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Ten Top Tips for Managing Your Website

March 9th, 2015

website-blogBack in August I wrote a blog called Every Writer Should Have One.com about building your own website. I linked from it to Wix, Yola, Webs and Moonfruit – four online companies who help put sites together. I also talked about my own experience, building a site with Wix – Phil Busby Acoustic Blues.

Well, that was over six months ago, so I wonder how you’re getting on? Is your site up and running, still under construction, or languishing on the ‘To Do’ list? No criticism if it’s the latter. I know, there’s always a million other things to be getting on with. But a website is a handy thing to have … just recently, with my singer-songwriter hat on, I got a call to do a show at a venue I’d never heard of, from a guy I’d never met. He’d found my site online, liked it, and that was that. I went and did the show, had loads of fun, picked up some cash, and now he’s offered me two more – great! And the promotion that got me all that work didn’t cost a penny – even better!

So, wherever your site’s up to, here’s some handy hints to get the best out of it:

1. Make sure the site is clear and easy to navigate.

2. Try to make your home page eye-catching and friendly, without being garish or so ‘busy’ it puts people off.

3. Proofread everything. This is you shop window, open to the world. You don’t want it filled with typos and bad grammar.

4. Be sure to have samples of your work available as ‘tasters’ so people can see what your style and content is like.

5. Tell people a bit about yourself – the professional you – but don’t bore them with irrelevant personal anecdotes. Make your ‘bio’ interesting and pertinent.

6. Change at least some of the content regularly, so that visitors can see your site is active. And if you want to draw people back as returnees, try serialising a story with cliff-hangers at the end of each instalment.

7. Try to find out something about SEO – ‘Search Engine Optimization.’ This is the process that Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, AOL, and all the rest of them use to find your site. Now, you don’t have to be an expert, but if you learn just a little it can help steer traffic toward your site and, obviously, more traffic means more work.

8. One simple thing to help people find your site is plenty of good links to interesting (but non-competitive) writing sites. Be careful though, when you set up these links – be sure each one opens ‘in a new window,’ otherwise your site will disappear from peoples’ screens and may be forgotten.

9. If you’re selling an e-book make it easy to order and pay for. Also, supply the book in as many formats as possible to suit all tastes. If you’re not selling the book direct, provide a clear link to Amazon or wherever else people can buy it.

10. Finally, a website is a fine thing, but it can become an all-consuming beast. There are so many options for text, images, sound, videos … etc. So be sure to get yours right, but don’t spend so much time tweaking it you forget to do any real work.

It really is essential to have a web presence these days, and having your own website is a good way to get one. But you don’t have to do it yourself. If you haven’t got the confidence, or the time, there are loads of little (and not so little) companies out there who will do it for you. They’re all online, and it’s entirely possible to have a site built without ever meeting your designer face to face. But don’t forget – once it’s up, that’s not the end of the story. You’ll need to maintain, change and develop it as both your work and the digital market place evolves. Very often, a relationship with a website builder is long-term, so make sure you get the right one. Ask for two or three quotes from different companies, and don’t be rushed into a decision. Before going ahead, ensure that you and your designer speak the same language, and always ask to see examples of websites they’ve built for other people.

But, however you go about it, don’t forget …

Keep on writing!phil-blog-sig



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