What to Do … and Why!

I was reading an issue of Internet and Marketing Report recently. There were two separate articles I came across that were seemingly unrelated. And yet, I think they’re VERY related … and relevant to author websites.

The first article talks about one of the most common mistakes that people make when designing a website: having too much competing information on it. Especially on the homepage. When a visitor arrives on your site, they’re often bombarded with things: a link to buy the book, to read about your other works, to follow your blog, to sign up for your newsletter, to visit your Facebook page, etc…

There’s nothing wrong with giving people lots of options. But the problem comes in when people feel overwhelmed by all the options. They don’t know which way to go. In essence, there’s no “yellow brick road” to follow.

There is a way to overcome this. Set goals for your website, and prioritize them. If, for instance, your first priority is to sell the book and your second is to get people to sign up for your newsletter, then make the book and a link to buy it the most prominent thing on your homepage, with the newsletter sign-up as a less prominent option.

If “connecting” with readers is more important to you, then have links to your newsletter, blog and Facebook page as the primary links that you feature. Make it clear to people exactly what your website is about and what you want them to do with it.

Now onto the second article …

This one talked about giving your website visitors a reason to do something. For example, if you simply say “Sign up for my newsletter,” you’re far less likely to get people to do it than if you tell them what they would get out of it. So instead of “Sign up for my newsletter,” consider saying “Sign up for my newsletter for exclusive information about the book.”

Same thing with a “Buy the book” link. Instead of just “Buy the book,” have the link read “Buy the book that will change your life forever.” Not surprisingly, research shows that these types of links get better results.

See the connection here? Make it clear to your readers what you want them to do when they arrive at your website, and tell them why they should do it and/or what they will get out of it.

No matter what your goals are, you’re more likely to achieve them with this type of strategy.