By Madison Kennerley/ Your website is probably the last thing on your mind after professional and personal responsibilities. Many things might get in the way of updating your author website, but that doesn't mean you should forget about your online space.
Keeping your author website up-to-date is your best strategy for building a solid personal brand and ensuring that your followers come back!
Even if you've got no time to spare, there are many things you can do that will instantly improve your website.
Here are 7 simple ways for improving your website right now.
1. Include a Call-to-Action
What would you like the visitors to your website do next? You need a clear CTA on your website to make the most of your internet presence.
You can ask visitors to sign up for your email list. By sending out email updates on a regular basis you'll build a stronger connection with your audience. Most email marketing software offers some easy ways to set up a signup box on a website.
If you sell services (for example, ghostwriting or copywriting), it's smart to include a lead form and encourage visitors to fill it out. That's how you can easily get contact information of people to follow up.
2. Update information on your homepage
You're probably underestimating the value of your homepage, but don't forget that it's the first thing visitors see when they enter your website.
Make a good impression on them. Edit your author bio and add new information. Mention recent awards or participation in conferences.
If your homepage displays a picture of you that was taken several years ago, it's time for a change! Just add a new headshot. A high-quality portrait is more than enough – and you can take one with your phone.
Also, make sure to include information potential employers or collaborators want to know. That's how you get more commissions. Have a look at job boards to learn what are the common requirements and credentials of writers in your niche. Display them on your website together with a strong writing portfolio.
3. Speed up your website
Your website shouldn't take more than 3 seconds to load. Otherwise you risk that visitors simply abandon it.
You can measure your website load speed with specialized tools like GTmetrix or extensions – here's an example for Chrome.
Here are some strategies to help you quickly speed up your website:
• Uninstall plugins you aren't using
• Optimize your images
• Choose a light theme for your website
• Install a caching plugin to boost site speed
• Optimize your WordPress database with a plugin
• Reduce the content on your homepage – elements like sliders and feeds are locked in widgets that generate plenty of code.
• If nothing changes, consider switching to a different web host. It's a lot of hassle, but if your current server is slow, that's the only solution.
Check out this page if you'd like to learn more about speeding up websites.
4. Make it mobile-friendly
Chances are high that your visitors are accessing your website from mobile devices. That's why you need to optimize it for mobile and provide a great user experience to these visitors.
Here are a few things you can do to make your website mobile-friendly in a few minutes:
• Reduce the size of your heaviest images
• Use a larger font
• Reorganize your website to fit the needs of mobile users (reduce the amount of content, make it easy to scroll, add more blank space)
• Get rid of any pop-up windows.
5. Feature some of your new writing
If you've recently published a new poem, short story, or novel, spread the news about it by featuring your new work on your website.
Make your new publication stand out on your homepage. New visitors will instantly spot it and check it out. Your followers will be attracted to new content as well.
You want visitors to return to your website regularly. They will come back only if they sense that something new might be waiting for them on your website. That's why you should update your text and add new content often. You need that for improving your search engine ranking.
6. Link to social networks
If you've got profiles on social media and interact with your followers on these platforms, it only makes sense that you include your social media activity on your website. That's how you build a solid personal reputation that will help you grow your author brand.
Add links to your Facebook, Twitter or other accounts. Sometimes it makes sense to include feeds as well. That's how you modernize your website and allow visitors to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, or review your work on Goodreads.
7. Set up a blog
You're a writer so it makes sense that you use all possible means to communicate with your followers.
Having a blog on your website is a smart move because it gives a serious boost to your SEO. On top of that, it's a great way to transform casual readers into avid and long-term fans.
Creating a blog and updating it regularly will help keep your visitors current on what's going on in your professional life. Add a new blog post every now and then to attract the interest of your audience.
Your author website is there to help you build a public persona and develop a strong author brand.
It's part of your job to take proper care of that online space. Use these 7 tips to update your website with a couple of clicks and attract a larger following of people who enjoy your work.
Madison is a passionate writer who loves writing about personal branding and publishing. Whenever not writing she likes to catch up with the latest industry blogs and her favourite TV series. She's also a frequent festival-goer.