For writers, when we talk about author brand we're mostly talking about "voice." Each of us offers a unique experience to readers. But the emotional experience you deliver to readers can also be applied to visuals like your author photo, book covers, and website.

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Why your author website is more important than social mediaNowadays, “web presence” is a big part of telling your story as a writer. In fact, the majority of your readers will probably discover you and your writing online first.

When publishing industry folks talk about "building a platform," they're often thinking about an author's online presence, email list, social media following, blog activity, and web-based book sales. But as you establish your own web presence, it's important to remember that your author website is more important than any single social media platform.

Here are four reasons why you should prioritize your author website over any social media account:

1. You need design control

Social media = generic profiles plastered with ads and other distractions. With your own site, you create a design that suits your vibe and functions the way you need it to. Plus, the layout won’t change unexpectedly overnight. (I'm looking at YOU Facebook!)

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Website tips for authors

Best-practices to smarten-up your online book marketing

Every week on The HostBaby Blog, we post new web and social media tips for artists. You’ll learn how to grow your email list, how to get readers to interact with your online content, how to draft newsletters that convert to sales, how to optimize your site for search, and more.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping tabs on the HostBaby Blog…

Here are the most recent HostBaby Blog articles:

1. Six Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Website

2. What if I don’t rank for my own author name in Google?

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Top 5 website mistakes authors makeDon’t give your readers any excuse to hit the “back” button

Someone's checking out your website. Pat yourself on the back; you've done something right — whether it was announcing your web address during a reading, optimizing your site for Google search, doing targeted advertising on Facebook, printing your URL on the jacket of your book, etc.

So, here they are, checking out your online headquarters, waiting to be dazzled by your literary brilliance. You've won the first half of the battle.

Now you need to KEEP them on your website for more than 5 seconds if you want that person to buy a book, invite you to a reading series, download a sample chapter, leave a blog comment, attend a book signing event, or sign up for your email newsletter.

If that potential reader or publishing industry professional gets annoyed, they’re going to back out of there in an internet minute.

Here are a handful of common website mistakes you should avoid making!

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Our sister company, HostBaby, uses The HostBaby Blog to post new web and social media tips for website owners. You’ll learn how to grow your email list, how to get readers to interact with your online content, how to add social media properties to your blog, how to draft newsletters that convert to sales, how to optimize your site for search, and more.

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[This excerpt is tip #9 from Patricia Fry’s free ebook, 50 Ways to Promote Your Ebook.]

Make your website a great resource for your readers.

If your ebook is nonfiction, start collecting important resources to share with people interested in your topic. For example, I write books, articles and a blog for authors. Most of my 36 books relate to authorship, publishing and book promotion. Because I want my potential readers to visit my website and purchase my books, I have developed a large resources section for writers and authors at http://www.matilijapress.com.

If your ebook has to do with pets, consider collecting all variety of resources for pet owners—website links, a publications list, articles including information on various aspects of your topic—pet ownership, for example. You might post articles or links to information on topics such as choosing pet food, behavior issues, dog training, a list of plants that are poisonous to cats, breeders, etc.

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